Topic: Zen

“That’s Not Very Buddhist of You”

“That’s Not Very Buddhist of You.” Have you ever had that accusation thrown in your face? Brad Warner has, and it’s made him think about what it really means to act like a Buddhist. It’s not as simple as right and wrong. The other day, someone who attends the zazen classes I lead told me […]

Check out The Melanthium Band, featuring the piano stylings of Zen teacher Lewis Richmond

The work of Lewis Richmond has been featured a number of times here, but now we’re looking at a different kind of work from the author and Zen teacher. “I have recently become part of a new music group called The Melanthium Band,” he writes. “Many people who know my books and teaching may not […]

Sister Chan Khong’s path of peace

Best known as Thich Nhat Hanh’s closest collaborator, Sister Chan Khong is also a dedicated activist and a gifted teacher in her own right.  “People think that engaged Buddhism is only social work, only stopping the war,” Chan Khong says. “But, in fact, at the same time you stop the war outside, you have to […]

Joshu Sasaki Roshi dead at 107

From Myoren Yasukawa & Gento Krieger of Rinzai-Ji Zen Center, the home temple of Joshu Sasaki Roshi, comes this message: It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that Joshu Sasaki Roshi passed away at 4:25 p.m. [Sunday] afternoon at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. We will update you soon with funeral […]

Facing suffering, finding joy: Women combat veterans at Tassajara

Every year since 2011, more and more women combat veterans have been making their way to Northern California’s remote Tassajara Zen Mountain Center for specially focused retreats called “Honoring the Path of the Warrior.” This year, the New York Times sat in as twenty women vets processed “the impact of combat, of taking life and […]

Koans: They’re not puzzles. They’re not riddles. So what are they?

You’ve probably heard of koans, or at least of one particular koan: “What is the sound of one hand?” That one’s so famous even Bart Simpson has grappled with it. Often koans are explained as being riddles — which is how Lisa Simpson, actually a Buddhist, presented them to her brother. Well, koans can be […]

Read Brad Warner’s “A Punk Looks at Fifty,” from the July Shambhala Sun, now

Crummy cars, a wall of guitars, and a whole bunch of meditation: sure, it’s not exactly the American Dream, but Brad Warner (rendered here by the legendary comics artist Peter Bagge, in his first Shambhala Sun appearance) is good with that. In “A Punk Looks at Fifty,” Warner, a Zen teacher, a musician, filmmaker, and […]

Zen artist Mark T Morse: Depicting the masters

“I’ll keep to any teacher of Zen, alive between 1950 and today,” writes Mark T Morse of his new art project, a series of brush-and-ink portraits of modern dharma teachers, each married with a short teaching/quote by its subject. “My primary goal,” Morse says, “is to visually explore the rich and diverse world of individuals […]

Buddha’s Daughters: An interview with Karen Maezen Miller

The author of Paradise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden, Karen Maezen Miller describes herself as an errant wife, delinquent mother, reluctant dog walker, and expert laundress. She’s also a Zen Buddhist priest and meditation teacher at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles. Two of Karen’s teachings are found in my […]

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 […]