A Zen Poem by Zen Master Seung Sahn

A Zen poem is not merely an aesthetic exercise. It is not an expression of “art,” design, or thinking. A Zen poem is a teaching tool: it begins in opposites’-world thinking, through the Great Question, perhaps a stopover in the realm of emptiness or freedom-consciousness, to bring the reader to a view of “truth just-like-this.”  Here is a video of some words of commentary I recently offered on perhaps Zen Master Seung Sahn‘s most recognized poem. This talk was delivered at Zen Center Regensburg during the Quarantine Retreat, April 2020.  Film Editing/Design: Γιάννης Παπάκης ΠαπαδοπουλάκηςGraphics: Matt Semke

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Right Here, Right Now

RocknRolla: I’m proud to present a very visionary treatment of the “What is Zen?” video by the distinguished British genre-polyglot multi-artist — motown mods 69 skin liquidator dubbed 80s afropop tabu ley electro underworld house — named Chris Taylor, known professionally as Arman Ray. What a fantastic way to convey the Dharma. Please play its Dharma loud. Arman Ray is a lifelong student of Soto Zen (first Jukai: 1993) and sangha member of Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in the UK. His Roshi was the esteemed Zen Master Jiyu Kennett, former guestmaster of Chisan Koho Zenji at Eihiji Monastery in Japan.

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Zen Master Seung Sahn: In His Own Words

Here is a video of Dae Soen Sa Nim giving a TV interview in Korea, given in 1997 — seven years before his death. In his own words, without the halting English, in a well-produced production, you can feel his energy and his Great Compassion. His energy is still strong and very clear. The subtitles have been prepared by capable native English speakers, so there is a natural feel to his expression. In the video, Dae Soen Sa Nim tells some private stories of his early life. He discusses how he became a monk in the first place, in the

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What is “the Triple World”?

We were recently sharing a livestream event at the Zen Center Regensburg. One of the students asked, “”Buddhism often talks about ‘the three worlds’, sometimes referred to as ‘the triple world’. It is also chanted in the Heart Sutra. What does this mean?” The view of “the triple world” is an exceedingly important dimension in the Buddhist view of the nature of reality. It shows the profound insight of the Buddha’s enlightenment. It is an almost clinical dissection of the layers of reality which are “sandwiched” together to form our entire realm of perceptive experience: the realm of form, of

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Temple Food: Chant (Harmonize!), Then Eat

Just a regular daily lunch in the Zen Center Regensburg today with the meditation family (a Bavarian-German, Korean-Korean, Palestinian-German, Cretan-Greek, and an Irish-Germanic American), as we slowly begin to open back up again our deep communal life: Lentils and fresh wild greens from the local farmer’s market, rustic German bread slightly crusted three-days-old, Irish butter laid on in thick slabs, tart Greek olive oil chafing the back of the throat — and silence. The ancient bells of Regensburg ring out, swarming our wall of windows, flooding our sunlit kitchen space. We hover over our feast of wild, grassy scents and

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Social-Distance Like Jesus!

Sometimes people write me questions about practice and life. It is usually a great opportunity to apply the teachings against some unique personal situation. And yet, at the same time, the matters people face are often quite similar to things that the rest of us face. “The 10,000 problems return to the one.” I recently received a letter from a sincere meditation student in Greece. She asks about having periods of strong spiritual clarity, especially since beginning Zen practice, and yet having that clarity become “disturbed” most especially when interacting with other human beings. She writes about something which many

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