Zen things I learned from my dog

“My dog doesn’t worry about the meaning of life.” So begins Charlotte Joko Beck’s classic book Everyday Zen. This simple statement began my fascination with Zen. I had already had direct experience of what Joko was talking about. For roughly 10 years I walked, day and night, with our dog, Bo. During that  period I had suffered a series of setbacks, …

Our mind is like a cluttered garage

Our subconscious is like that garage or that closet or that basement in our house that has become the unspoken storage centre for our life’s possessions: the things that we’ve put away in boxes or that we still haven’t unpacked from a previous move; the stuff that we’ve tucked away until we have the space or the time to open …

We celebrate Zen Easter every day

Zen practitioners know a bit about the concept of Easter. Every day we rise–or attempt to rise–if not exactly from the dead, then from the unconsciousness of everyday life. We try to elevate our minds from the rabble of everyday thoughts, from the musty archives of the past and the steamy fantasy of the future, into the present. So, you might say …

What pool do you live in?

BY JOKO BECK Let’s picture if we can two landscapes. The first has a deep clear quiet pool, and the second also has a deep clear quiet pool. The first one is surrounded by garbage. The second one, also surrounded by garbage, has an odd characteristic – everyone who jumps into the pool takes a little pile of garbage in …

The Dalai Lama in his 80th year

On the occasion of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday it is good to go back and read about his busy life from the viewpoint of a man who has followed the world’s most celebrated Buddhist for 35 years, off and on. Read Pico Iyer’s account of what the famous Buddhist leader does every day of his life, as he serves as leader …

China orders Dalai Lama to reincarnate after death

Supernatural politics: The government of China is ordering the Dalai Lama to reincarnate after his death, and accusing the Tibetan spiritual leader of blasphemy for saying he might not be reincarnated after he dies. The bizarre demands being made by the ruling Chinese Communist Party stem from comments the Dalai Lama made earlier this year stating he might not be …

A most incredible leader

Note: The following was written by Kuan Xiu, a student of the legendary Xu Yun, in an incredible account of how Xu Yun lived to be 101 despite being bombed by the Imperial Japanese Army, tortured by Mao’s Communist cadres, and facing seemingly insurmountable debt. Read and learn …. My Master’s name, Xu Yun, is translated into English as “Empty …

The moment I ceased to exist

I saw him walking toward me and there was nowhere to escape. I was forced to greet and talk to this person with whom, it should be said, I had nothing in common. We exchanged inconsequential pleasantries and then he asked my help on a problem he was having. As he talked I realized that I had had this same problem myself. It …

Mind over arrow

After winning several archery contests a young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. “There,” he said to the old man, “see if …

Does your past exist the way you remember it?

Michael Gregory, the mindfulness expert and ordained monk whose meditation group is in Sarasota, has given the subject some thought and here is his answer: “Your past is your memory of the past only, not exactly accurate, only a subjective version. Accept that you are not objectively right. The past is present moment historical revisionism, at best. Free yourself of the …