Faith in Mind

“Simultaneously practice stillness and illumination. Carefully observe, but see nothing, see no body, and see no mind. For the mind is nameless, the body is empty, and all things are dreams. There is nothing to be attained, no enlightenment to be experienced. This is called liberation.” -Sengcan Faith In Mind is a long poem about […]

The Teaching of Huineng

via The Chan Teaching of Huineng — The Tattooed Buddha Huineng was the Sixth Patriarch of Chan Buddhism. Chan is called the Meditation School. It was created as an effort to focus more on the core teachings of Buddhism: the cultivation of mindfulness and awareness. Chan Buddhism is focused on this life, here and now. […]

The only Zen you can find… |Patheos

“The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there.” – Robert M. Pirsig This is about Enlightenment. To come to Enlightenment we have to see our true nature. Our true nature is Enlightenment. Enlightenment isn’t something far away that we’re chasing. We have innate wakefulness and […]


Nagarjuna is one of my heroes in Buddhist history. He was a scholar and adventurer, a mystic and wanderer. And a prolific writer whose work is still with us today. He’s sometimes called the Second Buddha. He’s the only figure given such a high distinction. He lived in the second century and he’s considered a […]

Zen Master Dogen

I think it could be argued that the history of Zen is really a history of spiritual iconoclasts and revolutionaries, spiritual adventurers who saw the way things were and sought to innovate instead of merely accepting the status quo. Dogen is  looked upon by Soto Zen Buddhists as an ideal to live up to; he […]

Xu Yun: Empty Cloud

  “Set the time of sitting! Make it just as long as it takes one fragrant incense stick to burn down. In that time we can thread the basic principles of Buddhism into a lovely string of pearls.” ~ Xu Yun Ch’an Master Xu Yun lived to be 120. He lived from the mid 1800s […]

Han Shan and the Zen Hermits

Camping makes me think of Zen hermits. I sometimes go and live in a tent for a while. If people are around, they come talk to me. If no one is around, then I spend time with the trees and the grass. There’s a tradition, especially in China, of Buddhist teachers disappearing into the wilderness. These […]

Great Compassion is a Prerequisite

Great compassion is the fundamental prerequisite for successful Ch’an meditation. Compassion is the best possible motivation. It inspires us like nothing else can. Because we have great compassion, we are striving to become enlightened for the sake of all beings. This is what it means to try to live the way of the Bodhisattva. Because […]

Is Compassion Important In Zen?

At first glance, it might seem like compassion isn’t important in Zen. There’s a whole lot of emphasis on insight and concentration practices. It’s true that in the Zen tradition there is a lot of focus on the mystical experience, cultivating insight to try to attain Enlightenment. Texts like the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra do […]