October 16, 2021
"No matter what you do or think, or how deluded you are, the truth of the universe is still exactly as it is. So whether you notice it or not doesn't change anything. If you're having a crappy day and you, and you don't notice it, that's still the truth of the universe." - Brad Warner
Brad returns from his wayward travels with an original fresh and previously unreleased Dogen Shobogenzo translation (rendition?), taking on the classic Yui Butsu Yo Butsu (Buddha Alone Together with Buddha). Can we ever notice how enlightened we are? Does it matter if we ever notice how enlightened we are?? And what do they mean that we're already enlightened, when sometimes (ok, much of the time) we might just not be feeling it??? Find out here.
And warning! Due to time constraints Brad wasn't able to read us the whole chapter, so be sure to check out and subscribe to Brad's own Hardcore Zen Podcast for a full reading and commentary on this piece and so much more. Also up now on all your favorite podcast platforms.
October 8, 2021
“It's not about the chanting. It's not about what we're saying. It's about the community. It's about listening to each other.” - Leslie Mundy
In a very sweet and insightful story hour, our own Leslie Mundy takes the hot seat to regale us with the tale of what she’s doing and why she’s here. From mind altering days in the ‘60s, to the wild world of koan interviews, to our own ACZC Zoomdo, Leslie spins us stories within stories of learning how to sit still in a world that never seems able to for all that long.
October 1, 2021
“We didn’t evolve to see reality, we evolved to survive. If we had evolved to see reality we would probably just appear as timeless bits of quantum foam. But that wouldn’t be very helpful for trying to feed yourself or make babies…" - Dave Cuomo
In the latest installment of his Yogacara series, Dave takes on the double headed monster, the double edged sword, of Manas - the self consciousness. According to DT Suzuki, It’s the thing that keeps us captive, and the only thing that can set us free. Buddhism says we have no self. Our senses tell us otherwise. Why? What is that self, how did it get there, and do we need it? What’s the difference between healthy self conception and the hindrance of self conceit? And can we ever get to know the sweet taste of fresh air if we’re stuck driving around seeing the world through the gauges of a submarine? Find out here!
September 21, 2021
“It’s been hard to accept that my life didn't go exactly how I thought it should. That is a humbling thing to experience. And to know that your time is finite…
I still grieve some of the things that I don't have, but I'm way more able to see beyond them as a result of this practice. And I can be grateful for it. And I can see that my weirdo life has value. But I'm not really the judge of that. That's not up to me. That's bigger than me.” - Sara Campbell
Sara takes us on an intimate personal journey through Genjo Koan, Dogen’s classic poetic piece about a small nonexistent self trying to make its way in a wide world that turns out to be bigger than it could hope to understand. Who are we if we don’t make the conventional life milestones we’d sought to define ourselves by? And how do we let go enough to dive fully into a life that might not be going the way we’d planned? Find out here!
September 14, 2021
“People of scant knowledge do not think that buddhas have dignified behavior in the toilet... This is not learning of the Buddha’s truth. Remember, purity and impurity is exemplified by blood dripping from a human being. At one time it is warm, at another time it is disgusting. The buddhas have toilets, and this we should remember.” - Dogen
In an ever topical and timely discussion, Emily reads us Dogen’s (in)famous chapters on the perfect practice of washing and going to the bathroom in a talk on purity and impurity, the clean and the unclean, and the bright bathroom mirror that reflects what we truly are as we wash, brush our teeth, and yes, poop the great poop of enlightenment. Do enlightened beings fart like the rest of us? (You betcha!) How exactly does one bathe in enlightenment? (With ease!) And did Yunmen really say that Buddha was a dried s**t stick? (Again, you betcha). Find out here!
September 7, 2021
“Not knowing what the crap we’re doing is the delight of being human.” - Dave Cuomo
Dave brings us a Zen pep talk for hard times with a reading of Dogen’s Ryugen or, The Moaning of Dragons Through Withered Trees, one of Zen’s most poetic and enthusiastic exhortations for giving up and giving in to a universe that just wants to sing it’s song through you. What is there to rely on in a world of emptiness (everything!) And can we still have faith in ourselves in a practice of non self (what’s stopping you)? Find out here!
August 31, 2021
"I spent my whole life growing up thinking I was so unique and individual. And then I do this Buddhist practice for awhile, and come to the very astonishing realization that I'm not unique at all. None of us are. We're so much alike it’s comical." - Brad Warner
Brad dives deep on the distinction between our little self and the great big Self as Dogen and Zen do their best to describe them. What do we do with this little self if we want to realize the big one? Do we have a soul? Are we really It? And what other It is there? And why is it so dang hard to see It for what It is?? Find out here!
August 24, 2021
"If anyone says that I was ever enlightened, they're lying. If anyone says that I teach anyone, they're lying." - Gautama Buddha
Dave does his best to shed a little clarity on the classically confusing situation of working with teachers in Zen. What is there to teach when Buddha himself swore there is no dharma and no beings to teach? And given that, how should we Zen students work with our teachers?? And why does Zen suspiciously seem to maintain a rigid hierarchy and organization while telling us constantly that no such thing is necessary and no one should trust it?? Dave brings us answers straight from the mouths of the old masters themselves. But who did they think they were talking to and if we believe them, why would we listen to them?? Find out here.
August 17, 2021
“I read ‘Hardcore Zen’ and it said, ‘Don't listen to me, you have to try this out for yourself.’ And I was in the Navy, so I was really sick of people telling me what to do. And I was really not interested in God telling me what to do. So that really hit the sweet spot.” - Corey Warner
Sangha favorite Corey Warner tells us the story of what he’s doing and why he’s here. From cavorting with demons in Kansas to trying to find a quiet place to sit zazen on a submarine, Corey treats us to a relatably winding tale of trying to find a stable port to set your zafu.
August 10, 2021
"Ideally a talk about the six senses would just be practicing being together and experiencing our sensory experiences and asking, ‘what are those?’ So if at any point you space out and get lost in whatever it is you're hearing, seeing, or thinking, that is a perfect way to listen to this talk.” - Dave Cuomo
Dave continues our dive into Yogacara Buddhism with a deep look at the six senses (all puns intended). It is one of the simplest and most bafflingly stupid ideas ever called a teaching, that we that we see, hear, taste, touch, & think. So why is it so impossible to wrap our minds around what that actually means, and why did the Heart Sutra say that no such thing ever happens? Is it true that we only see what we want, and if so why can’t we see something better?? Find out here!