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On Trusting Nothing

Anything we put our trust in, anyone or anything outside ourself, and even our self, will eventually at some point really let us down. Nothing can live up to the expectation we put on the self or others, or things. So the best we can do with trust is, trust in nothing.  And that’s not so difficult, because it’s not so difficult to trust nothing. Just flip the emphasis on…

Exploring the Great Masters

Every successor in the lineage of Zen is a Buddha/Patriarch.  That is the beauty of the Zen lineage, I would say.  There are beauties to every lineage, but the Zen lineage really truly acknowledges that every ancestor, or patriarch as we call it, is a Buddha, and every Buddha is a patriarch or an ancestor.  In other words, there are no patriarchs apart from Buddha, and each has the power…

Seeing absolute equality and appreciating the differences

In the beginning of our practice we may have a glimpse of absolute equality.  Dai-kensho is when we truly realize that there is nothing to realize.  This is the true realization of absolute equality, that there’s no one higher or below us, and we’re not greater or lesser than anybody else.  That’s very important, because otherwise we keep elevating others and making others into some kind of god-like creature, guru,…

Looking for one’s true self and being true to one’s self

[Excerpted from a video conference, January 10, 2021]  We have this saying in Zen, ‘to find, or discover, our true self.’ Lately, for the last year or two, I’ve been saying it’s not so much about finding our true self as being true to our self. To me that’s authenticity, that’s integrity, that’s honesty, that’s truthfulness.  And to be true to the situation — and I know I have not…

How do you stop suffering?

[By Genpo Roshi, excerpted from a live video conference, November 22, 2020]

 . . . If there’s a koan — “How do you stop suffering?” — of course many of us can pass the koan, we just be suffering.  That’s passing it, but between that and doing it completely, it’s the difference between a kensho and dai-kensho.  You know, I sometimes feel the only thing that’s going to take care of this for many people is dai-kensho.  And I come back to our roots, which is what the great masters say.  There’s all this fiddling around with the leaves and the branches of the tree, but until we get to the root of the problem — uprooting, that is the dai-kensho, the great opening — until we do that we’re just going to keep fiddling around with the branches and the leaves.

 Sometimes it feels almost like — too much.  Because I know what it takes to have dai-kensho. . . .

Speaking with the Tao

[Genpo Roshi has been speaking about the importance of taking good care of one’s health and physical well-being] Student: That’s great advice, because sometimes I’ve learned that the body is not you; it’s just a vehicle, so why pay so much attention to it? Genpo Roshi: I would just change one word: it’s not just a vehicle; it is the vehicle. It’s not just a vehicle. It’s the only vehicle…

On Idealizing and Being Disappointed in a Teacher

(Genpo Roshi recorded during the “Masters & Mensches II” Retreat, August 4, 2020)      Let me say something about what you brought up, about idealizing, because I do feel it is something we work through. We do do that, we project on our teachers a certain greatness and a certain way of being, and when they don’t live up to that of course we’re disappointed. Now how we take,…

Koryu Roshi, Koans, and Being One with Our Life

(Genpo Roshi recorded during the “Masters & Mensches” Retreat, June 9, 2020) I think it is really important that we realize we are a part of a lineage. I don’t really know or understand how it all works. I don’t think anybody does, but there’s something very real, and you hear it. You heard it in Genno Roshi’s comments; you hear it in others, like Chris sensei’s comment. There’s something…

Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo

Renowned Colombian guitarist/music producer and longtime student of Genpo Roshi, Santiago Jimenez, has created a unique rendition of Roshi’s chanting the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo. By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.Learn more Load video Always unblock YouTube

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