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"When I got here, I wanted Brad to tell me how to live my life, and he said to just sit, and offered some reading suggestions; Suzuki, Uchiyama, Kobun Chino, and Dogen. And then I wanted Suzuki Roshi, Kobun Chino Roshi, and Uchiyama Roshi to tell me how to live my life through their books. And they said to just sit and talked about Dogen. And then …
 
“The relation between the precepts and the words of avowal is like a person who is always thankful, and is always able to say, “I’m sorry.” It is the bright side of things and the shadowy side of things.” - Kobun Chino In the thrilling conclusion to her year long ever timely precept series, Emily brings us the one rule (ok, three rules, but also ki…
 
“The storehouse consciousness is the root of everything. If the whole universe is just your experience, then this is what it's born from. It’s the fountain of everything. Also it's empty and doesn't exist, so don't think it's a thing.” - Dave Cuomo In part 2 of our ongoing Yogacara series, Dave brings us a mildly nerdy and deeply personal look at t…
 
“Looking at life as I was experiencing it in this moment, moment by moment, I realized that the future is always an abstraction. And I don't know anything about it. Death might be something great for all I know. It might be the most wonderful thing in the world. So to live my life in terror of it makes no sense. Every thought I have about death is …
 
"The world wants me to be happy. I think it needs me to be happy. Because it seems I can make people miserable when I'm not. Which is probably true for all of us..." - Dave Cuomo Dave takes a look at what Buddhist renunciation means for us 21st century Westerners living lives far removed from the simple forest beggar life Buddha originally recommen…
 
"Find to whom this cruel world appears and you will know why it appears so cruel... You are the maker of the world in which you live – you alone can change it, or unmake it." - Nisargadatta Maharaj What can you do when the whole world feels like it's stacked against you? Brad brings us all the kind comforts and hard truths Zen has to offer on this …
 
“We don't know what the universe is made of at the root. All we know for certain is that the only thing we have to work with is our own experience. Ultimately I can't blame anybody else for what I go through because I take it all in through my own filter. I only see what I am willing to see, and only do what I want to do on some level. So when they…
 
“Everything reflects triple treasure. You reflect triple treasure, and questioning triple treasure reflects triple treasure. Not understanding what the heck I'm talking about is triple treasure. We're talking about coming home to ourselves, trusting ourselves, relying on ourselves. And there's that tricky word. Self. What is self? Is it my memories…
 
“If there's a distinction in our minds between self care and doing good for other people, then we're missing the point of everything that we're doing on this planet. ” - Dave Cuomo Dave brings us a Zen look at love and self care through encounters with the Bodhisattva of Compassion his(or)herself, Avalokiteshvara. Can this magical being really save…
 
“Putting a nice label like ‘Buddha Nature’ on it makes you feel a different way towards it. You don't feel like it's something you need to fight against. I don't know how you felt all your life, but all my life I'd felt like circumstances are something I need to fight against, circumstances were always my enemy. And then I meet Nishijima Roshi who …
 
”To not kill the Buddha when you meet them on the road is abusing the triple treasures. How not to abuse the triple treasures is to accept everything as Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha, and accept yourself as Buddha Dharma and Sangha.” - Emily Eslami Emily takes on the 10th major precept, no disparaging the Buddha, Dharma, & Sangha. Sounds simple right? B…
 
“Whether or not you establish the Bodhi Mind and Nirvana for yourself is unimportant. If anything, they say you shouldn't do that, you should endeavor to save everyone instead.” - Brad Warner Are there really definable levels of practice that we can achieve, and how would we know if we’ve attained them? Brad gives us a detailed look at early Buddhi…
 
“To remember that ignorance is enlightenment is to not separate myself from what's right in front of me, to not think that I can be better than the people in front of me, to not think that I'm going to be a better person by trying to be a better person. It’s to love and accept what's in front of me. To embrace ignorance is a loving act. And that's …
 
"In classical Buddhism, the fundamental mistake is that getting what you think you want will make you happy. In Zen they seem to say the fundamental delusion is that you exist at all. This is why Zen is so weird. We're trying to look at what comes before awareness, and that's hard. It’s really hard to be aware of something that precedes awareness. …
 
"There are thousands of eyes in the moment before the body. There are thousands of eyes in the moment before the mind. There are thousands of eyes of death in death. There are thousands of eyes of life in life. ...we should know that the entire universe is eyeballs." - Eihei Dogen What is sentience and is the universe alive? Brad takes on the big l…
 
"When you get mad at yourself, that means you’re mad at another self. Maybe you turn your face and see yourself. Or you see yourself as other. This is very hard...If you become angry, you don’t stop being Buddha. Anger appears, that’s all." - Kobun Chino In the latest installment of her ever timely precept series, Emily takes on that molten hot lav…
 
"Your life is predetermined. And to be free, you must first be aware that your life is predetermined, that it is conditioned, that all your responses are more or less the same as those of everybody else throughout the world… But in going into it very deeply, you will also find that you can be free from all this conditioning…. You can be free from i…
 
"If you want to make peace with yourself and not hate zazen, it's going to help to like yourself, or at least just accept yourself the way you are. I promise, you're great and you're worth it. And it'll help. And fringe benefit, you might find yourself a little happier and nicer, your whole life might improve in every way you ever wanted it to. But…
 
"There's a theory that 'knowledge will set you free.' But I don't know. I read all these damn books about it and I still don't know what the hell is going on. But to experience it directly in the here and now, this birth and death going on constantly in this moment, every instant..." - Brad Warner In honor of his birthday Brad reads us choice selec…
 
"When you go to the mountain, and see a flower blooming, pick it, break it, and make it yours - this is attachment. If you let it be there for everything and everyone - this is 'no attachment.' Even your self does not belong to you. You are everything." - Kobun Chino In the latest installment of Emily’s ever timely precept series, she takes on the …
 
"To love the mountains is not to know about mountains, but to climb mountains and to live and die continuously with them. The best way to realize the true beauty of Mount Fuji is to actually go climb it. If you do that, the beauty of Mount Fuji as you have known it will disappear. But this does not mean that the true beauty of Mount Fuji has disapp…
 
"The thinking mind can do incredible stuff. So it gets very full of itself and decides it can figure out a thought that will that will sum up the whole damn business of reality. And maybe one of these days there will be a theory of everything. But you'll still be left with, "I just read a thing. And that doesn't help me with my sadness..." - Brad W…
 
“The world is incredibly weird and magnificent and wondrous. And I find that meditation practice, particularly a practice rooted in inquiry – you know, ‘what is this?’, opens me up not just intellectually, but emotionally, to the sheer wonder and grandeur of this universe.” - Stephen Batchelor Two men enter, two men...have a lively debate over the …
 
"Sometimes I walk by a pile of poo and think "What jerk did that? I hate that guy. This is why we can't have nice things." And then I go around telling everyone about this jerk, and we all get upset and probably sound like a bunch of jerks. And sometimes I walk by and think, "Huh, look at that poo." Maybe I have to scrape some poo off my shoe, and …
 
"There's a saying, do you want to be right or do you want to be married? I would extend that to, do you want to be right or do you want to be human? Do you want to be right or do you want to be in a relationship with anyone at all?" - Emily Eslami In her ever timely precept series, Emily takes on number seven, no praise or blame! Aka, our consisten…
 
“This idea runs through the whole Buddhist tradition that it’s rare to meet the Buddha Dharma. And it's rarer to stick with it and to understand it. So we're kind of the few, the proud, the Zen; doing something that is not what most people around us do. And what we're doing here is not only rare among people in general, even among the Zen people, t…
 
"If everything you know isn't working, what do you have left? What you don't know. When you stop and allow space for what you don't know to happen, something else can happen." - Dave Cuomo Dave delves into Dogen's famous "It" (Inmo) to see if it can offer us a way to pick ourselves up when the world knocks us down. But what is "it??" Some say the u…
 
“…other people’s mistakes, the mistakes you can’t stop talking about, your mistakes, the mistakes you think are worse than everyone else’s, look around you, we’re all in the mud making those same mistakes. But at least we’re not alone. At least we’re all stuck in the mud together.” - Emily Eslami Emily takes us on a journey through everyone's least…
 
"The past and the future exist within you, as much now as ever. This is it. We are a manifestation of eternity. It’s all part of one process that is literally endless because it never began. And that is time" - Brad Warner Brad reads us some of Dogen’s most timeless New Year’s salutations and discusses the meaning of time.…
 
“With this and that I tried to keep the bucket togetherThen the bottom fell out.Where water does not collect,The moon does not dwell”- Mugai Nyodai In an ever timely topic, Dave brings us a Zen look at patience. What is patience and is that what we're actually learning here? Where are do we find ourselves when whatever we're so urgently waiting for…
 
“It’s the emptiness we’re afraid of. Our life is not made up of magic, it’s made up of these empty moments, full moments, thats all we have; the pain we’re experiencing, the boredom, the fleeting happiness, that’s the moment. But we owe it to this great brightness not to run away, to see these moments as they really are. Because if nothing is speci…
 
“There are worse ways and better ways to understand what reality is. I find that the Buddhist way of explaining it tallies better with my own experience than any other explanation I’ve come across. But I will also say that when I first came across the Buddhist explanation for reality, I didn’t know what the hell to make of it.” - Brad Warner In a v…
 
“Waking life is more similar to a dream than you might think. When you find yourself in a dream you realize that you’re in a world mostly of your own creation. This world is like that but in a bigger more cosmic way. Rather than being an individual personal creation, it’s the creation of itself.” - Brad Warner Brad reads to us from the man, the leg…
 
"Understanding the true specialness of everything is a rare and wonderful thing. Apparently it takes a lot of practice to realize "just this" for what it really is.And for all of us who aren't there yet, we have words and teachers there to join us in our delusions long enough to help us figure it out, even while they know there's nothing they can d…
 
“On one layer Dogen is saying, the full teaching of the Buddha is don’t do wrong.But then if you read it another way, even the notion that you could do harm is a mistake…” - Brad Warner Brad Warner talks us through the Bodhidharma precepts, a self described subtle and mysterious take on the precepts where there are no rules, no one to break them, n…
 
"In our ordinary world, we learn to play by the rules, to follow the recipe, to get it right, while in sacred space, cooking (and life) can be more than just following recipes. Beyond rote and chore - doing what you've been told - is the freedom to realize the way to cook, letting the ingredients come forward to awaken and nourish, letting yourself…
 
“Language will always fail us… We believe we’re speaking the same language but we’re using different English to English dictionaries. The only way to tell the truth is to acknowledge that our truth is not completely true.” - Emily Eslami Emily brings us a full exploration of the fourth precept, No Lying. Sounds simple, but it turns out before we ca…
 
It’s like a guardian angel of doubt. Where by the grace of god, I would have this spark, this wonderful beautiful doubt of, maybe im wrong. Maybe im not right about this after all…" - Erik Andersen In a delightfully madcap affair, Erik challenges all those who say that Zen is difficult or enigmatic with a talk on the big question, “How hard is zen?…
 
“Zazen isn't something I do. The zazen exists prior to me and I allow it to be me for a certain amount of time. Considering it that way can make the zazen easier. If it’s something im trying to do, I often fail at it…” - Brad Warner An off the cuff talk blossoms into one of the sweetest little bursts of pure zazen poetry we've been lucky enough to …
 
"I lack therefore I want.I get what I want and I want more.I get what I want and it didn’t make me happier, so I’m going to push it away.This is why we sit. We're not advocating for celibacy or abstinence, We're advocating for awareness;for looking very carefully at yourself and your actions at all times." - Emily Eslami In the latest installment o…
 
"When we are very, very quiet, sometimes we can perceive the entire symphony of life as a whole. ...even while we only experience only one note at a time, we can know for certain that the whole of the symphony exists." - Brad Warner Brad unveils a brand new chapter from the brand new book he's been working on all about the intersection of non duali…
 
"If you want to know why Zen survived, light the incense, do the sit, and listen. It's what the koans describe, what Dogen tried to explain. There's nothing that could go away, nothing to defend..." - Dave Cuomo Dave brings us the epic tale of Zen's golden age, when the great masters we know and love from the koans could enlighten you with a single…
 
“I feel like the right books and the right person always came at the right time. There's been a seamless way of following the practice where I’m not sure which one is leading the other.” - Wilcox Gwynne In a warm and generous telling, former ACZC resident Wilcox shares the story of what they were doing and why they were here. From a quaker upbringi…
 
"Every time you try to hurt or gain advantage over somebody else, you're only hurting yourself. It's as instant as punching yourself in the face. The problem is that most people never figure that out. We're so dense, we put a bunch of walls around ourselves that enable us to ignore that. But one of the things of zen practice is that those walls sta…
 
"Please remember this “no stealing” precept. It is the ultimate recognition that you have nothing to lose. Even if you, your whole body, is stolen by somebody, your whole mind by somebody, you have not lost anything."- Kobun Chino In our ongoing in depth precept series, Emily takes on the second grave precept - No Stealing. By which we mean, is it …
 
"I don't have to beat myself up over making a mistake. I just have to realize that the sense of thinking 'Oh my god, that thing I did...' is really just the desire to not do that anymore." - Brad Warner Brad shares some readings he's been working with for his next book about toilets and Dogen's "Being Time," while the sangha wants to know how Dogen…
 
“Get to know your own heart. It isn’t permanent or impermanent. It isn’t good or bad. It is clear and perfect.” - Shitou Dave returns to pickup our storyline to find that almost as soon as Zen had coalesced itself into one cohesive school of Buddhism, Shitou & Mazu come along and split into two separate streams that will run next to each other for …
 
“All the rules & commandments out there are trying to anticipate a situation. But right action, acting in the moment of an actual situation, can only happen in the moment of doing.” - Emily Eslami In her ongoing deep dive into the precepts, Emily takes on precept number one - No Killing! Which sounds simple, until she starts walking us through an h…
 
"Ungan said, “The state of begging the Eye is itself the Eye, is it not?” This is a sentence which blinks the Eye. It is the vivid shattering of the Eye. Ungan is saying that the Eye begs the Eye, water draws water, mountains line up with mountains; we go among alien beings, and we live among our own kind." - Dogen Brad Warner dives into the weird …
 
"The freedom, or liberation, she’s talking about is one that all of us inherently possess, and one that only we can grant to our selves. And it’s also a freedom that no one could ever take away from you no matter what they do..." - Dave Cuomo The thrilling conclusion to our two part series on the Vimalakirti sutra! Dave continues the story with the…
 
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