Category Archives: Liturgy & Study

‘The Gateless Gate – The Tales of the Human Heart’ by Woo Young Tetsugen Yang

Which book on Zen (or Buddhism generally) has had the most impact on your life and practice and why did it particularly resonate with you? The Gateless Gate – The Tales of the Human Heart As Sensei often muses, for a tradition that prides itself in ‘without relying on letters and words, transmission outside scriptures, […]

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No creature ever falls short of its own completion. Wherever it stands it does not fail to cover the ground.

No creature ever falls short of its own completion.  Wherever it stands it does not fail to cover the ground.        Dogen Zenji I recently heard this quoted during a talk on sesshin at Crosby a few weeks ago.  It caught my attention immediately with its profound depth and wisdom.  I would like to share with […]

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Here, There, Everywhere and Nowhere. That’s where it’s at (or not….)

Sometimes in my talks I emphasise the no-self especially because most of us are more stuck in the concept of a solid, separate self than vice versa.  However, the idea of no self can be easily misconstrued.  Shakyamuni Buddha himself commented on this and he described two broad areas of possible misunderstanding.  On the one hand there are folk […]

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Practice and form

John Suigen Kennworthy and other members of SWZ are in the process of preparing a ‘form guide’ that will be available in the near future. The guide will be a template that can be used by all Stonewater Zen Sangha members and groups associated with SWZ such that we can, all together, maintain a uniformity and continuity of practice. Suigen asked me to write a short piece on form for the guide and it is copied out below. With the Crosby sesshin approaching I thought I would be a good time to post it here. And may I also take this chance to wish you well and I look forward to seeing you there.

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Flowers, candlelight and incense

I have lost count of the number of times I have heard the service dedication “in offering flowers candlelight and incense we dedicate its merits to…” without really thinking why we do this or what these mean. Recently, with my wife Jenny taking care of the altars in Liverpool, I’ve begun to take more notice of altars. So, when sensei asked me to lead a discussion – fired by ignorance and curiosity – I decided to find out and to use this as the theme. It’s opened a surprisingly rich vein and revealed a new aspect of practice for me. What follows is based on a brief piece of internet and book research rather than in depth knowledge and I am left with more questions than answers.

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