The Koan

Koan Summer: Sesshin – Oh No! Oh Yes!

Koan Summer: Sesshin – Oh No! Oh Yes!

Seido reflects on the recent sesshin facing the challenges of thunder storms, fires, poor air quality, hornets, injuries and then some and how the practice of complete acceptance of the moment lends itself to what Master Yunmen calls "an appropriate response."...

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Koan Summer: Skin, Flesh, Bones, Marrow

Koan Summer: Skin, Flesh, Bones, Marrow

Seido investigates the story where Bodhidharma tests four of his students about their understanding of the dharma and eventually gives his student, Huike, the transmission making him his heir. This talk points to the way each of us embody the truth in our own unique...

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Koan Summer: Sesshin – Oh No! Oh Yes!

Koan Summer: Blue Cliff Case on Blindness and Clarity

Seido unfolds a case from the Blue Cliff record, the middle collection of koans, that questions the nature of being "clear eyed" or free from delusion and what this has to do with "blindness." Each week Seido offers a new tip on how to work with a koan....

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Koan Summer: Case 94 – Tozan is Ill

Koan Summer: Case 94 – Tozan is Ill

Seido talks about the context of this koan from the Book of Serenity that heralds the ending of the koan curriculum and the coming absence of the teacher. The koan explores the realization of one's true self, the "one who is not ill," and the liberation Tozan has come...

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Koan Summer: A Person of Great Strength

Koan Summer: A Person of Great Strength

Seido launches the summer group koan study with comments on Case 20 of the Mumonkan, "Sung-yuan's Person of Great Strength." Included in this talk are tips on working with strong reactions to koans language and how to foster a sense of trust and openness when one is...

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Blue Cliff Case 78: 16 Bodhisattvas Enter the Bath

Blue Cliff Case 78: 16 Bodhisattvas Enter the Bath

Seido reflects on this koan and its relationship to what unfolded during a recent sesshin at Empty Field Zendo for 17 practitioners. In this talk, she asks questions about what it means to get in and out of the bath and what water is in practice....

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Blue Cliff Case 43: Dongshan’s Heat and Cold

Blue Cliff Case 43: Dongshan’s Heat and Cold

Seido talks about our propensity to avoid discomfort and the invitation from this koan to become intimate with life that says "yes" regardless of conditions. The three bodies of buddha are also referred to in this talk (nirmanakaya, dharmakaya and sambogakaya) and how...

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Case 52: Zhaozhou’s Bridge

Case 52: Zhaozhou’s Bridge

A disappointed monk traveling to great Master Joshu's monastery challenges the teacher about what Zen is supposed to look like. Seido encourages the student to look into what is known in experience about the "bridge" to the "other shore" - the path from samsaric...

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Koan Summer: Skin, Flesh, Bones, Marrow

Case 91: Yanguan’s Rhinoceros Fan

Seido opens this summer's koan study with suggestions on how to engage these classical exchanges not from the thinking mind but on a more immediate intimate level. She uses Case 91 as an example on how to take up a koan's dreamlike quality and follow the salient...

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The Personal Koan

The Personal Koan

       If we look closely, every life dilemma has at its core a guiding koan. Being fired from my job, who am I?  From every powerful dream springs forth a luminous question. Having lost my car, I come to a towering stone wall...

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