Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2012

What Should Be Done About Sasaki?

What in the world do you do with a 105 year old guy who is reported to have done this:

• Twenty-three of those are no longer practicing with Joshu Roshi and had negative experiences, and many of those have shared their bad experiences with other Buddhist sanghas.
• There was one report to a crisis hotline, one police report, and once I witnessed a woman confronting Joshu Roshi in front of his wife, saying “Try touching me now when your wife is here!”
• Fourteen of the forty-two would probably say they are still Roshi’s students, nine of them obviously are.
o Of those, two told me their sexual encounters with Roshi were fantastically helpful, healing some sexual problems.
o Five others say only positive, though not so effusively glorious things.
o Six other women still practicing with Roshi (or at least saying they are his student) express more of an “I’ve put up with a lot” attitude.
o Five others had very short, one time encounters, all of whom said they rebuffed Roshi’s advances with a sla…

Zen Center of New Orleans

Please click on the bell in the photo and watch a video about Suzuki Roshi zen in New Orleans. Michaela and Koji have been together for about 5 years and met at Zen mountain Center, Tassajara. Koji is a dharma brother and student of our teacher Kosho McCall at Austin Zen Center and Michaela is a student of Paul Haller, previous abbot of City Center in San Fransisco.

What Koji and Michaela are doing is so important. Zen in the south is still very new and believe me, leaving Zen center is not easy. Here we eat all organic meals, live in beautiful rural settings or swanky urban streets, receive decent stipends, become eligible for health insurance, are surrounded by 40-60 practitioners who know all the words to the heart sutra, the names of ancestors, and can bow in unison like a beautiful school of fish in the ocean.

Michaela and Koji live in the 5th ward. Lulu and I used to live there- we helped set up Mid City Zen. Toulouse street, New Orleans, is a long, long, way from the mountains…

Selling Water By The River?

Ocassionally, I get messages or e-mails asking for help. I try, with my teachers guidance. I don't know how it goes, as I usually don't get an update later on. I used to feel really uncomfortable with this. Am I selling water near the river? I don't think so.

Dali Grandma quoted me the other day when I said somewhere that practicing to improve our samsaric conditions is silly. I can't believe I said that! I think of the Lankavatara, again:

Samsara is an illusion, but Karma is relentless
Drinking this cup of Cafe Du Monde coffee is an improvement of my samsara! And it's giving me the strength to write this blog. And I am willing to accept the karma of this coffee, and drink it again tomorrow! This is why Baoche is fanning himself. It's samsara, but what else do I know at this moment? I don't know.
Readers, you don't have to go far back in my life on this blog, or my first blog which is linked somewhere here, to see where I was. Yesterday, my crew leader…

Bliss Fests, Piss Fests, and Just Sitting

My poem about the ivory dust of teeth has more behind it.

For ten years now, my sitting practice has fluctuated from counting breaths, deep hara 40 second exhalations, mantra practice, and shamatha concentration. All this in the zendo, where we are supposed to be just sitting, totally engaged in sitting, not "learning meditation."

I'm not sure I ever tried to just sit, to bare witness to thoughts, feelings, images- I cut them off with the above techniques. And it was wonderful.

It was like standing in a classroom, the students off task, tearing up the tiles, cursing, fighting, crying, laughing, and I was in a hot tub, eyes closed, head phones of sweet dharma talks or soothing sounds of the beach.

My teachers for the most part have supported whatever I have done on the cushion. Tenshin Reb Anderson said all of these approaches were like different grits of sand paper, ending with the feather duster of Shikantaza, thinking non-thinking. But the Abbess suggested I try just s…

Rocking Around The Bodhi Tree

If you have never celebrated Buddha's enlightenment, I suggest you come visit us at Green Gulch next year. It was a wild rompus!

We start out slow, chanting the heart sutra in English, and then the tyko drum kicks up with two drummers and we start circling the alter, faster and faster, and chanting louder and louder in old Japanese, and herbs and flowers get tossed everywhere, even the abbess throws them at you!

And it smells wonderful...verbena, pine, rose geranium, sage, about 20 pounds of it all gets tossed. Black robes fly. I broke out my punk rock voice. My elders sounded like the B-52s. We all escalated like Rock Lobsters. The drummers were on point! The St. Aug marching 100 of New Orleans would have been impressed by our baker, Mick, "Big Drum" as his dharma name, and my sister Emma, hailing from the marching bands of Virgina.

It was epic.

I can't find a picture of such a ceremony. I have to just show you how my face felt:

Please note the mudra of Rocksattva. …


And Merry Christmas! Oh wait, those aren't sleigh bells, that's the shuso ringing the bell in what most people in the free world call the middle of the night.

Practice period is over, or it should be, and since Rohatsu ended yesterday, we are dragging out the days. Trudging these last two days to happy destiny- the 32 monk practice period, in addition to the senior staff that have lead us, have been going for over two weeks with no hosan (a day off!). We have the shuso ceremony tonight, a nice dinner, and closing ceremony tomorrow. We hope to sleep in on Wednesday, but this has not been confirmed, and we collectively fear we will go until Friday.

Meanwhile, it's time to make compost at after 7 days of sitting, sitting, and more sitting.

I wrote a poem to sum up my rohatsu:

Stay calm while the vultures pick at your spare rib back and chew on the sinews of swollen knees while pecking at brittle bird wing ankles.
Stay calm when the wooden floor turns thin as paint and the wa…