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The feeling of great doubt

The fuel that drives the Zen adept on to...

Dharma Connect: Knicks Hope Playing in the Moment Helps

Phil Jackson hopes that being sitting still will help the New York Knicks improve their performance on the court. read more

Why can't we have smarter Zennists?

In contemporary Zen there seems to be a problem with what Zen teachers say as regards pre-awakening work (C., gongfu) and what they say with regard to post-awakening. In my own little ad hoc survey, beginners (the worst of the...

Happy Mind

Everyone wants happiness. There is no question that it is a paramount quest in life. The Journal of Positive Psychology just published a new study by Paulina Pchelin and Ryan T. Howel, “The hidden cost of value-seeking: People do not accurately forecast the economic benefits of experiential purchases.” Long title, huh? The conclusion they reached [...]

The Zen whip

Sometimes, I have to read a fair amount to material to do these blogs. It is great when you come across some new material that is really good. Of late I have been reading Jeffrey Broughton & Elise Watanabe’s new...

Join us at our new website:

We are pleased to announce the launch of, the new online home for the Shambhala Sun, Buddhadharma, and the activities of the Shambhala Sun Foundation. Taking its name from the Buddha’s metaphor for the fearless proclamation of the truth, Lion’s Roar brings together all the teachings and articles once found on the Shambhala Sun […]

Come Healing with Leonard Cohen

I first became interested in poetry around 3rd or 4th grade after I read e.e. cummings’ poem “in-just spring,” and I used to borrow books of poetry from the school and city libraries, but I didn’t actually own a book of poetry until years later. It was Selected Poems 1956–1968 by Leonard Cohen. I still [...]

EPISODE #5: “The Mandala Project”

This week, we conclude our three-part series on issues of diversity, privilege, and conflict in light of events in Ferguson, MO, with an introduction to the Mandala Project by its main architects: Rev. angel Kyodo Williams and Lama Rod Owens. They explain the still-in-the-works initiative and how it aims to help create cultures of welcoming.…


What most Zen Buddhist practitioners lack is focus. By focus I mean an inner commitment to awakening no matter what the cost to one’s presuppositions and vanity. We might further add, such practitioners are more interested in their vain opinions...

Watch this space

We have a big announcement coming tomorrow.

Expecting Realization

As many of you know, Dogen was a 13th Century Japanese Buddhist, the founder of Soto Zen. I am not a Zen Buddhist, yet I am. Just like I am a Tibetan Buddhist, but then I’m not.  But you don’t have to Zen to be familiar with his Shobogenzo, “Treasury of the Eye of the [...]

Alternative Nobels and Republics with a small r.

In Monday’s post I mentioned the wonderful Malala Yousafzai who last week became the youngest person (17) ever awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, but have you heard of the “Alternative Nobel”? This is also known as the Right Livelihood Award, established by a Swedish charity and presented annually in the Swedish Parliament. On September [...]

This Tree is For You

One of my first encounters with Tibetan Buddhism was a weekend program with a lovely lama from Ohio. She was wise and funny and relatable. It was spring, and she brought in a chocolate Easter bunny to put on the shrine. I liked the idea...Show More Summary

When I Leave For Work My Daughter Cries

When I finally closed my eyes for bed, after working an eleven-hour day, putting my children to sleep, and caring for my dogs, my mind filled with an image of my daughter from earlier that morning. Sitting on the dining room floor with her back against the wall, she looked up at me as I was leaving for work. Show More Summary

Pounded By the Dharma

The last week has found me back in the booth recording more Shambhala titles, and while I continue to enjoy the experience, last night I offhandedly described the process as being “pounded by the Dharma.” For days I have spent hoursShow More Summary

Just sitting is not ultimate.

Zen masters like Dahui/Ta-hui (1089–1163) didn’t put much stock in zazen. Unlike Dogen Zenji, Dahui didn’t absolutize zazen. The use of a particular practice such as zazen depended upon the degree of the students spiritual illness. As Zen master Hsu-yun...

The Birds, The Beasts And The Buddha

Going back nearly fourteen years ago I spent a few days in forested areas in Jamui and Munger districts in Bihar. Less than 6% of Bihar is now forested and even much of that is degraded. Nonetheless, this gave me at least some feel for what life must have been like for monks and other ascetics during the Buddha’s time. Show More Summary

EPISODE #4: “Building Diversity-Mature Sanghas”

This week, our look at issues of diversity, privilege, and conflict in light of events in Ferguson, MO, continues with Buddhist teacher, author, mentor, and community activist Mushim Patricia Ikeda. She joins us for an extended conversation about a range of issues, including the qualities practitioners will need to cultivate if they want to respond…

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