Dharma Talks

Dharma talk after A2Z Sangha's Private Study Week at Tassajara

Bringing Suzuki Roshi's Dharma talk on the Bodhisattva's 4 Methods of Guidance and the chapter "Stand Up by the Ground" fr/ his Not Always So. Seems I can't get away from making connections to "Identity Action" now! (The "his talk" referenced in the beginning is the Dec. 3, 1969 talk; in link below of the talk of this series.)

Bodhisattva's 4th Method of Guidance : Identity Action / Cooperation (Note: Most of talk is here though end was cut off.)

Participants then broke into small groups to share "What are 4 elements of cooperation?" Next, they showed us an example of cooperation. --- Inventive & fun!

Practice Suggestion for everyone (Required for PSW peeps -- Who also must bring a hard-copy/write-up of this to Tassajara to be presented Sunday):

  • Define each Bodhisattva's 4 Methods of Guidance in your own words. 
  • Take one (1) of these aspects and tell us how you're going to apply it at your work setting this week. (For PSW, during your work practice at Tassajara )

Bodhisattva's 3rd Method of Guidance: Beneficial Action

Participants then broke into small groups to do deep listening and recording as each shared:

  • "How do you know 'respect'"? and
  • "How do you know 'care/caring'"?

We also then shared 2 of each to the larger group. People were encouraged to also share on A2Z G+ site.

Guided meditation on Metta/Kindness and Karuna/Compassion (part of 2nd B4MG)

Bodhisattva's 2nd Method of Guidance: Kind Speech

Compassionate Connection Exercise (which starts around 16.5 minutes into talk; including phrasing prompts):

Phrases used in exercise:  (Use "May" or "Let" as it works for you. For example, for me, sometimes "Let" helps me to feel that it's more doable/possible)


  • May I be filled with loving-kindness.                   
  • May I be well.                                  
  • May I be peaceful & at ease.
  • Let me be happy all the days of my life.


  • May I be free of pain and sorrow.
  • May I hold my pain with mercy and compassion.
  • Let me forgive myself for past mistakes.
  • May I love myself just as I am.
  • May I be kind and patient with myself and others.
  • Let me be safe and protected all the days of my life.
  • May I be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

"The Bodhisattva's 4 Methods of Guidance" B4MG)Series begins with Dana / Generosity. (Q&A starts 44:40; Practice Suggestion starts 57:30 minutes)

Readings for this series:

------- ***** ------- ***** ------

Guest Teacher, Kim Allen. Thought another take on the topic would be useful --- & also from the Insight tradition. 7/9/18

Inspired by 2018 Awake Group. 7/2/18

Ni Su Thuan Tue's Dharma talk at SFZC Tassajara. 6/16/18

"Best Effort in Each Moment Forever"

Dharma talk at SFZC City Center to end the 3-day sesshin to end the CC Spring 2018 Practice Period. 6/9/18

Dharma talk at SFZC City Center as part of 3-day sesshin to end the Spring 2018 Practice Period. 6/7/18

Dharma talk at SFZC City Center as part of the Spring 2018 Practice Period on Wise Effort. 5/30/18

Dharma talk at SFZC City Center as part of the Spring 2018 Practice Period on Wise Effort. 5/16/18

Guest Teachers Lama Karma Yeshe Chodron & Lama Karma Zopa Jigme share how practices from their 3-year cloister retreat can be brought into everyday life. 5/12/18

"Wise Effort is the Wholehearted Way"

Dharma talk at SFZC City Center at 1-day of the Spring 2018 Practice Period on Wise Effort. 5/5/18 (Actual talk starts around 11 minutes)

Dharma talks by Rev. Tenzen David Zimmerman & Rev. Keiryū Liên Shutt  as Co-Teachers of SFZC City Center Spring 2018 Practice Period on Wise Effort. 5/2/18

"Who is the Bodhisattva of Compassion Here?"

Do we have to "understand" to be compassionate? What do "wild geese" have to do with compassion?

Great discussion! And, 'cause it went a bit longer than usual, Dharma talk and Q&A are separated here for your convenience. DO listen to Q&A as it's sometimes the best part of any Dharma talk

"What the F*@#! is Enlightenment?" Part 2

The talk at A2Z Meditation Group on 2/26 was intentionally not recorded. As with "What the F*@#! is Buddha," just talking about enlightenment is just as foolish. Trying to find it is equally so! Still, I tried to set up some conditions for us to meet it. Therefore, while not recorded, here are the two texts we used. Thanks to the sources (amazing that both are found online!) May you meet it also.

The 2 questions posed at group are (based on Merle Kodo Boyd juxtaposition of the first 2-lines & the second 2-lines of Chiyono's poem) :

  1. How have you strived to "keeping (your) bucket together"?
  2. How has that coping/karmic habitual tendency(ies) been useful with practice?"

Basically, identifying our coping mechanisms (patterns) and then seeing/reflecting on how it/they have impacted our practice ("bad" and/or "good").

And, I'd proposed that perhaps even Chiyono's story/koan of the bucket falling apart may be a "false koan" (ie: not so useful) because it sets us up to think "enlightenment" means we'll get "new," and "improved," of course, buckets! 

"What The F*#&! Is Buddha" Talk 3:   "Why It's So Hard to be Enlightened!"

"What The F*#&! Is Buddha" Talk 2:   Allergy Buddha  As the WTFiB Series unfolds..... It's in the Q&A.... Leading us to "Enlightenment" in WTFiB 3rd talk...

"What The F*#&! Is Buddha" Talk 1 in this series was a short talk with a Shosan so was not recorded. (Enactment instead of  just talking about it!)

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Life as a Jigsaw Puzzle.  ---  How we interact with and "do" a jigsaw puzzle can show our patterns. (Talk which inspired the "What the F*#&! is Buddha" series)

"What is Practice?"  Talk at A2Z Meditation Group to start out 2018


"Skillful Action"  Guest Teachers Chimyo Atkinson & Rev. Tenku Ruff when they visited us 11/6/17

"Wise Livelihood"--  Part of our Eightfold Path series.  Access to Zen (A2Z) Meditation Group.


Wise/Appropriate Speech: Sexual Abuse / #MeToo"

To tell the truth is to become beautiful, to begin to love yourself, value yourself. And that's political in its most profound way.   --- June Jordan

Tonight, as a sangha, we'll create a space to engage with this heart-wrenching and layered subject and lived experiences.  Here are links to the 2 main texts for tonight:

The Common Elements of Oppression  (This chapter from Suzanne Pharr's book Homophobia: A Weapon of Sexism. Now free to read on her website! Thank you, SP!)

Lupita Nyong'o: Speaking Out About Harvey Weinstein from NY Times

Read to yourself or listen to our reading on these below. Powerful to hear our voices:

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"A Bird Sings A Song" -- Dharma Talk At SFZC City Center on 11/25/17, Thanksgiving weekend. ---Commentary on "Branching Streams Flow on in the Dark" -- How we've been conditioned on what is "valuable" suffering to pay attention to vs. all beings' sufferings. For instance, around the mythology of "Thanksgiving" and on women's roles. #MeToo

Talk with interactions and exercise for participants at A2Z Monday night practice/sitting group. Part of our year-long studies of the 4 Noble Truths.

Dharma talk at A2Z Practice Group on Sept. 11, at our new location at Port in downtown Oakland!

"Loving Interaction with the World: Practicing in Challenging Times"   

After Charlottesville, a Dharma talk and discussion on the "how" we can respond to hatred and bigotry. The "how" can help us to know the "when."

Dharma talk at A2Z Practice Group August 14, 2017.   "Skillful/Appropriate Thinking/Intention: The'Waze' of Practice" 

Dharma talk at A2Z practice group July 24, 2017. The 8fold Path Begins! --- "Right/Wise/Skillful View: A Map for Practice"

"The Fourth Noble Truth Overview" by guest speaker, Rev. Nyozan Eric Shutt.   June 12  A2Z/Awake Practice Group

Dharma talk at Green Gulch Farm. Family Program day on June 4th.

"The 3rd Noble Truth: Precepts of Not-Misusing Sexuality & Not Lying"    A2Z Practice Group, May 8, 2017

"Are You Ready?" --- Dharma talk at Clear Water Zendo of Vallejo Zen Center. May 6, 2017. Thank you to their teacher, Mary Mocine, for the invitation.

Some think this talk gives one "permission" to binge watch!   (NOTE: Includes fictional, yet graphic, descriptions of a difficult situation in a prison from a Netflix show.)

"The Boat of 'Me'" --- Dharma talk at SFZC's City Center on April 22, 2017, Earth Day

"'Get Out' & the 2nd Noble Truth" -- April 10, 2017 Dharma talk at A2Z/Awake Sitting Group in our year-long study of The 4 Noble Truths

"Frankenstein: Opening to the 1st Noble Truth of Dukkha" ---Dharma talk at A2Z Sitting Group (Appropriate still for the topic!)

"4th Noble Truth & The Truth of Dukkha" -- 2/13/17Dharma talk at A2Z to begin our exploration of The 4 Noble Truths

"How a Bodhisattva Might Response in Difficult Conditions" ---- On the 2018 Inauguration in the U.S. & the protests locally and nationally; including Women's March


"I Now Fully Avow" (or "'It's the Snow that Makes the Mountain'") --- Last of the "Wind of the Family House" series. A2Z Dharma talk on December 19, 2016