Podcasts

Be a Lamp unto Yourself

The Buddha told his followers they have to find wisdom the hard way. Koshin Chris Cain speaks at the Zen Center June 18, 2017.

Playfulness-Dogen, koans and Zen

Eko Jeff Kelley of Seattle Soto Zen talks about the possible virtues of playfulness in our practice.

The birth of the self

Though in Zen practice we learn to lose ourselves, being born as a new self is a vital part of our path. Koshin speaks at the Zen Center on May 21, 2017.

Spring sesshin: Koshin on Instructions to the Tenzo, day 1

Koshin Cain speaks at this year’s spring sesshin.

Spring sesshin: Hosen Instructions to the Tenzo, day 3

Jiun Hosen, Osho, speaks at this year’s spring sesshin.

Spring sesshin: Koshin on Instructions to the Tenzo, day 5

Koshin Cain speaks at this year’s spring sesshin.

Spring sesshin: Hosen on Effort

Jiun Hosen, Osho, speaks at this year’s spring sesshin.

Spring sesshin: Hosen on A Parent’s Heart

Jiun Hosen, Osho, speaks at this year’s spring sesshin.

Spring sesshin: Koshin on Zen Forms

Koshin Cain talks at this year’s spring sesshin.

Spring sesshin: Hosen on Kinhin

Jiun Hosen, Osho, talks at this year’s spring sesshin.

Retreating to Advance

On the Sunday before our Spring Retreat, Koshin talks about how in Zen we regularly beat a hasty retreat. It’s how we advance in this practice.

Hakuin’s Song of Zazen

Zen Master Hakuin wrote a song in praise of our fundamentally perfect nature.  Its message is as alive today as ever. This is a partial recording since our recorder wasn’t working for the first few minutes of the talk–recorded on April 9, 2017.

Unethical Zen

Zen’s flexibility is a strength and a weakness.  As practitioners it is wise to be mindful of the ways in which our path has been used to justify harm as well as to help. Koshin Chris Cain speaks at the Zen Center on March 19, 2017.

If you find these talks useful, please consider donating to the Zen Center:

Zen and Character

Zen and Character

Zen is not just about getting quiet.  It’s about maturing as a human being. Koshin Cain speaks at the Zen Center on March 12, 2017.

If you find these talks useful, please consider donating to the Zen Center:

Lessons in Aliveness (Wendy Lustbader)

This presentation explores ways to allow close proximity to dying to wake us up to the beauty of the world and to hasten our own growth and self-discovery. Such experiences aren’t easy, but they can be enlivening and life-changing if we let them.

If you find these talks useful, please consider donating to the Zen Center:

When sangha sucks

Sangha supports our practice in ways large and small.  But being in community is not always easy.  Working through difficulty, hurt, and misunderstanding in community is an important part of our practice.  Koshin Cain speaks at the Zen Center on February 26, 2017.

If you find these talks useful, please consider donating to the Zen Center:

The Path to Recovery (Carolyn Dougherty)

Carolyn is a Program Manager at Recovery Cafe in Seattle; she is inspired by the power of noticing the present moment and the dynamism of a shared vision.

If you find these talks useful, please consider donating to the Zen Center:

Forgiveness

The word “forgiveness” doesn’t show up much in Buddhist texts.  But the felt sense of forgiveness is one of the results of a mediation practice. Koshin Cain speaks at the Zen Center January 29, 2017.

Rinzai’s Humanity

Every January we honor the founder of our school, Rinzai Gigen. He has a reputation as a tough guy, but it’s the encouragement and care he had for his students that sets him apart.

Breathing and Renewal (Robert Litman)

Using Zen Sitting practices, Robert Litman teaches body awareness exercises that support the restoration of healthy breathing rhythms.

Sacred and Holy (Darryn Hewson)

Darryn Hewson speaks on his work in the interfaith community. It’s not enough, he says, to socialize with people of different faiths–in order to truly respect someone else’s beliefs, you must hold sacred what they hold sacred. January 8, 2017.

Starting Over

Zen practice goes deeper than New Year’s resolutions; deeper than just deciding to start again. In our way of practicing, the way we start again is by giving up everything–to give up all sorrow and to give up all joy. When we do this, we find the present moment: sparkling, cold and bright.

Koshin Cain speaks at the Zen Center on January 1, 2017.

A Zen Christmas

Jesus was born in a lowly place. Buddha, on the other hand, came from nobility, as a prince. But he had to leave that place and go into the wild. It was only there after he’d humbled himself and lost everything that he could be born anew.

Buddha Mind–what is it and where is mine? (Weston T. Borden)

Whenever you’re not thinking, just experiencing, that is your Buddha mind. However, once you think “I’m experiencing Buddha mind” you’re no longer experiencing it! “Mirror mind” is another way of expressing this concept, and illustrated by the story of the fifth and sixth patriarchs of Zen. Weston T. Borden speaks at the Zen Center on December 18, 2016.

Ryokan’s Full Cold Moon

Ryokan, whose name means “great fool, good and broad”, was empathetic to a fault, unafraid to show emotion or use emotion as a teaching. Koshin Cain speaks at the Zen Center on December 11, 2016.

Heart Sutra Talk 9

We’ve covered a lot of ground looking at the Heart Sutra–hopefully by now the sutra is more alive for you. The hard work we’ve been doing in sesshin is learning to lighten our load, to get a taste of the freedom to move; to just go along for the ride. Genko Kathy Blackman speaks at the fall sesshin.

Heart Sutra Talk 8

The last night of sesshin is sometimes a time when we lean forward into the next day and our preparations for going home. Try to plant firmly in this moment here and now. Genko Kathy Blackman speaks at the fall sesshin.

Heart Sutra Talk 7

What are we to make of the lines in the Heart Sutra saying “no eyes, no ears, no tongue..”? There’s a truth underneath us having things like tongues, ears and eyes. The Heart Sutra points to our human tendency for rigid categorization. Koshin Cain speaks at the fall sesshin,

Heart Sutra Talk 6

The striking of the han is a call to recommit to this practice; to notice change. Likewise, sesshin is a call to feel yourself change; to feel what it’s like to move with time. Koshin Cain speaks at the fall sesshin.

Heart Sutra talk 5

We see form more concretely than emptiness, but the Heart Sutra is telling us to delve deeper into form as well as emptiness. Form and emptiness are equivalent and completely intertwined. Genko Kathy Blackman speaks at the fall sesshin.

Heart Sutra Talk 4

It’s actually kind of good to get sideswiped by something that throws you off completely and you have to start from scratch. These are the real gifts we get from practice. Genko Kathy Blackman speaks at the fall sesshin,

Heart Sutra Talk 3

The heart of the Heart Sutra: form is emptiness, emptiness is form. Emptiness has a history of being an unsettling concept, especially in the West. Koshin Cain speaks at the fall sesshin,

Heart Sutra Talk 2

When I first went to Mount Baldy, my zazen got worse. Looking back on it, I feel like I was trying to contract my way into quiet. I want to encourage you to be strong and open in your posture; to sit large rather than small. Koshin Cain speaks at the fall sesshin.

Heart Sutra talk 1

According to Mahayana lore, the monks weren’t ready for the idea of emptiness in the Heart Sutra. So the Buddha gave the sutras to the Nagas, the sea serpents under the ocean, until people were ready to hear them. Genko Kathy Blackman speaks at our fall sesshin.

Misunderstood Mara

Mara was the demon who tried to get the Buddha to give up his seat under the Bodhi Tree, by hook, crook, or temptation. Was he demonic, or was he just trying to help the Buddha out? Koshin Cain speaks at the Zen Center December 4, 2016.

Larry Ward on “Harvest Time”

Dr. Peggy Rowe-Ward and Dr. Larry Ward, senior dharma teachers ordained by Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, are the leading proponents of Engaged Buddhism in the United States. Deeply inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, they have committed their lives to non-violent social change, healing, and transformation at all levels, from individuals & communities to the global scale. Peggy and Larry are co-authors of the book, Love’s Garden: A Guide to Mindful Relationships.

Stepping into Uncertainty

Koshin Cain speaks at the Zen Center the Sunday after the Presidential election on how our practice can help us appoach the future with tenderness, curiosity and strength.

Koshin Christopher Cain: Moving with Change

Berneta Walraven: Death Lessons

David Steel: Meditation and the Brain

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