Zen West’s Guiding Teacher is Debra Seido Martin, transmitted in the Dharma Cloud Lineage in 2009 by Kyogen Carlson, the late Abbott of Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland, OR. Seido is an organic farmer and psychotherapist devoted to the wild and giving space of practice and grace of the land. She carries forward her teacher’s directive to, when longing for other conditions in which to practice, “ordain into your life.”
Listen to weekly talks given at Zen West Empty Field and other venues by Seido, senior students and guest teachers. Presentations include audio and video recordings.
Zen is a discipline of the body as much as it is an investigation of the thinking mind. The forms of practice hold up a mirror and point the way to the realization beyond the isolated self to something fundamental and life giving.
Sanzen is the intimate meeting between the teacher and student who is sincerely inquiring from doubt. Great doubt is said to be essential in order to realize the path of Zen. When combined with great faith and great determination, this questioning inspires our meditation and reveals to us what’s most essential.
A koan is not so much answered in words as it is authentically lived into. Insight is expressed with the whole body and mind. A good koan strips away easy answers and instead hones our questions as to the meaning of this very life.
Fully Inhabiting One's Life
Zen practice is intended to be integrated into all aspects of life, at work in the kitchen, caring for a child, or organizing a campaign. The practice cultivates depth equally in our inner and outer lives so we can take our place in the world as fully mature human beings.
In a World on Fire
Beyond avoidance and despair, how do we respond to a time marked by great suffering – ecological collapse, social fragmentation, and ongoing pandemic strain? Zen is not a complacent practice, but one that encourages wholehearted engagement in the muddy waters of life without attachment to the outcome.