Angel City Zen Center - Beginners Only Podcast
Brad Warner - Vibin’ Together (Prajna - Intuitive Wisdom)

Brad Warner - Vibin’ Together (Prajna - Intuitive Wisdom)

July 27, 2021

"There is this eternal wisdom which is unified, but it also has different facets. But you can recognize sometimes that it's working together, that everybody's ‘vibing together man,’ as we say when we’re hippies." - Brad Warner

By special request Brad takes a deep and penetrating look at that most elusively all pervasive of paramitas, prajna aka the eternal mirror, aka our innate intuitive wisdom. Reading from Dogen's Kokyo - The Eternal Mirror, we get a scattershot of Brad's favorite wisdom drops all about how to know the you that is more you than you could ever be. Why is it so hard to see what we already know? And is it possible to know when you know it? Is Dogen's Buddhism as fatalistic as it might sound, and do we actually have any control over our lives?? Find out here! 

Colin Young - Words are Hard! (What Am I Doing Here??)

Colin Young - Words are Hard! (What Am I Doing Here??)

July 20, 2021

"When I got here, I wanted Brad to tell me how to live my life, and he said to just sit, and offered some reading suggestions; Suzuki, Uchiyama, Kobun Chino, and Dogen. And then I wanted Suzuki Roshi, Kobun Chino Roshi, and Uchiyama Roshi to tell me how to live my life through their books. And they said to just sit and talked about Dogen. And then I wanted Dogen to tell me how to live my life. And he said to just sit. It was at this point that I started to notice a pattern...

And now I'm honestly curious and sincerely excited to see what tomorrow morning's sit will be like." - Colin Young

In a meta commentary on on his own personal journey, Colin walks us through the process of writing five drafts for one great talk with insightful comedic commentary and a knack for self inquisitiveness all along the way. What do we do when our life's narrative runs itself out and we realize we might not be so special after all (at least not in the ways we thought...)?? What do we say when words don't work in the ways we think they should?? And while we're at it, why was the pandemic (somewhat awkwardly) such a perfect place for practice??? And in this new land of internet Zen and Zoomdos, if we're not local should we sit with internet superstar sanghas like ACZC, or should we sit with whatever local group is nearby because that's just the right thing to do (spoiler alert, yes & yes! And what was the question again)?? Find out here!

Emily Eslami - One Rule to Rule Them All (The Three Pure Precepts)

Emily Eslami - One Rule to Rule Them All (The Three Pure Precepts)

July 13, 2021

“The relation between the precepts and the words of avowal is like a person who is always thankful, and is always able to say, “I’m sorry.” It is the bright side of things and the shadowy side of things.” - Kobun Chino

In the thrilling conclusion to her year long ever timely precept series, Emily brings us the one rule (ok, three rules, but also kind of one…) to rule them all, the Three Pure Precepts! As always, it sounds so simple but it’s the gateway to a lifetime and a universe of practice. Luckily Emily is here to guide us with her ever in depth, informative, and personal reckoning with the simple little truths that mean everything. Do we really have to follow the rules of society if we don’t agree with them? Can we actually know the great 'moral rule of the universe' with our humble human brains? And how are we supposed to 'save all beings' when there are so darn many of them (and more being born every day)!! Find out here! 

Dave Cuomo - Empty Innocent Space (Yogacara - The Storehouse Consciousness)

Dave Cuomo - Empty Innocent Space (Yogacara - The Storehouse Consciousness)

July 5, 2021

 

“The storehouse consciousness is the root of everything. If the whole universe is just your experience, then this is what it's born from. It’s the fountain of everything. Also it's empty and doesn't exist, so don't think it's a thing.” - Dave Cuomo

In part 2 of our ongoing Yogacara series, Dave brings us a mildly nerdy and deeply personal look at the Alaya Vijnana, the storehouse consciousness, the pure innocent empty space of possibility that all of reality is born from. Is it really possible to clean our karma and wake up to something new? Does a practice of no self leave room for us to become a better one?? How do we clean our room when the only world we know is a mess??? Find out here!

Brad Warner - After Darkness (The Zen of Living and Dying)

Brad Warner - After Darkness (The Zen of Living and Dying)

June 29, 2021

“Looking at life as I was experiencing it in this moment, moment by moment, I realized that the future is always an abstraction. And I don't know anything about it. Death might be something great for all I know. It might be the most wonderful thing in the world. So to live my life in terror of it makes no sense.

Every thought I have about death is just a thought. And it's one of my thoughts. And really, I'm not a person I would believe about something like that, because what do I know about death?” - Brad Warner

Brad gives us a Zen look at death and dying, including a highly entertaining (if non essential) detailed road map to one version of a Zen after life. Does it help to know where this whole life train is going? Does anyone know where this whole life train is going? Can anyone survive the ride to tell the tale?? Find out here!

Dave Cuomo - The Good Life (Renunciation)

Dave Cuomo - The Good Life (Renunciation)

June 22, 2021

"The world wants me to be happy. I think it needs me to be happy. Because it seems I can make people miserable when I'm not. Which is probably true for all of us..." - Dave Cuomo

Dave takes a look at what Buddhist renunciation means for us 21st century Westerners living lives far removed from the simple forest beggar life Buddha originally recommended. What actually makes us happy and what does it really mean to live "the good life"? Join us as Dave takes us on a journey through the weeds of want with stories of alms offering monkeys, poetry from the first Buddhist nuns, Dogen's monks questioning whether or not this whole monk thing is actually a good idea, Dave's own stories of dumpstered wealth lost and found, and finally Buddha's long lost bossom buddy Epicurus gives us his hot take on what really constitutes a life devoted to pleasure (hint: it's cheaper thank you think).

Brad Warner - When All the Doors Are Closed

Brad Warner - When All the Doors Are Closed

June 15, 2021

"Find to whom this cruel world appears and you will know why it appears so cruel... You are the maker of the world in which you live – you alone can change it, or unmake it." - Nisargadatta Maharaj

 

What can you do when the whole world feels like it's stacked against you? Brad brings us all the kind comforts and hard truths Zen has to offer on this ever timely and (if we're being honest) universally relatable coundrum. Do we secretly want bad things to happen to us? And is there a way to make it all better (or at least not make it any worse...)?? Let's find out...

Dave Cuomo - Buddha’s Baggage (Yogacara pt 1)

Dave Cuomo - Buddha’s Baggage (Yogacara pt 1)

June 8, 2021

“We don't know what the universe is made of at the root. All we know for certain is that the only thing we have to work with is our own experience.

Ultimately I can't blame anybody else for what I go through because I take it all in through my own filter. I only see what I am willing to see, and only do what I want to do on some level. So when they say the world is “mind only” or “experience only,” to me it's about taking responsibility for my own experience in the only place I’m able to turn to.” - Dave Cuomo  

By popular demand, Dave brings us a new series on Yogacara Buddhism, that simpler-then-it-sounds wealth of Buddhist theory that just might have underlined all of the elegant simplicity of Zen. In pt 1 we look into the background and context of the two purported founders of the movement, Asanga & Vasubandhu, and the high stakes (literally life & death!) world of philosophy & debate that shaped the school they created. Is the world really all in your mind? And what do you mean by mind? And can we ever escape our baggage?? Find out here!

Emily Eslami - Triple Treasure, Triple Treat! (The Three Refuges)

Emily Eslami - Triple Treasure, Triple Treat! (The Three Refuges)

June 1, 2021

“Everything reflects triple treasure. You reflect triple treasure, and questioning triple treasure reflects triple treasure. Not understanding what the heck I'm talking about is triple treasure. We're talking about coming home to ourselves, trusting ourselves, relying on ourselves.

And there's that tricky word. Self. What is self? Is it my memories? No. Is it my thoughts? Is it what I'm saying right now? No. Is it the clothes I'm wearing, this body that I’m in? No, not quite. Then what is it? What's left? That's not self, that's what we truly are. “ - Emily Eslami

Emily brings us a precept, a promise, and gift in her latest installment of her ever timely precept series with an in depth look at the three refuges. What are they (everything!), and what are they a refuge from (everything else??)? And what does it mean to take refuge in them? Find out here! 

Dave Cuomo - What Do You Want? (Love & Self Care)

Dave Cuomo - What Do You Want? (Love & Self Care)

May 24, 2021

“If there's a distinction in our minds between self care and doing good for other people, then we're missing the point of everything that we're doing on this planet. ” - Dave Cuomo

Dave brings us a Zen look at love and self care through encounters with the Bodhisattva of Compassion his(or)herself, Avalokiteshvara. Can this magical being really save us from danger and death? Is it compassionate to give people what they want? Does prayer actually work? And does smoking count as self care? Find out here!

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