Alphabetical Listing of Talks & Essays

Delusions and the Transforming of Them


Entering the Dream of All Beings

The House Style (Part 2 of 3)

Joyfully Alive (Part 3 of 3)

Koans as Art

Our Marvelous Error (Part 1 of 3)

Refuge in the Storm: On Taking the Precepts

Some Thoughts on Zen

Stepping into the Beautiful Project: Uncertainty, Grace, and Being Human


Published Writing

"Koans for Troubled Times" in Buddhadharma (Spring 2008)

"The Zen Debate" in Buddhadharma (Summer 2005)

"This Floating World" in Shambhala Sun (March 2005)

"Dokusan" in Buddhadharma (Winter 2004)

"Zen Sand: The Book of Capping Phrases for Koan Practice" Review in Buddhadharma (Fall 2003)

"Bright Shards: Recollecting Marija Gimbutas" in From the Realm of the Ancestors: An Anthology in Honor of Marija Gimbutas, Joan Marler, editor (KIT, 1997)

"Body of Radiant Knots: Healing as Remembering" in Being Bodies: Buddhist Women on the Paradox of Embodiment, Lenore Friedman & Susan Moon, eds. (Shambhala, 1997)









Enlightenment (1997)
"So what is your enlightenment? it is the place you came from when you were born and it is the place you will return when you die. It is home. The particular wave that is you rises and falls for such a brief moment from that great ocean of essential nature, and that wave is entirely ocean, is home itself. As children the taste of salt water still lingers in our mouths, but as we grow older the memory of ocean recedes, leaving a feeling of longing, of inexplicable exile, in its wake."

Koans as Art (1998)
"These paintings gave me the light of my childhood, which I knew in my cells but wasn’t aware of. So I had the world, and my own life, in a way I didn’t before, because I became conscious of something, and could articulate something, which had until then been immensely important but unconscious. And this is how koans can work: They illuminate the essential nature we already are but lose touch with. They too can give us the world, and our own lives, in ways we didn’t have them before."

Entering the Dream of All Beings (1998)
"Between the world of form and the world of emptiness there is another world, the world of the dreaming of all things. It is the place we are never alone, where all beings interpenetrate and transform each other, where life dreams itself into existence moment by moment, over and over again."

Delusions and the Transforming of Them (1998)
"If the prerequisite for happiness and sanity is to have this ideal life, all of us are doomed, because no one, not a single one of us, does...This is exactly the kind of delusion our practice is about letting go of. Not so we can come into some kind of perfect life, but so we can come into relationship with what is actually true about life...This is human life. Exactly this. The vastness throws up redwoods and skyscrapers and killer whales and human beings who are exactly like this, and it is not a mistake."

Stepping into the Beautiful Project: Uncertainty, Grace, and Being Human (2004)
Baccalaureate Address, Colorado College
"What does it mean to be alive in a universe that’s like a vast sea, and everything we know and experience is no more than the sunlit foam on the surface of the waves of that sea? And how is it that that sunlit foam—the world as we experience it—is so terribly lovely and so awesomely difficult, all at the same time?"



Koans for Troubled Times (2008)
Originally published in Buddhadharma

This Floating World (2005)
Originally published in Shambhala Sun
"The image of a human life as a small skiff on the wide waters of the world has been around as long as people have had boats, and the thought that life is a dream is no news flash, either. But what does it mean that there is something happy, maybe even beautiful or consoling, in thinking so?"

Some Thoughts on Zen (2003)
"One of the things I love most about zen is that it accepts that life is simultaneously beautiful and difficult, and it asks us not to turn away from either. It suggests that it is helpful in this matter of being alive in a beautiful and difficult world to foster an attitude of warmth and curiosity; this allows us to live with a more open heart and mind, and to notice what happens when we do."

The next three essays were a series looking at our place within zen tradition, and how that tradition is changing. They were originally published in the Dharma Rag, the newsletter of Springs Mountain Sangha in Colorado.

Our Marvelous Error (with apologies to Antonio Machado) (2002)
"Of course I recognize that what we're doing is a mistake, just as a more traditionalist approach would be a different mistake. Again, it's not that one way is better than another, but that, for me, this is the way with which I feel the deepest affinity, and so it is the mistake I choose."

The House Style (2003)
"It is from a deep exploration of these three currents—that something we recognize across time and space; the parts of our received tradition we understand to be conditioned and find enduringly useful, or beautiful; and our native expressions of Zen, both from the western tradition and in our own practices now—that we can help create a Zen of this time and place."

Joyfully Alive (2003)
"Sometimes we change something because it isn’t working...But sometimes the tradition itself is changing, outside anyone's control or intentions, into something else it wants to be. Nowhere is this clearer than in the way we work with koans."

Refuge in the Storm: On Taking the Precepts (1998)
"Deciding to participate in a ceremony of taking refuge in the bodhisattva way is a deeply personal matter: It’s a request that rises from the heart, usually to acknowledge the sense of coming home one has found in the practice, and the desire to live a life that is beneficial to oneself and others, a life of greater kindness."


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