From the Kwan Um School of Zen

Saturday 13 Dec - Practice with Ken Kessel JDPSN

During this week's Zen practice, we are fortunate to be able to host Ken Kessel JDPSN.  Ken is guiding teacher of the New Haven Zen Center, and a senior teacher ( at the Chogye International Zen Center in New York City. He has been practicing since 1975, and received Inka, or full teaching authorization, in 1996.  Ken is also famous for his zen poetry.  He will meet the sangha and offer interviews (individual, optional) during practice.  Practice will include sitting meditation and chanting.

Here's a video of Ken answering a question about Karma:

The Doorway

Last Week's Visit from Barry Briggs

We were fortunate to host a visit from Barry Briggs JDPSN on Saturday 29 November.  Barry's title in the Kwan Um School of Zen is Ji Do Poep Sa Nim, which implies that he has (after many years of practice) completed formal training and received teaching authorization, or Inka.  If you missed his visit, Barry's blog and website, Ox Herding, is well worth a visit!  Barry travels a lot teaching the dharma these days, and will be leading a retreat at the zen center in nearby New York in February.  Stay tuned for details.

Here's a talk from Barry on the benefits of Zen training:

Where Zen practice begins

Everything in this world – the sun, the moon, the stars, mountain, rivers, and trees – everything is constantly moving. But there is one thing that never moves. It never comes or goes. It is never born and it never dies. What is this not-moving thing? Can you tell me? If you find that, you will find your true self and attain universal substance. But understanding cannot help you find that point. Even one hundred Ph.D.’s will not show you your true nature...

What to do about noise

From Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, by Zen Master Seung Sahn:

One day a student at the Cambridge Zen Center said to Seung Sahn Soen-sa, "I am disturbed by noise when I sit Zen. What can I do about this?"

Soen-sa said, "What color is this rug?"


"Is it quiet or noisy?"


"Who makes it quiet?"

The student shrugged his shoulders.

Soen-sa said, "You do.  Noisy and quiet are made by your thinking. If you think something is noisy, it is noisy; if you think something is quiet, it is quiet. Noisy is not noisy, quiet is not quiet. True quiet is neither quiet nor noisy. If you listen to the traffic with a clear mind, without any concepts, it is not noisy, it is only what it is. Noisy and quiet are opposites. The Absolute is only like this."

There were a few moments of silence. Then Soen-sa said, "What is the opposite of blue?"

The student said, "I don't know."

Soen-sa said, "Blue is blue. White is white. This is the truth."