On Bodhisattva-Questions

Those who submit questions to the “Ask Me Anything” section of this blog should read the post of February 3: “On Submitting Questions to this Blog”. By submitting a question, you are agreeing to the conditions stated therein for public reply (minus personal identifying information). Anyone with any doubts about how this all works are welcome to consult the book, Only Don’t Know: The Teaching Letters of Zen Master Seung Sahn (Boston: Shambhala, 1999). In fact, anyone with any interest whatsoever in the teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn (Dae Soen Sa Nim) or my teaching lineage would be well helped by the priceless teachings contained therein. (Full disclosure: I receive no financial compensation for that text, but you can be a Jeff Bezos of the Dharma Realms as result of it.)

Women Cannot Get Enlightenment

One of the sharpest teachings of Dae Soen Sa Nim (Zen Master Seung Sahn). He was constantly pointing directly to our original nature, and nothing else. He considered our “outside” forms and conditions, our personal karmic orientations, but what mattered most in his teaching was how deeply we realized our True Self, or not. Education level, or length of time sitting, or family background, even cleverness or “usefulness” for his work didn’t rate much with him: How much do you believe in your True Self, the strong attainment of “only-don’t-know.” Which is, by the way, what Socrates expressed his greatest

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It Ain’t Good — It Ain’t Bad

Seeing this great bodhisattva tomorrow in Oslo. Erik “Yogi” Møller — great friend and brother and Zen student — the man who first liberated me from carbs. (Are there many other reasons to praise his sacred soul?) Due to the SAS Air strike in Norway, flight to Haugesund Zen Senter stops in Oslo, and the connecting flight to Haugesund has disappeared. I can only take a 9-hour train trip to Stavanger the next morning from Oslo, and get picked up there and be driven to the retreat center just in time for the public talk and retreat. As Dae Soen

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The Principles and Practice of the Evening Bell Chant

The Evening Bell Chant marks the beginning of evening practice in Buddhist temples in Korea, and variations of it open the evening practice for temples in China and Japan. The chant is a solo offering, played on the large bell in the Main Buddha Hall, at the main altar of the temple. In the compound of the temple where the Zen nuns/monks live and meditate — which is usually walled-off and separate from the rest of the often-busy temple — the Evening Bell Chant is never chanted, since the activity of the Zen Hall is born of silence and even

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Both of my primary Zen teachers were fearsome, fearless operators: Zen Master Seung Sahn and Zen Master Bong Cheol. You were seldom fully at ease in their presence. I was shouted at by both (though, it must be said, far less than most other practitioners in the group). Bong Cheol Sunim even threw a rotten melon at the floor in front of me to demonstrate a point about how I was holding ego, its seeds exploding all over my socks-only feet and lower pants. One time, he engaged me in a very very animated Dharma combat in a public restaurant,

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More Zen in Norway

Bringing “The Great Dharani” to our retreat next week with the Haugesund Zen Senter, May 3-5, in Haugeland, Norway. It is great to see how a Zen group affiliated with the main Norwegian Soto Zen Order is so open to trying a technology not part of their teaching wheelhouse. Credit and kudos to their teacher, Såzen Larsen Kusano, for allowing his students’ wishes to be fulfilled in inviting me. It will be the first time for me, too, to teach a purely Soto Zen family: Including the ancient rhythms and power of “The Great Dharani” will tuber-boost their don’t-know access.

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The Heart Sutra,
in Greek

This is a recording we made last year (2018) in Thessaloniki. We were joined by a group of over 20 Koreans, so the depth and texture is, well, unique and nuanced in unexpected ways.

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Reply to a Reader

Question: From the Buddhist perspective, the sacrifice of Jesus has permanent bodhisattva value? Hab jang Reply: No, the sacrifice of Jesus has zero permanent value. Everything is impermanent, including the universe. Leave awful concepts like that shit alone. Just practice.

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Reply to a Reader

Question: This is not a question. I don’t want to ask anything because You can’t answer via network on my questions. But You open my hart for Zen again. That’s why I want to thank You for your films. Because of them I can’t stop asking my self: WHO am I? You gave me strength to stop academic discussions about old Master’s and their teachings, to turn ZEN in to the real life. Thank You once again. Reply: You’re welcome. Thank you very much for your kind words. They also open my heart.

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A Zen Retreat

Many people wonder what it is like to sit a Zen retreat. And others question whether an urban Zen center can ever possibly convey the depth of mountain-temple experience in the middle of a thriving, throbbing city. Recently, the London-based artist Jayoon Choi came to Zen Center Regensburg to pursue her own intensive Zen study. After several retreats, she offered to capture the essence of the silent inwardly-seeking mind, using her skills as visual artist, trained at the Royal College of Art. This birthed several short filmic portrayals, one of which is “What Sees This?”

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