Taking sanity for granted

November 13th, 2011 by | 16 Comments

Student: In the voice of sanity and disowned sanity, I just realized that it’s so much taken for granted in this practice, at least by me. As you said, it’s always there, but you have to choose it and not just take it for granted because it’s always there. Roshi: That’s right. Well, we know […]


Real freedom

November 2nd, 2011 by | 14 Comments

This is a response to a question from a reader of Genpo Roshi’s most recent post, “Having No Preference”.   What I mean when I say to be really free, and the reason why I call it the most difficult thing in our practice, is that in my experience one can have numerous experiences of […]


Having no preference

October 28th, 2011 by | 35 Comments

Student: We often hear the comment, “Just have no preference and everything will be fine.” It sounds straightforward and yet it seems impossible to practice in today’s world. Can you say more about this? Roshi: There was a time in the 80’s and early 90’s when I saw it this way. Today, more than 20 […]


Zen for the world

October 22nd, 2011 by | 25 Comments

Transcend discrimination of opposites Discover total reality And achieve detachment This is true freedom. Shinjingakudo – “Learning through the body and mind” Dogen Zenji (1200-1253) Transcend discrimination of opposites is what I mean by include and embrace the opposites. Discover total reality in Big Heart Zen is what is meant by the Apex. And achieve […]


What does Big Mind mean?

October 20th, 2011 by | 10 Comments

By Genpo Roshi I’m using “Big” with the sense of the Japanese word Dai, or the Sanskrit word Maha, meaning great or big. “Mind” when preceded by Dai or Maha means a mind with no limits or boundaries. A quote from the 6th Patriarch: “The capacity of the mind is so great, it’s like space. […]


Overwhelming emotion

September 21st, 2011 by | 10 Comments

Student:  How do we work with overwhelming emotion?  Roshi:  Well, the only reason it’s overwhelming is that we’re not allowing our self to experience it fully.  There’s no such thing as an overwhelming emotion; there’s just emotion. When we repress it, it becomes overwhelming.  When we open ourselves to it, nothing’s overwhelming.  It’s like a storm in the sky, the empty […]


What is out there is in me

September 11th, 2011 by | 9 Comments

Student: It occurred to me that one reason the thinking mind is disowned is there are a lot of things that one would rather not think about. For example, why we have so much and thousands of babies are being born in rubbish heaps every day, and why corporations control governments that have millions of […]


Zazen, Koans and Voices

August 30th, 2011 by | No Comments

Student: I notice when I try to work with disowned voices it gets difficult to identify them and pull them apart. Do you have any tips or tricks to work with that? Roshi: I don’t know about tricks, but I’m glad you brought this up because I’ve been asked this very often by people who […]



July 28th, 2011 by | 28 Comments

by Zen Master D. Genpo Merzel Q: How is it that disappointment can bring about enlightenment or an awakening? Genpo: Disappointment is a cruel but vigorous teacher. We all enter the spiritual path with many ideas, notions, hopes and expectations. It is our hope that the spiritual path will save us from our fears, loneliness and […]


Where am I stuck?

July 24th, 2011 by | 22 Comments

by Zen Master D. Genpo Merzel If you really want to practice Zen, not just know something about it, a good first question to ask is “where am I stuck?” We may think, ‘I’m not stuck,’ or ‘people fall into two categories: some are stuck and others are not, and I myself am [or am not].’  […]



July 15th, 2011 by | 31 Comments

by Zen Master D. Genpo Merzel For much of my 40 years of Zen practice I was beyond most of the pain of this realm of suffering and loneliness. In the early days of practice I would alleviate suffering by asking myself, “who is the one suffering?” and since there was no one there, the suffering […]


Never ending clarification

July 7th, 2011 by | No Comments

by Zen Master D. Genpo Merzel It just gets clearer and clearer to me how much I, and we, are deluded by our enlightenment. We have a saying by Dogen Zenji: “We’re enlightened in our delusion. We’re deluded in our enlightenment. And then there’s delusion beyond delusion”. It’s all delusion, and enlightenment is just another delusion. […]