Year of the Dragon

As we move into the new year I want to let you all know where I am now in my journey. I am writing this on the Chinese New Year, the year of the Dragon. I trust it will be a better year for us all and a year of great transformation for the world.

I want to acknowledge that this past year has been very challenging as well as sobering. It has shown me that I am not superhuman but just an ordinary guy who has made some very hurtful decisions. As I took on the practice of embracing all the extremes, embodying the 81st Patriarch and empowering people, I allowed myself to become very inflated. I have spent this past year in deep self-reflection and working with my mentors, letting go of some deeply rooted patterns that have been there for a very long time.

After a year that could perhaps be described as a “dark night of the soul,” I have made some life-changing decisions that may or may not affect some of you. I will be simplifying and scaling down both my life and work and not being such a public and visible person. I will be continuing in a more modest, vulnerable and approachable way with much less drive and ambition. I wish to be with people who share mutual respect and supportive relationships, and to take better care of myself, family members, loved ones, friends, and students.

This past year I came to the edge of the cliff and was forced to leap, letting go of everything. This released a great deal of weight and pressure on my shoulders and in my heart. It wasn’t until I let go of the Zen Center property, the Japanese form, the residential program and the Buddha Dharma itself, that I understood how heavy the anchor had become around my neck, like “an iron yoke with no hole.” Now that I am less burdened I would like to share the Dharma with others as just “me” without attachment to any particular form, technique or teaching. My teaching will be more about what is needed in the moment for healthier growth and development and without the promise of a “carrot” at the end. I feel that I have left some very capable people behind to teach and that I can move on into the unknown that lies ahead.

As I move forward in my life I am not throwing away or rejecting anything that I embody, being a lineage holder, a Zen Master, or a monk, but I am not identified with, nor attached to any of these, nor to any particular path or method of teaching, only doing what works to awaken sentient beings. I will continue to work with a very few students who have chosen to work with me in a heartfelt way, who recognize and know what and who I am. I have been driven to the edge and forced to leap only to find true freedom by letting go of all beliefs and systems, including a Buddha view and a Dharma view. The people I will be working with are those willing to take the same leap of faith.

12/12/12 would have been my father’s 103rd birthday and it will mark the beginning of the next evolution of Big Mind. I don’t know now exactly what this will look like, only that I am in a process of wishing to gift Big Mind/Big Heart to the world as a skillful means that has great potential to change and transform people’s lives.

I am both inspired and excited about the future. I feel that I am once again a beginner. My heart and soul are calling me home and back to the source. I feel that I am returning to the world after this forty-year spiritual journey, that my life and adventure are now beyond both the “market place” and the “spiritual,” the “holy” and the “profane.” What I am still committed to is continuing to clarify and grow, being conscious and awake, with compassion towards others and myself.

I take full responsibility for my life and what I have created and am completely accountable for my actions and reactions. I have no hard feelings towards anyone, even my critics. I only hope that I haven’t created too much harm and suffering in order to learn the lessons that I needed to learn so far in this life. This life is truly a wonderful gift to be lived and not wasted. I sincerely wish you all the very best on your journey.

Love, D. Genpo Merzel

90 thoughts on “Year of the Dragon”

  1. my friend and brother…I did not know you then, but love you now. I am a student of the divine, an author in recovery (Soul Silence), spiritual teacher and certainly one who is learning the robes of humility, surrender, and fellowship. I would be honored to chat with you and know you…perhaps even join together for something to share. Thank you for touching me deeply today with your power of surrender. Namaste.

  2. Dear Roshi – It’s good to see you moving on from the pain you were in months ago. Your pain was very inspiring, as is your renewed energy. Those who were hurt received their own opportunities to learn. Thank you for everything you do. Everything.

  3. I continue to bow to the very Essence of who/what you are.
    Thank you for being vulnerable.
    Thank you for not rejecting any part of your wholeness.
    Thank you for experiencing humility & compassion for yourself.
    Thank you for not having all the answers and yet being open to your continued unfolding.
    Thank you for being one of my Teachers.

    Next time you’re in our area, both Dave & I would love to see you.
    With Great Love & Gratitude

  4. Don’t be so hard on yourself sir. You have influenced so many in profound ways. There is so much to be said for that. People are not perfect. Even masters make mistakes. But that is the beauty of life. Without mistakes we don’t get to learn and become better. It has been a long time since I have been able to attend one of your meetings in slc, but I miss them and I try to send every one I know to them. I have never felt so centered then when I was attending. You gave me very great advice in a time I needed it so badly. I for one hope to meet and conversate with you once again. Lots of love. -Jeff.

  5. It sounds like you are taking responsibility, yet I don’t hear and don’t know and you don’t acknowledge what you did that caused harm and or suffering. I would like to hear you explain what went wrong. Thank you. Sincerely, Julie Free Heart

  6. You are so amazing. It’s one thing to be a teacher when everything is showing up great — but the real teacher demonstrates how to be when one is at the ‘low points’. I learn so muhc from you — My respect for you deepens because you embrace all aspects of your self — you are willing to embrace the ‘shadow’ openly without excuses — just unconditional embrace.
    As a student, I receive so much from you and I always want to give you, the teacher, space for your journey as well.

  7. Thank you for sharing and I am sending you love and light for your future. Please watch I AM by Tom Shadyac if you have not already. Letting go has been a blessing for him as well. Asking two very important questions “What is wrong with the world? And What can I do about it.”
    “The goal for me had become unity and integrity, so when anyone looked in any drawer of my life, they would hopefully see a consistency of character rooted in compassion, creativity and love.” St. Augustine said, “Determine what God has given you, and take from it what you need, the remainder is needed by others.”
    “Men…seek money or power…for they aspire to the highest, and this, in their sleepwalking, they dream is the highest. Wake them, and they shall quit the false good and leap to the true.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
    D. Genpo Merzel I celebrate your living your truth!
    Thank you for inducting me to the Zen and Big Mind….
    Blessing your heart! Darci

  8. This is a beautiful letter and inspires me to touch in to my inner world and ask, what are my views and intentions with this life I’ve been given? Thanks for posting this, Roshi. In the past, working with you, I was often inspired to dedicate more of myself and my active/relative life to the dharma and sangha, but was too shy to feel that such a “celebrity” teacher would be genuinely good for me. 🙂 Even though the benefit was pretty apparent through my experience. I look forward to the new path you have chosen and can’t wait to unconditionally dedicate more of myself to the spiritual path & community, through your teachings.

  9. Dear D. Genpo Merzel,
    Thank you for your letter as well as for all you have done and will do for everyone in the future. How wonderful to it is to feel free. The truth is all there is.
    Much love, Laura Fisher

  10. Dear Genpo, Thank you for your sincerity and humility. Your words are full of humanity and at the same time full of wisdom. Seeing you overcome and face the difficult circumstances you have confronted have been very inspiring and instructive in my own inner searching.

  11. Dear Genpo,
    I was so moved by your statement. I don’t have your credentials but I have been on a meandering spiritual path for forty-four years and now realize that I don’t know anything.
    Love and light,

  12. Dear Genpo, this is just one more experience that I have had in these past days that is proving to me that “something” is happening “out there ” on planet earth with people who are being more “enlightened” and sharing their experience. Awareness is the key to know that it is happening !!
    I have followed your teachings for quite a few years and have yearned to take your workshops and retreats yet had to be satisfied with listening to the DVD’s on BigMind/Big Heart.
    I have always respected where you are coming from and valued your wisdom you share so graciously.
    Your most recent decision from your letter above only supports my perception of you as being a wise, gentle, compassionate person who is interested in the growth and development of every human being with whom you come in contact. I hope one day I will meet you face to face.
    Know that you will always be in my thoughts and prayers as you seek fullfilment on the journey and may the ‘unknown that lies ahead for you’ be filled with PEACE in ABUNDANCE !
    Rita Schilling

  13. Blessings Genpo,

    I read with an open heart your deeply expressed words and the sacred place your journey has led you to at this juncture … it takes great persistence, courage and wisdom to allow the process of letting go … letting go … letting go … bring the level of illumination and peace which you now have encountered. May you continue your journey of Lovelight with Grace and Peace … the ripples of your essence will continue to bless this universe and all of us.

    Krystal Rose

  14. Wow,

    You are definitely thinking in a healthy way and expressing thing from deep within your being. These are the things that really are important when looking at the bigger picture of life. Honesty about your own karma and finding a balance point in your soul is the way out of the “dark night of the soul.” I can also say that 2011 was also a “dark night” for myself.
    Very good to read these words from a real person. It’s contents are not self-righteous.
    Real teachers admits their faults and manipulations by the pursuits of ego in the life and then move on in a more authentic and true way, gathering all the bits of their aspects of soul together to come across in a more genuine way.
    Life isn’t about what happens to you, it’s how you handle what happens to you.
    Take care and great luck in this transformative year to us all.

  15. Almost 5 years ago, in my own spiritual confusion, I ended up at the Zen Center of Salt Lake sitting on a painful cushion full of doubt and self hate. I was sitting on the needles of my own wrongful ideas of who I am! But listening to your message opened my awareness of who I really am, revealing if only for moments at a time, a view of my divine self.
    But I am human and have made mistakes too. If not for them, I would not have sat with you and would not have suffered enough to search. The illusion is so strong with the ego, we forget often. And awakening takes place over and over again, only we are higher in the spiral of our consciousness.
    You are a gift not because you are perfect, but because you are NOT, and you still point the way. No matter the mistakes (no matter the details) the way is still forward. Thank you for being there when I wandered in, a stranger-seeker. You don’t even know me but you were my teacher no less. To err is human, to forgive divine. It is not for me to forgive, only for you to forgive yourself. You are doing that. But I can love you! I do love you Roshi! Your message today touched me deeply again.

  16. Dear Genpo,

    I have been following your work for many years and find similarities with my own. I am wondering if your current “transition” might help us find common ground for collaboration. I appreciate you may not want to. Still, I feel moved in the interest of ending human suffering to invite you to consider this. I find, allowing for re-creation and co-creation, is itself a discipline essential to the evolution of a wholly unified consciousness for our species.

    I see in both our approaches the exercise of a commonly sensed intelligence. Guided by the obstacles and challenges over several decades, I´ve found that unity consciousness – intersubjectively as well as socially – abides effortlessly as us whenever void-based awakeness – is aware of its own presence in-and-through us.

  17. Thank you for sharing, Roshi and I am excited for you, for the people that you continuously impact on your journey. I appreciate your sharing this letter with us and I appreciate you.
    Attending the Zendo in UT and Ameland, later have all contributed in my expansion as have other techniques and people I have met. I just wanted to share this tidbit with you and that “in your wanting to impact people in a resourceful way and “hoping you did not do too much harm in the process”, remember that we all do the best we know how at any point in time (whether consciously or subconsciously) and that any person impacted in a resourceful or unresourceful way by his/her interaction with you has consciously or unconsciously attracted that experience. We are all responsible for our creation and our alignment with source is the only accountability we truly carry. I appreciate your humanness and I appreciate your Buddhahoodness (Is that a word LOL?!) Namaste~Eric Du Pont

  18. It is said that ” God-ness or the Divine has already forgiven you for all the sins you have ever committed and will ever commit ” or else it would not be God.”
    Bless you and Bravo to have come back to us lighter brighter braver and more whole.
    Yes, Big Mind is the most loving, light, dynamic way to awaken almost anyone, little by little and I wish that that Dragon, Big Mind take you all over the world as you teach sitting humbly on top.
    In Grace

  19. You are an ongoing leader and inspiration to me, Genpo and I am deeply touched by your honestly and commitment to your path. Your work has changed my life. I look forward to working with you more in the future. In gratitude, Holly

  20. Roshi, you have great courage. Few could be so humbly open. I appreciate that. My respect remains. Yes, I want to stay in contact and be on your list.

    And, know that you give me courage to stop judging and pushing myself so hard. To permit myself to make mistakes and be human. I’m really working on that.

    Again, thank you for sharing. Blessings now and always. Diana

  21. Thank you for this statement. I appreciate it as a model of public humility, something that is inspiring and that one wishes other teachers who have at times lost their way would embrace. The question “What is enlightenment?” continues to be interesting, with so many different manifestations of personal mistakes by highly realized people. As one of my teachers often said, the true natural hierarchy is a hierarchy of humility, and you have demonstrated that in this statement. Best wishes and blessings to you.

  22. Hi Genpo: I’m glad to hear of your journey. I’m glad you’ll be more approachable now and that I might get a chance to work with you some time. Love, Kamala

  23. Dear Genpo,
    Good to hear from you in your personal letter. We met once in person in amsterdam. with an acqaintance of mine you were having dinner. He invited me to your table This man worked for a famous dutch bank.later on het went to America to you. surprised seing you years later on the internet I read your newsletter.
    Comparatative Religion was for years my main subject in university. I refused tot become a buddist at a certain moment when this was offered. I always was looking for the universal in religious ways, still I am…. with a strong knowledge of the universal I live day by day.
    Reading your letter I feel more close tot you now. I am also making my steps in a complete new life, with a lot lot unknown. I feel in this way also in tune with you.
    Hug, thank you for sharing, you belong to the people I feel a connection with.
    Vera Borgers from the netherlands.

  24. Thank you, Genpo Roshi, for continuing to reveal yourself, your journey, with such honesty, even after falling off the pedestal (if i may put it so rudely) of your own self-image. There have been so many teachers, many of whom have fallen, and we never know “what happened then.” I must admire your courage as you dust yourself off and say, “this is me now.” Wow. You are an open book, bless you. I can hardly wait to turn the page…..

  25. In the year of the dragon skillfull means arise naturaly.
    It can only be of value and used properly if it is accompanied by compassionate wishdom.
    By letting go of everything, dropping of all that has ever been attained, this relieves and opens up the heart.
    So compassionate wisdom flows effortless towards ourselves and others.
    And together with the skillfull means it can have the true potentional to heal and awaken the world.
    Dear genpo Roshi, how beautifull seeing you walking this path.
    With sincere love and respect.

  26. Even at your worst, you found and gave things that were pure and good. That says a lot. I’m glad you remain aware of your gifts and are committed to giving them while setting up structures to help you avoid falling into your personal traps. Love to you.

  27. I am touched by your honesty and courage to continue to face inward. Within every breath there is an opportunity to discover what has always been waiting for us. We are never too wise or too old for these discoveries. Between your words I sense a genuine shift that is fresh and clear. Thank you for sharing that.

  28. You and your letter touch my heart.
    5 years ago I said that I would trust my heart to go where it leads me.
    I’m grateful that it led me here.

  29. red light stop, green light go, hungry-eat,tired-rest. to some life is a necessity; do what is necessary; find a little leisure sometime. I respect and try to remember-practice- letting go, finding that middle way, that balance we soooooo look for. we all do what we do to fit in some where in our own head.

  30. When we are truly lost, the magical, beneficial and powerful creatures show up…like in every fairy tale. They come from within and without in every way possible…large and small. I have not studied with you Genpo Roshi but have read and seen some videos and sometimes the most magical creatures are people’s hearts. You have touched mine with your humble sharing….magical for me in a world that just does not ever willingly relinquish power. The wicked witch is dead and the way paved only with love for you all the way home. I bow to you…

  31. Your letter has made me smile. It is a relief! Your straight forward intimacy and intelligence is a great gift. I’m so glad you have landed on 2 feet and are walking forward. Wish we could see you more often. Please let us know when you get back East.

  32. Always new, always changing, the Big Mind process has always urged me forward. Now, Genpo Roshi’s new direction with unknown changes elicits excitement and entices me to practice more. Thanks.

  33. Dearest Gempo,
    I am not an intense spiritual seeker, but am I think spiritual,
    and as such am interested in what truthfull, heartfelt people have to say,
    I came across your work about three years ago, and I have to say,
    that your big mind proccess is the most profound thing to have ever happened to me,
    (or should I say us)
    and given that I only witnessed it on dvd, that it saying something,
    but I have to say that I found you to be warm, humble and truthfull,
    and not full of the (fluffy guff) that most people that have something to give
    spirtually are full of,
    And that my freind is definately a very rare thing,
    and your words have landed on me at a time when they will make a difference,
    the thing that has struck me most about you, is that with all that you are gifted to be in this life, (which in my humble opinion is huge and important to human kind) you still remain normal, and that is for me your biggest talent,
    god bless you
    sincere regards, Jason x

  34. Thanks for speaking such intimate truth. Thanks for your guidance in leading me on the deeper path. Laury and I miss being with you and others from Big Mind community in slc, but I don’t think we’ve said goodbye just yet.

  35. What more can one choose from than the choices that are presented within and the aversions that drive us? Perhaps each occurence happens in its own way relative to what we are in each moment.
    Thank you for being as you are, have been and will be.

  36. Genpo,
    You understand more than we the burden of public image and I thank you for the clarity and willingness to go beyond.

    When we were young I stood certain that, “If the eye never sleeps all dreams naturally cease”,
    with life experience I embrace, ” the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.”

    I look forward to the new unfoldment.

  37. Dear Roshi, in your hearts, mind you will comntinue to be big and fully present. It is impossible to forget, ignore or not recognize how amazing learnings you had left and so much people you have helped. You deserve to choose what ever path with simplicity or not. The legacy you are living it is enough for much more than 40 years
    And as you have said, life is wonderful gift to be leaved and not wasted. I do wish a wonderful path to you.

  38. Dear Gempo,
    Thanks for the update and for sharing your humility and authenticity. Your response resonates and it is good to hear of your progress in this life. We can’t be perfect but we can own the shadow. You set a good example for us in this letter. Wishing you the very best and thank you for being a great teacher and for Big Mind.
    Allison from Houston

  39. Somewhere between the fish and the moon lies the Truth. How we discover this is Life. Thank you Roshi for your inspirational stand in the face of human cruelty. Knowing that makes knowing you soulful.

    Love John

  40. Sir, I do not know you nor do I know your work but after reading your “year of the dragon” blog I actually do know you as I identify with your heart and soul. I too have been on a seemingly long spiritual journey, distracted by ego and sex and motivated by fears of various kinds. I have never experienced notoriety as you have but in my own way, thought of myself as a beacon. Well today, I am 75 years old, I have jumped off the cliff once again with a fervent desire to release within myself all that may be keeping me from fully realizing theTrue Self. My prayer each day is to be humble enough to not only listen to my Guidance but to have the courage to follow It. In a way I feel rudderless but in another sense, I feel truly free of the need to seek. Thanks for sharing. Ginger

  41. Such beautiful inner integrity. Thank you for being. Much Love and Many Blessings. I look forward to mutual vulnerability and never ending growth.

  42. i am from China and i never meet you Roshi, but i feel you are like a good/old friend for long time. I am practicing myself as well as start teaching others from your inspiration if Big Mind. I have been waiting for you making this statement of freedom for a while in the back of my mind. I’d very much like to meet you in that Unknown.



  43. Holy moly; too many words for just one man! And yet what else can we do to bridge the ocean of distance…
    It seems you’re saying goodbye in your last sentence, but I know you’re not over until the fat lady sings:)
    So to cut through the chase, ‘old brown eyes’, we might meet again. Meanwhile I blow you a kiss, from here with love X

  44. I attended Ameland last yr. It was to be my first experience sharing my spiritual life with strangers. I had went through months of back and forth doubts about attending your seminar. I’m quite guarded and I’ve grown to be a private person. Trust doesn’t come easy to me. When I arrived I was so nervous, but feeling anxious to have my doubts proven wrong. Needless to say, I was disappointed, sad and very confused on my return home. I have since become a solo practitioner, and now I’m leery of any outside instruction through so called mentors. You blatantly took advantage of the naive and helpless with your egocentric grandstanding. You exposed your dirty laundry in such a narcissist way it was surreal! I think you are only remorseful because you were caught red handed and now you have no other recourse than to cower in anguish. I pity you. Good luck shedding your addictions though, but don’t expect any miracles over night. It may take a few life times… for all the pain you’ve caused people. Unfortunately by the looks of it, you still have a few sheep to stroke your ego for a while.

    • @ Laura. It’s nice to see two sides of the coin.especially when you see comment trails so full of sanctimonious bullshit. I see now why it is so important as Zen Practitioners that we meditate so much, because when Zen students open their mouths we see how deluded their minds can be, me included.

      It is clear that despite complaints of abuse you still continue ahead with your Big Mind circus which to me is like discovering the miracle of free energy and before putting it through a testing phase, you unleash onto an unprepared world.

      We human beings are made up of many types and some of those types are incredibly vulnerable.They are like glass and can break.Please be careful with these human beings when they turn up to your retreats.seeing you as a saviour.hoping you will provide miracles. At least have the common decency to stop and speak to those that might be suffering more after your retreats and ask them if they are Ok.

      Maybe you can break your Big Mind into different groups including one for alcoholics, and another dealing with sexual abuse.A bit like the AA. As well as having trained Big Mind specialists you should also ensure that you have qualified therapists on hand to help those that may well need help in integrating what you exposed them too…..

      Understand that some of your students may have scraped together all the money they had for your retreat but may not have enough for the psychotherapy they are required to take for a full year after attending your retreat.

      Maybe put a warning sign on the leaflets to let some people know that it may be harmful to their mental health, or further work would be required after the retreat.

      I belive your Big Mind is incredibly powerful but for a handful of people it could be catostrphically dangerous. As a responsible citizen you have the duty to protect those people, and I hope you do.

  45. thank you for demonstrating that ultimate truth demands loss of all that burdens and clouds… your words have left this heart more open than before even and there is a bowing down here to all that is good in ALL that IS… your words strike the heart and are a gift indeed… travel well
    in stillness

  46. P.s my appologies for mis-spelling your name in my comment, it was a typo I promise
    not that my spelling is’nt bad but I do know your name is Genpo not gempo, sorry.
    please forgive me but I’m Welsh….
    Regards and blessings Jason

  47. It’s funny, when I was living in Jamaica at the Tibetan Manley Center 5 years ago, our Rinpoche honored you as an example of a Great Master in the modern world as one who beats the path with a large paddle and only now have I come to understand what he meant.

  48. Genpo’s story is a great lesson for us all. Sitting practice is no profylactic against bad decisions, anger or (mental) illness. We have to be present also when standing up, walking around and even laying down so that we’ll not be identified with our ego/thinking mind/human side and get dragged along. That degree of presence requires lots of practice and maybe even then it will get lost every once in a while. All we can do is be alert so that we can catch ourselves every time and return to the source.

  49. Thank you for your wonderful teachings. You and I are the same age its time to let go of fame and making money, $25,ooo Maui weekends are a little above most of our budgets. Simplify ,give ,share and love. For what is it we truly need to be happy in this moment.?
    I look forward to joining you on your journey once again.

  50. Dear Genpo,

    Your teachings and illuminations have irrevocably changed my life for the better. I am now able to own my Shadow even though it is still hard to look at myself in the full light. I understand I am a natural manifestation of Being: all the good, ugly, and bad of me. Seeing this allows me to slowly progress towards being more healthy and mature and responsible.

    I know there is nowhere to get ultimately but right here. I am becoming more comfortable with the boring, mundane, and ordinary and developing a good sense of gratitude for all I have been given.

    I feel guilty for not being able to give back more monetarily to Big Mind to help support it because I am attached to it in a way and would feel semi-lost if the community disappeared.

    I still would like to meet you one day if possible. It still amazes me how the sacred and the mundane are one and the same. You are the one who taught me this and showed me the path. I am forever indebted to you.

    I wish you the best in the future. I hope there are people to carry on your teachings to the public.



  51. Genpo,
    I think your Year of the Dragon letter is trying to address something valuable for both you and your students, but for me it just didn’t hit the mark. I would have loved to hear you say instead, something like;
    “What makes me or you or anyone deceitful and self deceptive? This is my true question! I would love to share this quest with anyone who is interested and see if we together can find the basis for lack of integrity in humanity. This has become my most ardent question to hold as a human being.”
    And Genpo, I would be so honored to be part of such a joint inquire.

    Love, Nadia Natali

    • Too right Nadia! No real answers given to real questions raised. Your question is certainly on the mark! The answer could just simply be human ego driven desire. There may be others…

  52. Is it really necessary to map out a strategy?
    Does an awakened mind truly work this way?
    Is the story really al that important?
    The Big Mind teaching does not belong to an individual or a group, it is consciousness awakening to itself
    Thank You Genpo for being that vehicle

  53. Interesting how each comment reflects its writer.
    All blame pointers shot outwards bend back to the sender.
    Once again I see you as firmly walking the ancient Zen path of your ancestors, as I gleamed from some books written in the last century. The books I had to read to get a grasp on the essence of Zen. I had been challenged by my previous Tibetan Buddhist teacher, and I did not find you wanting or deviating from that ancient Zen path. A path I appreciate because of its lack of clutter.
    While I find myself in that peculiar position of being excluded from your most profound teachings by a lack of money, I have discovered from your DVD documented teachings that I am ok with who I am and where I am on this path called life.
    And, somehow the teachings continue to soak into my essence of being.
    I continue to water this garden called Life.
    A grateful student.
    Appreciative of a connection with a teacher who continues to grow.
    With profound love,

    • Wow

      Genpo, isn’t apologising for any hurt u ve cause still seeing urself as separate? Perceiving urself as right or wrong. I can understand u wanting to clarify things but I’m not sure that u have to perceive urself as fully responsible. Arnt we expressions of thoughts and feelings as one hostically doing? Perceiving one as separate to the other is arbitrary I believe Bill Harris says.

      We can only percieve ourselves by not acknowledging that the other force is existing on the the otherside out of our awareness right? And when we see this otherside don’t we then know it was really a process of both and not one separate perspective?

      I feel kind stupid trying to give advise though to a Zen Master. It’s just my opinion

      Have a chat with Bill, he doesn’t seem to give a crap. I believe it’s because he doesn’t blame himself or anyone else. Sat Chit Anada.

      I bought some of ur DVDs, they were awesome and really helped me. Thanks Genpo u are awesome


  54. The master vanishes
    And in so doing, completes his ultimate service
    Returning the students to themselves
    To their own safe keeping

    Some stay, throwing stones at the empty cushion
    where they placed an idol
    Unwilling to take the path of their own liberation
    Focussed on a sore spot.

    And for others

    The dojo door opens
    The student vanishes

  55. Congrats Deniz. You make my heart warm. Year of the Dragon is the year im born in 1976.
    A lot of things have happened to me during the end of 2011. Nov the 21 something shifted in me, don´t know what or why but it dosen´t really matter. I´m still here and breathing is still happening and my heart still beat those funky beats so what else to do but smile(which happens on occasions) Big mind,Big Heart,Big universe,Big ? it´s all big to me. And shore you make it even bigger and so do i. Thank you Deniz:)

  56. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I bow to you my fellow human. The real test of how I feel from your letter above is in my heart – and the heart doesn’t lie. You have dropped everything – how powerful. I have been studying Buddism for quite a few years now and still find myself hanging on to something; If not christian than buddism or something else. You dropped all and set yourself free. How impowering is that? I do know all these great teachings are just signposts to show the way, but for a lot of us we get attached to the signposts – which is another attachment. What a great lesson from a humble, wise man. Thanks again.

  57. On this path we call Life, there are no bad things that happen. Only good things that take longer to understand. Enlightenment may be the goal, but the purpose of THIS life is to be mindfully in progress on the path. The path we’re following is ALWAYS the one we’re meant to follow. Every time, no exceptions! So just surrender to that wisdom, embrace it, and reach for the feeling of relief 🙂

  58. Dear Roshi,

    It’s so good to hear from you and how you are doing. It really makes me cry, because you are the one who thought me to look into my soul and feel whole again. No sitting meditation can remind me of that as good as being in your space.

    I really miss the Ameland retreat and the special energy which we all brought together there. I think no-one should judge another, although we constantly have opinions about persons and actions. And since all is one, we only see parts of ourselves reflected in the other. As long as we try to distance ourselves from the things we don’t like we still suffer in our hearts.

    It brought me a lot of insight being at Ameland the past three years. And certainly the last year brought a lot of insight on relationships and transparency.

    And I know that every ending has a new beginning. Thank you so much for being my teacher, which is a bond which goes beyond space and time. I found my true self. And I am still trying to settle into my life. Although we were not in Ameland this year, I could feel the energy and got al kinds of insights at night which are helping me to be clear on my path.

    You are in my heart and it’s great to hear how you are doing. I can relate to letting go of who you thought you were, and I can feel the freedom which it holds as well.

    Jacqueline Evers

  59. I have been a student of Buddhism for many years. Thought I follow a Tibetan path now, Big Mind came into my life at a time of great termoil and grief. We each have our own path to follow through the trials and tribulations of Samsara/Karma. I wish you the best in the your efforts to navigate your own Karma.

  60. I saw many hearts break at Ameland last January. Sometimes I think hearts should break and that devotion to one person is foolhardy. Individual vs. devotee: it’s another triangle. I do think I’d rather talk things over with a fallen priest than an aggrandizing one, and perhaps that is you now, Mr. Merzel. Thank you for your open letter.

  61. Dear Genpo – ISN’T THAT THE TRUTH! There is always a catch-22 when moving into our call as a teacher and contributing nothing less but the best of what we want to share. It is a double-edge sword.

    Remember James Ray`s situation? (by no means I am comparing your style to him). His past experience made me realize that no matter how enlighten we are or how much awareness we have, we cannot escape our humanity. We are still vulnerable to be intoxicated with this recognition, exposure, all these compliments we get, and everything else under the sun related to this. And that applies to me as well.

    As I write to you, I am in the process of leaping head first into what I think is my contribution and life path. After 25 years from my last business (I developed a fitness club from 15 members up to 2000 active ones in 10 years in an area labeled “a white elephant.” Well, LouLou here, was not intimidated a bit by the while elephant. She trusted this loud voice full of j0y inside of me saying “wow, Louise, this is going to be awesome and big, go for it and have fun” Yep, I had uncontrolled time management big fun. loll.. Maybe God is smiling at me right now! Today, I understand that I sold and left with the experience acquired during 10 years. So, no sweat anymore.

    Yes, long exposure to an environment of fame, recognition, media visibility, praises, meeting with highly exposed people, great guy like Bill Harris, and all those you met that I don`t know will increases our drive to wanting to create more, do more, expand more, and create more of everything. Without focusing first on what we know, and apply our practice that took us to this recognition. lollll God my heart is so much with you.

    The same situation just happened to Bob Proctor. He gave every little bits and pieces of himself and of what knows. Of course, he is highly financially prosper, however, the price he paid. Him too, he has done the Sweet Reflection. We excellent at what we do, and the worst in whipping ourselves.

    We demonstrate the very best of us radiating groudness, compassion and patience when we do less. I think that when we think it`s not enough, this is our queue to be satisfy with what is. It is so easy to find ourselves ourselves unable to take time for us. And when we do, we don`t enjoy it because the monkeys in our mind are having a big party at our expense.

    It is even worst for performing athlete to go out in business. I am a former competitive weightlifter and bodybuilder. Discipline, loyalty, focus, dedication, tenacity was the name of my game. Well now, I better chose Blisscipline over Discipline like I do, for the next think we know is that the ego begins to take the front seat a little too much, and drives the show. I remember feeling as if I was in a revolving door unable to get out near the end of those 10 years of my first business.

    After 10 years of wanting to excel in every little thing, which I did, so it drove me to do more, I ended up on my back and totally burned out. It was very successful and still successful today (without me, thank God)…get the picture? It took me two years to two years of meditations, inner reflection in silent retreat in monasteries to recover, and get real. The good news is that if we do it to ourselves, because we do, well we can undo it,right? Yep Sir! I am very aware of what you are going thru. Check this outj if I don`t get caught in the same drill this time too! I can already cath myself sliding into this “do, do, do, do…there is so much to do, do, do” lolll However….now, I see it, catch it from the corner of my eye, and step on the tube with my foot.

    What seems to call me with Transform Your Life By Design from within is to offer Pro Bono (at no charge) all my services to female teenager incarcerated. Some of them will be incarcerated for life. I want to offer 20% pro bono. I am so looking forward to begin this contribution. Quite frankly, I sensed that TYLBD was first created to support this fantastic adventure that will create so much joy in me.

    I am in meaningful discussions with a jail as I write to you. Also with The Almighty Omnipresent, The One….to get me there, pleazzzzz! lolll I took two classes at the jail that are required. Pass a background check with flying starzz. Then, I visited this jail. I saw these teenage girls. Again, some of them have a life sentence. Their environment outside the jail was my environment from the age of 8 until my early 20s. I have never been in jail, talk about Holy Protection considering what and who I was surrounded with during my teen years.

    When I saw them, they were mirrors of me. I gaze at their eyes, body language, manners….yep, little sweet and sour pests, confrontational, and arrogant too, let`s not forget all the ingredients. Yep, just like I was, carbon copy. I could not feel anything else but so much love, I was thinking “there ya go, Louise, this is exactly what you looked like and what was hidding behind your facade.” How can I not love them, and want to really laugh with love. Gosh, do I understand them. I will give them tough love though, with an occasional really loving gaze. I know too well their anger, temper tantrums, little know-all, obliviousness (pretend), rage, judgments, lies, manipulations, bip/bip/bip words, and the thickness of the wall in front of all of this. This façade that hides their need to be respected, not judge, understood, acknowledge, held, tell them that where where they are, and who they think they right now are is just a small slice of the pie. It iszzz not the whole picture, and why it is not. Expose them to this information and hear their thoughts, their opinions, they questions, their arguments, their oppositions, I mean anything. To convince them or change them is not my job or the objective. Exposing them to this information from many angle is my objective. Whether they agree or not, is irrelevant. for the seeds may need time to germinate, right? LOLLLL

    I can`t wait to see their lazor look as I will walk into a class. OMG…tomatoes and eggs on Louise! lolll I don`t mind, I`ve seen worst. They will feel my street energy. I already know it, and this is from where the bond will grow and be rooted in deep ground. Awesome. For them, I am a being of patience. Can you imagine, I will see all the gamit of faces I used to make to people, whispering, laughing at them, what else, pretending not to listen, however, there will be many, as many as they are birds in the sky that will be hanged to my lips. I love humor, and I will laugh with these little treasures.

    It is more than time to expose them to all the principles of expanded awareness contributed by people like you, Michael Beckwith, Debbie Ford, Bruce Lipton, Joe Dispenza, Bill Harris, and the beautiful music of Rickie B. Beckwith, EFT, meditation, yoga, Life Visioning (works of M.Beckwith). I studied and applied the work of these teachers, and the outcome is the creation of TYLBD. It completely transformed me into an empowered and forgiving version of me. These female teens, the are are ready to hear, and receive this information. You would be surprised how that kind of information interest them. That is what I keep repeating to the chaplains at the Jail. They are ready too to have a teacher like LouLou, and what interest them the most in me, is my spirituality, the fire of faith infused in TYLBD. Hey….my great buddy here, no other than Archangel Michael! lolll Seriously, I dedicated my house to him. What a great friend to have. I not only receive my spiritual education from you and the others I mentioned, but my extraordinary outcomes are a testimony of the end result of befriending and becoming these principles. Well for these little treasures in jail, I can only plant seeds and ask for their higher self to take it from there. If you are curious about the teachers I have been exposed to, please go to my website and look under “About Louise.”

    If you could only feel how much I am looking forward to begin presenting this information to them. You know, the real prison is inside of them, then another one is their environment, and finally this physical prison. They need to be awaken to that, and if their inner prison wall can become more porous, then they will begin the journey to reach the keys to unlock the other walls, and set them free regardless of how trapped they think they are. I guarantee it! lollll

    Well, this project is now in God`s hand. As Woody Allen said, 90% of outcome in life is showing up. Yours truly here, she did that “Big Time”. Call me “Louise Big Time Grogan. lolll And yes, they will be presented your teachings, of course, adapted to their age and I will make it fun too. I don`t want to pressure them with all this stuff. The body needs time to release this crappy conditioning.

    Genpo, thank you for this article. I made a copy of it, will frame it, and place it on my desk. Good reminder for Louise here…, and to be reminded of the reality of “no matter how enlightened I think I am, how much media visibility I get, how insightful and life-enhancing I think my teaching is, I am still human, vulnerable, and the Mighty Blessed Red Carpet can be pulled from my feet so fast leaving on my fanny, wondering, what the hec just happened here? Have a prayer or two to your spiritual guides for my project. Thank you Genpo, and I wish you well and peace. Louise

  62. I understand that you performed some regretable actions and I am glad that you are doing what you have to for yourself and others, that’s the best we can do.

    I want to say that if it wasn’t for your pointing out of the “Non-seeking mind” I may not be alive or sane today. In my crazed hyper-agency, I knew nothing of the freedom and release that you gave me. Things are far from on track but I have you to thank along with the discovery of Ken wilber, for what may have been the greatest turning point in my life and practice and I will be forever grateful to you.

    My best wishes, deepest love and whole-hearted gratitude to you Dennis.



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