The Most Intense Person in the Room

  For all of you folks out there who are always the most intense person in the room, or are waiting for everyone to notice the subtext, or can feel other people as yourself, or are a walking pressure cooker, or can’t get yourself going in one direction, or you feel like an exposed nerve, or…

How Sanzen Shaped My Way of Doing Bodywork

  “If we open ourselves completely, consciously or unconsciously, we are ready to listen to the voiceless voice of the universe.” – Dainin Katagiri Recently someone asked me what my practice looks like now that I am not doing koan work intensively in the monastery.  This post is a bit of a response to that…

Zen Embodiment’s 5 Most Popular Blog Posts

Thank you for reading my blog!  Below are the all time most popular posts. Breathing from the Belly: Tanden, a Great Rolling Ball Describing Traditional Rinzai Koan Training A great love affair Just standing around Zhan Zhuang, Standing Like a Tree Breaking Through: Sublime and Natural These are not necessarily my favorite. I will do…

Guidance of the Great Vow

Sentient beings are numberless I vow to liberate them The Head monk walked into the zendo on day six of Osesshin and announced that two planes had just crashed into the World Trade Center. This was on Whidbey Island. On the the right of me was one of my best friends, Chris, who I had…

Dojo Poems: A few scattered poems from a young monk’s life

Unbearable joy, profound loneliness and sadness.  Liberation!  Wild energy and self reflection.  Some short poems giving a window into what it was like to be a young monk in a Japanese Zen Monastery. bitter cold     winter full moon still erupts my heart — what a relief this state of mind      even suffering is…

Honesty: Facing Ourselves in Zazen

We can’t do zazen unless we are honest.  Zazen itself teaches us that.  Without honesty, zazen won’t happen. Nothing will move through us, we’ll go to sleep or feel stagnant or sit there lost in thought.   We’ve got to feel what is happening, feel what is coming up.  Actually feel where we are stuck in…

Describing Traditional Rinzai Koan Training

I spent my twenties in Monasteries in Japan and The United States. Being a Zen monk is kind of like being a primordial energy wizard. Imagine spending twenty-four hours a day focusing on something that most of the world does not know exists. Zazen (Zen Meditation) is a way to tap into this great life energy,…

Zhan Zhuang, Standing Like a Tree

One practice that really helped me in the beginning to go deeper into my zazen, and continues to keep me healthy in my life every day, is a type of Chi Kung first introduced to me in the monastery by a fellow training person.  It is Zhan Zhuang, “Standing Like a Tree” and it involves…

Second Breath, Breath of Life: Craniosacral Therapy Meets Zen

“I can say that as the Breath of Life emerges from a depth of Stillness, one experiences heart-opening radiance and compassion, a sense of great spaciousness and peace, a depth of love and interconnection, and a perception of a Presence that seems to enfold, uphold and maintain life.”  Franklyn Sills In this post, I’d like…