Topic: Zen

Artist and former Buddhist monk Andrew Binkley explores “A Space Between” in Hawaii museum installation

There was a point at which American artist Andrew Binkley had had it with school and set off for China to explore Ch’an Buddhism. A year’s immersion in the art and philosophy of that culture moved him to dive even deeper and off he went to Thailand where he spent two years as a Theravadan […]

Scrabble goes Zen?

According to the Washington Post: “After a month of crowdsourced searching, the new addition to the official Scrabble dictionary will be either “zen” or … “geocache.” The working definition of “Zen” here is: “Zen, noun: a Japanese form of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation.” Though the Post notes that this is mostly a publicity bid, it’s […]

Peter Matthiessen’s novel of a Buddhist meditation retreat at Auschwitz published today

It was prescient of author, explorer and Zen priest Peter Matthiessen to say that his 33rd book, In Paradise, would be his “last word”. Matthiessen died April 5 at 86 (see the Sun’s coverage here); Penguin’s Riverhead Books published In Paradise today. The novel chronicles a Buddhist contemplative group’s complicated outer and inner journey to […]

Quest for quietude: Buddha-inspired “Songs of the Wanderers” touring Canada, US

“I had them meditate three hours a day. They hated me! But I was very persistent.” So said choreographer and Cloud Gate Dance Theatre founder Lin Hwai-min to the Montreal Gazette about preparing his dancers to perform Songs of the Wanderers. The Taiwan troupe is currently showcasing this piece on a short North American tour, […]

Are you one with your work? Read Pat O’Hara’s “The Work of the Moment,” from our current issue

Like the monk who strived so hard he couldn’t see the goddess right behind him, if we push too hard for results, we miss what is intimate. As Zen teacher Pat Enkyo O’Hara — abbot of NYC’s Village Zendo, and a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker family — teaches in our current issue, even […]

What is the sound of one note? Giving 20th c. Zen composer Giacinto Scelsi a listen

Perusing a review of a recent performance by Miami’s New World Symphony, I came across this tantalizing biographical tidbit about one of the composers on the program, Giacinto Scelsi (1905-88), who seems to be emerging out of obscurity: “Scelsi (Count D’Alaya Valva), was an eccentric who suffered a mental breakdown and hospitalization from 1949-1952. The […]

Zen teacher recalls her student who transitioned genders, “Turning Words” author Ellen Krug

We hope you’ve had a chance to read Ellen Krug’s “Turning Words: A Buddhist Transitions Genders,” posted here last week. In addition to sharing that wonderful piece, we’ve also been able to hear from Zuiko Redding, the teacher at Cedar Rapids Zen Center Ellen found so helpful. That’s a nice little story in itself. Says […]

Just Clean the Toilet

The weekend’s here, and while that can mean “fun,” it can also mean chores. (Shoveling and scraping, anyone?) Here’s Sumi Loundon Kim with a little perspective on getting things done. “And here is your work assignment for the next seven days of the meditation retreat: clean the women’s bathroom in the dormitory.” The meditation center’s […]

Zen Peacekeepers creates Elder Fund for Zen pioneers Bernie Glassman and Eve Marko

As Bernie Glassman—Zen Peacekeepers founder and longtime pioneer in fusing Buddhist practice with social justice activism (read Andrea Miller’s dual profile of Bernie and Jeff Bridges here)—rounds the corner of his 75th birthday, the Zen Peacekeepers community says Glassman “doesn’t plan to retire. But he does tire.” In light of this, they have created an […]

Father of Sandy Hook shooting victim asks Thich Nhat Hanh how to prevent such tragedies in the future

Neil Heslin, whose son was killed in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago, attended a retreat with Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh last August at Blue Cliff Monastery in New York. At that time, he took the opportunity to ask, “What could have prevented what happened that day, and what […]

The ball just stops: remembering the Zen master of Japanese baseball

These days, the word “Zen” is all-too-easily deployed when some writers are looking to describe those whose detached concentration makes difficult feats look like a breeze. You often find such lazy labeling hastily stitched onto exceptional athletes. But once in a while, “Zen master” actually belongs in the headline. Meet Japanese baseball legend Tetsuharu Kawakami, […]

Video: Mercedes Benz tests Buddhist monks against new car (and vice-versa) / With small update

As our online correspondent Konchog Norbu wrote about here two weeks ago, (“Keeping your Zen on the test track,” October 30), a new ad for the Mercedes-Benz A45 AMG seemed to pit Buddhist renunciates against, yes, a luxury car. As Konchog wrote, “in [the ad], five Zen monks receive the classic thwack on the shoulders […]

“Keeping your Zen” on the test track

With assiduous practice of Zen meditation, it’s possible to achieve such deep levels of single-pointed concentration. Like a mountain you are, anchored to your cushion. Unmoved by any distraction of the senses. Unless that distraction happens to approach your seat with the slinky curves and supple grace of…the new Mercedes A45 AMG! So an ad […]

Ruth Ozeki talks Zen to the Wall Street Journal

In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, Ruth Ozeki — longtime acclaimed author and, more recently, Zen priest — shares the inspirations in her life and work, up to her most recent novel, A Tale for the Time Being. (See “Lost in Time,” Brian Brett’s Shambhala Sun review of A Tale from earlier […]

Against all odds, more Buddhist bluegrass!

Having just highlighted Peter Rowan, we figured that was pretty much it for the category of Buddhism-inflected bluegrass. But not so fast! Meet Portland, Oregon’s Renegade Stringband, who are reportedly recording their first full-length album, to be called “The Worst Horse.” The title echoes Shunryu Suzuki Roshi’s famous dharma riff from Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind […]