These are my latest articles at Patheos: Buddhist. Check them out!

A Dream and a Zen Story

I had a very vivid dream recently. In the dream I was leading a retreat. I was in a place that I had never been before. There were a lot of people in attendance, some I knew and some that I didn’t. It all seemed to be going very well. Obviously if you’re leading a retreat you want it to be well attended. When no one comes to a retreat it feels like a disappointment. If just one person comes it can… Read more

State of Innocence

“Put a fish on land and he will remember the ocean until he dies. Put a bird in a cage, yet he will not forget the sky. Each remains homesick for his true home, the place where his nature has decreed that he should be. Man is born in the state of innocence. His original nature is love and grace and purity. Yet he emigrates so casually without even a thought of his old home. Is this not sadder than… Read more

Death Always Follows

Everything in the universe is subject to change. There’s only one exception: death always follows life. Isn’t strange that people haven’t noticed this, that they conduct their lives as though they’re going to live forever, that death is nothing to worry about? Of course if they really want to live as long as they obviously expect, they’d better pursue the Dharma. Life, death, and change itself are transcended in the Dharmakaya. -Han Shan Deqing   I think we know the… Read more

Wealth and Fame

This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” What are the two most common goals for people who live in the world? Wealth and fame. To gain these goals people are willing to lose everything, including the health of their body, mind and spirit. Not a very good exchange, is it? Worldly wealth and fame fade so quickly that we wonder which will last longer, the money, the fame or the man. But consider… Read more


This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” People are always looking for the easy way. The hard way – the way learned by difficult experience and painful realizations – doesn’t interest them. They want a short-cut. True Dharma seekers are afraid of short-cuts. They know better. They know that without effort, there’s no sense of accomplishment. It’s that sense that keeps them going. People who don’t appreciate the struggles of climbing lack understanding… Read more

The Mountain of Wisdom

This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” It is easier to do the right thing when we know what the right thing to do is. We can’t rely on instinct to find the Way. We need guidance. But once we’re shown the path and begin to climb it, we find that with each step up we grow in wisdom and fortitude. Looking down we see how many of our old desires have fallen… Read more

Han Shan on Material Objects

This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” Why are certain material objects so treasured? A gem is virtually useless and a gilded scabbard is no better than a plain one. Man decides that gold is valuable because it is rare and enduring and brilliant. He then thinks that if he possesses gold he, himself, will become rare or unique, that his individual worth will endure, and that he also will be considered a… Read more

The Heart’s Weather

This is a passage from a teaching by Master Han Shan called “The Maxims.” The heart’s weather should always be clear, always sunny and calm. The only time the weather could turn bad is when clouds of lust and attachment form. These always bring storms of worry and confusion. This comes from the concept of Buddha Nature. The core of our being is wakefulness. Our natural state is full of love, kindness, and wisdom. We have an original goodness that… Read more