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  • The Art of Giving

    In Buddhism we have what we call the Paramitas, from the Sanskrit word meaning going to the other shore, the Paramitas being practices like vessels that can bring us to the other shore, from samsara to nirvana, or from the suffering and the dissatisfaction we have in life to a more satisfying and joyful life, and the first of the Paramitas, sometimes counted as six, sometimes as ten, is giving, generosity.

    I don’t believe it’s by accident that giving is the first vehicle to the other shore, because everything really centers around our willingness and ability to give, to give with our whole heart, to give generously, even to the point of enlightenment, because enlightenment is really giving away the self. It’s like giving the self over to others, to the planet, to the world at large, to all beings. It’s like not being so egocentric and so set on our own gain, our own acquisitions.

    This time of year has become so much more about receiving – what am I going to get? – when really the art, in my opinion, is the other end of it, it’s the joy that we get from giving and being generous. That’s what leads to a more fulfilling and a happy life. Most of the time when we give we have a hidden agenda, we want something in return, we want something back. Even if it’s just a thank you card, a thank you email, some notice that we’ve been noticed, some way that we feel recognized and seen and appreciated.

    But the truest giving is when we’re not looking for anything in return. In Zen practice it’s to really give the self away, without having any expectations or gaining ideas. So when we
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    Excerpted from a conversation with Genpo Roshi recorded Dec. 18, 2015. Click here to request a link to the recording.
  • Self-Power, Other-Power and Beyond

    I am often asked about how I am practicing these days and whether it is different from the past. Actually my practice has changed dramatically in the last few years. For a while I sat much less than I had before and even gave up zazen on a daily basis, only to find that it hadn’t given up on me. In these past couple of years sitting and devotion have come back into my life, and they are giving me greater joy and fulfillment than ever.

    Until recently I sat cross-legged in a lotus posture with very straight back unsupported. These days my posture is very different, and I am loving sitting more than I ever have before. I sit very relaxed and natural, usually in a chair or sofa, my legs not crossed, feet on the floor, resting my back against the back of the chair or couch, upright but not stiff or rigid in any way. Everything is relaxed and comfortable.
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  • Free Recording Available

    In May of 2014, Genpo Roshi engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with a large audience at a public evening event in Salt Lake City, Utah. The discussion was recorded live and is available free on request. Click here to request a link to the recording.