Dharma Talks at Jikoji, 2012 through 2013
Note: For prior years, click on Dharma Talks in 2011 and Prior Years.
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For brief biographies of the speakers please click on Biographies
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DharmaTalks listed in chronological order, most recent first (except within a series of talks)
Peter Szydlowski, The Key Point of Buddhism, December 8 2013.
Peter reads one of Suzuki Roshi's key points, on communication, and leads its discussion.
Peter Szydlowski, Closing Remarks, December 8 2013.
Peter, teacher/leader for Rohatsu sesshin, communicates on the ends of silence.
Shoho Michael Newhall, Ordinary Mind is the Way, December 1 2013.
Michael, Resident Teacher at Jikoji, characterizes ordinary mind in terms of zazen, and of willingness to meet what is right in front of you.
Joshin Carolyn Atkinson (Eiko Joshin), The Four Noble Truths, and Forgiving, November 24 2013.
Carolyn, Founding Teacher of Everyday Dharma Zen Center in Santa Cruz, reviews Buddha's fundamental Truths in relation to forgiving, with contributions from her students.
Kokyo Henkel, Mirror, Metaphor for Mind, November 17 2013.
Kokyo, Head Teacher at Santa Cruz Zen Center, characterizes the nature of mind in terms of the metaphor of a mirror.
Beata Chapman, , Work and Practice, November 10 2013.
Beata, a zen priest with Russian River Sangha, discusses the relations between zen practice and work in our competitive marketplaces.
Cornelia Junfu Shonkwiler, Practice and Goals, November 3 2013.
Cornelia, Teacher at Middle Way Zen in San Jose, characterizes practice without goals, and leads a discussion of compassion and related attributes relative to practice.
Tokuho Cliff Isberg, Mindfulness, Presence, and the Jhanas, October 27 2013.
Cliff, a monk and administrator for Jikoji, relates several sutras to our practice of zazen, "just sitting".
Val Szymanski's Dharma Talks at Denko-e Sesshin October 2013
October 8-13 — Denko-e Sesshin ("Gathering of Light Sesshin"),
was led this year by Val Szymanski, guiding teacher for
Bamboo in the Wind, with contributions from Michael Newhall, guiding teacher of Jikoji.
This year, its topic was the "Paramitas", or six perfections, led by Val.
Shoho Michael Newhall, Master Ma is Unwell, October 6 2013.
Michael, Resident Teacher at Jikoji, describes and comments on several famous koans, starting with "Master Ma is Unwell".
Gerow Reece, Gratitude, September 29 2013.
Gerow, an ex-resident at Jikoji now teaching the art of tea in Santa Cruz, leads a discussion of Gratitude as a fundamental aspect of experience and interdependence.
donnalynn seiko chase, Middle Way, September 22 2013.
donnalynn, founder of "Soul Expression" and priest ordained by Angie Boissevain Sensei, interprets and leads her discussion of the Middle Way in Buddhism.
Shoho Michael Newhall, Immediacy, September 15 2013.
Michael, resident teacher at Jikoji, leads a discussion of direct and immediate experience of activity in the present moment.
Sensei Dean Williams, Everyday Practice, September 8 2013.
Dean, guiding teacher of the Jijuyu-ji Zen Sangha of Cleveland, talks about zen practice and everyday life.
Misha Shungen Merrill, Buddha's Beginnings, September 1 2013.
Misha, primary teacher for Zen Heart Sangha in Menlo Park, imagines Siddhartha's experiences and describes Buddha's teachings as applied to the present moment.
Doug Jacobsen, Thirsting Desire, 10 minutes, August 25 2013.
Doug, a Jikoji resident and monk, talks about directing our desires for the benefit of all, ultimately decrystalizing self. (Due to a technical problem only this segment of his talk was recorded.)
Shoho Michael Newhall, Mind, Undisturbed, 10 minutes, August 18 2013.
Mike uses selected Dzogen teaching guides to focus on those "short moments, many moments" in our sitting meditation. (Due to a technical problem only this segment of his talk was recorded.)
Angie Boissevain, Sesshin Practice, and Kobun, August 11 2013.
Angie, on the 2nd day of Floating Zendo's sesshin at Jikoji, talks about practice objectives, and about Kobun's nature.
Note that this an advance but noisier recording of her talk that will be posted later on Floating Zendo's Dharma Talks, Audio.
Val Szymanski, Mindfulness, August 4 2013.
Val describes practices of mindfulness, starting from popular secular trends but emphasizing historical teachings from the Buddha and ancient masters.
Commemoration, Autobiographical Readings, July 28 2013.
The Sangha reads selections from the autobiography of Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi, the founder of Jikoji, on this 11th anniversary of his accidental death.
Doug Jacobson, No Stealing, July 21 2013.
Doug examines the 2nd precept in relationship to our entitlements and responsibilities, providing guidelines for practice.
Christopher Kolon, The Impossibility of Zazen, July 14 2013.
Chris contrasts instructions for zazen with actual experience in practice, including its complexity and simplicity. Ends with extensive discussion.
Shoho Michael Newhall, Practice Within, July 7 2013.
Mike describes his recent experience in returning to Jikoji's practice, using the metaphor of a boat.
Shoho Kerstin Kuebast, Ordinary Mind is the Way, June 30 2013.
Shoho leads and guides a discussion of "Ordinary Mind is the Way", the Path, and related koans.
Shoho Michael Newhall, Encouraging Practice, June 28 2013.
Mike informally encourages practice during a zazenkai for residents, starting from Dogen's Genjo Koan and ending in discussions.
Meido Barbara Anderson, Yes, No, Maybe, June 23 2013.
Meido, teacher for O-An Zendo and a visiting Staff Resident at Jikoji, describes the affects and alternatives of optimism and pessimism in practice.
Meido Barbara Anderson, Roshin: Parental Mind, June 16 2013.
Meido, teacher for O-An Zendo and a visiting Staff Resident at Jikoji, talks and leads a discussion about Father's day, and practice.
Ryan Brandenburg, Between the Relative and the Absolute: What is Kindness?, June 9 2013.
Ryan, director of Jikoji 1994 - 2004, learned and teaches about the role of kindness within practice in zen and native American traditions.
Koan Gary Janka, Service and the Dharma, June 2 2013.
Kaon, a teacher in Maezumi Roshi's lineage who also serves as a prison chaplain, describes how service in prisons and elsewhere establishes and supports practice.
Gonzalo Brito, Holding Beliefs Lightly, May 26 2013.
Gonzalo, a Chilean clinical psychologist and a guest at Jikoji, invites us to look deeply at how clinging to viewpoints can limit spiritual practice, and describes ways to come back to direct experience.
Peter Szydlowski, Zendo without Walls, May 19 2013.
Peter, with Charles Ewing and Ingrid Mednis, portray practicing complete presence inside and outside the zendo, also embracing nature.
Val Szymanski, 2 Aspects of Mother, May 12 2013.
On Mother's Day Val, guiding teacher for Bamboo in the Wind, relates Dharma and mothers.
Shinshu Roberts, Violence and Practice, May 5 2013.
Shinshu, co-founder/teacher of Ocean Gate Zen Center in Capitola, CA, on practicing with ongoing suffering and problems, about an hour overall.
Doug Jacobson, Ritual and Zazen, April 28 2013.
Doug, Jikoji's recent Shuso, addresses the role and significance of ritual in our practice. Includes extended discussion, about an hour overall.
Discussion of Perspectives, About Jikoji, April 21 2013.
Peter Szydlowski initiates an open discussion, and Judy Cosgrove asks what Jikoji is; first for residents, then with perspectives from regular guests, and first-time visitors.
Gonzalo Brito, Cultivating the Mind, April 14 2013.
Gonzalo, a guest at Jikoji and a Chilean clinical psychologist exploring the interrelation of meditation and psychology, develops and explores metaphors between gardening and meditation.
Tanjo-e Sesshin - led by Ian Forsberg, April 1-7, 2013
(Regretfully, we note that some talks were not recorded.)
This sesshin, one of the four major sesshins Jikoji hosts annually, was also the end of the Winter 2013 Ango Period
Diamond Sutra Study - Weekly Discussions and Readings, led by Shuso Doug Jacobson, February - March 2013;
(Regretfully, we note that some discussions were not recorded.)
March 24, Continuing Readings and Discussions
March 31, Concluding Readings and Discussion
Jill Kaplan, priest at Zen Heart Sangha, Suffering and Compassion, March 24 2013.
Jill talks about our suffering and compassion in our lives and practice, in terms of attention, intention and embodiment.
donnalynn chase, Compassion, March 17 2013.
donnalynn manifests and discusses compassion in terms of Lojong teachings about training the mind.
Misha Merril, Self and Selflessness, March 10 2013.
Misha, head teacher for Zen Heart Sangha, talks about how our views influence our ability to be generous within our modern society.
John Lowney, Case 4, Book of Serenity, March 3 2013.
John talks about koan practice and leads a discussion of Case 4.
Nehan-e Sesshin - led by Angie Boissevai February 2013
(Regretfully, we note that most talks were not recorded.)
This sesshin, one of the four major sesshins Jikoji hosts annually, was also the beginning of the Winter 2013 Ango Period
Shoho Michael Newhall, Equanimity, February 3 2013.
Mike describes our practice of coming home, and being home, in the center of our being, sitting, and living.
Doug Jacobson, Appeasement of Obsessions, January 27 2013.
Doug talks about our desires and delusions, and how to embrace and take care of their consequences.
Karin Sigmund, Lucid Dreaming and Dream Yoga, January 20 2013.
From the perspectives of Zen, Western psychology and Tibetan Buddhism, Karin summarizes and leads a discussion on Lucid Dreaming.
Meido Barbara Anderson's series of dharma talks over four weeks.
Meido portrays basic guiding "mantras" for the integration of Zen practice with daily living.
Steve Tracy, The Disappearance of Molly, Dec. 16 2012.
Steve reads his story, with rich overtones of many aspects of Buddhism and monastic Christianity.
Peter Szydlowski and Michael Newhall, After Rohatsu, December 9 2012.
Peter and Mike summarize Rohatsu's middle way, here and now, balancing opposites like special and non-special.
Peter Szydlowski and Michael Newhall, Rohatsu's Conclusion, December 8 2012.
Peter and Mike lead this final discussion of Rohatsu, nothing special, just sitting, convening, silent practice in presence.
John Lowney, “Long Thread Of Practice - Dozo, Dozo”, Dec. 2 2012 (talk did not record).
John is a long time sangha member, amateur calligrapher and shusso for the fall 1988 ango period.
Peter Szydlowski, Zendo Without Walls, November 25 2012.
Peter sets the stage for a day of mostly outside meditation and nature appreciation, with Charles Ewing and Ingrid Mednis.
Kokyo Henkel, Karma, November 18 2012.
Kokyo, head teacher for Santa Cruz Zen Center, addresses free will, aspiration, and intentions expressed through body, speech and mind.
Shoho Michael Newhall, Practice, November 11 2012.
Michael leads a warm, involving discussion of practice during Zazen that highlights experiences from most of those present.
Tokuho Cliff Isberg, Basic Principles, November 4 2012.
Cliff talks about principles in Milarepa's "Song of the Six Perfections" and Dogen's "The Point of Zazen".
Alan Stacy, Buddhist tangents in Jeffers' poetry, October 28 2012.
Alan, who volunteers as a docent at Tor House in Carmel, the former home of the poet Robinson Jeffers,
speaks on Buddhist tangents in Jeffers' poetry.
Val Szymanski's Dharma Talks at Denko-e Sesshin October 2012
- January 10 Ango Discussion among Angie, Michael Newhall, Doug Jacobson and and others, introducing Ango. Doug serves as
Shoso during Ango. 28 minutes
- January 10 after tea, A Conversation about Practice, moderated and introduced by Angie.
October 16-21 — Denko-e Sesshin ("Gathering of Light Sesshin"), a co-sesshin including Jikoji and Bamboo in the Wind,
was co-led this year by Michael Newhall and Val Szymanski, guiding teacher for
Bamboo in the Wind.
This year, its topic was "A Study of the Five Ranks,"
traditional Soto teachings of Dongshan Lianghe (Tozan Ryokai) on the integration of the particular and universal,
and its application to practice and daily life, led by Val.
Jorge Morales, Since being Shuso, October 14 2012.
Jorge gave a "progress report" on the 25 years since he lived at Jikoji three years, was ordained as a priest by Kobun in 1987, and served as shuso for a practice period.
Doug Jacobson, Self, Being, Life and Soul, October 7 2012.
Doug, a tunnel engineer, monk and Jikoji resident, investigates one's nature in meditation and awakening.
Peter Szydlowski, Acceptance, September 30 2012.
Peter, an avid hiker, traveler, and "grampa" of five, reflects on Kobun's teachings, acceptance, and on Ellen Warburton's many influences on Jikoji.
Renshin Barbara and Taizen Dale Verkuilen, Awakenings, September 23 2012.
The Verkuilens, authors of "Tending the Fire: An introspective Guide to Zen Awakenings", describe
their integral approach to psychotherapy within Zen practice.
Kathy Oliver, Perception, September 9 2012.
Kathy, Jikoji Resident, mom and grandmother, illuminates the role of perception in practice as well as the effects of common misperceptions.
Donnalynn Chase, Equanimity, September 16 2012.
Equanimity supports our ability to see things as they really are, and act accordingly.
Meido Barbara Anderson, Pause, August 26 2012.
Meido dramatically characterizes our alternatives for Being within conscious pauses.
Shoho Michael Newhall, Ordination, August 19 2012.
Mike ordains Judy Cosgrove with ordination materials given to Judy as a kind of legacy from Mary Kate Spenser. Mike also explains the ordination ceremony in the process. Judy then describes its significance to her, with many other comments from those present.
Misha Merril, on Trips and Journeys, August 5 2012.
Misha, head teacher for Zen Heart Sangha, teaches from her perspectives during a recent journey with over 100 students.
Vanja Palmers' Dharma Talks at Kobun Memorial Sesshin, July 2012
Prior Talks, 2012
Meido Barbara Anderson, on Teachers, and Teachings, July 22 2012.
Meido discusses our zen teaching and teacher traditions, focussing on how we regard our teachers and what we might reasonably expect.
Eugene Bush, on 3 features of faith, July 15 2012.
Gene discusses faith and practice in terms of each of the Triple Treasures, and our attention.
Beata Chapman, on Death, and Pain, July 8 2012.
July 8 - Beata, a zen priest with Russian River Sangha, discusses practice through pain, with the recent deaths of teachers and pets.
Val Syzmanski, on Practice, July 1 2012.
Val, founding teacher of Bamboo in the Wind Sangha, describes tools and approaches to strengthen practice.
Shoho Michael Newhall, on The Dharma of the King of Dharma, June 24 2012.
Michael, the Resident Teacher at Jikoji, uses a famous koan to illuminate human problems and Buddhist wisdom and ethics.
Toku Ho Cliff Isberg, on Ideals and Zazen, June 17 2012.
Cliff talks about Good, Truth, Peace and Beauty in the context of Zazen and Shikantaza.
Doug Jacobson, on Views and Organizations, June 10, 2012
Doug, a resident priest at Jikoji, starts from the sesshin below and addresses moods, views, and organizations.
Kokyo Henkel at Genzo-e Sesshin,
Only a Buddha and a Buddha,
May 30-June 3, 2012
Genzo-e talks below are listed in chronological order, which is the reverse of the order in which they were given by Kokyo Henkel, Head Teacher at Santa Cruz Zen Center.
Most talks are about an hour in duration, depending on the discussions and questions, except for Kokyo's beautiful and highly recommended concluding talk of about 45 minutes that is listed first:
Talks by Kokyo during the Sandokai Sesshin a year ago, June 1-5, 2011, are posted way below in their chronological order.
Val Syzmanski, on Two Truths, May 20 2012.
Val contrasts the relative and absolute truths of our realities, using sources from the Buddha's teachings and from Dogen.
Karin Sigmund, on Archetypes, and Compassion, May 13 2012.
On this Mother's day, Karin talks about the major female archetypes in Buddhism, of wisdom and compassion, in our practice and in our lives.
Peter Szydlowski, on Conversations with Trees, May 6 2012.
Concluding a weekend sesshin on Just Sitting, and Walking, with Awareness, Peter discusses mindfulness and communication with nature.
Shoho Mike Newhall, on Thanks, I'm Sorry, and I Love You, on April 29 2012.
Michael talks about right communication and right speech within Jikoji, Buddhism, and practice.
- June 3, Recap, and Final Comments
- June 2, Afternoon Talk and Discussion
- June 2, Morning Dharma Talk
- June 1, Afternoon Talk and Discussion
- June 1, Morning Dharma Talk
- May 31, Afternoon Talk and Discussion, (first few minutes were not recorded)
- May 31, Morning Dharma Talk
- May 30, Introduction
Toku Ho Cliff Isberg, on Mindfulness, toward Shikantaza, April 22 2012.
Cliff reviews teachings on thinking, breathing, and Mindfulness, toward Shikantaza.
Mieko Barbara Anderson, on This Circle of Wonder, April 15 2012.
Barbara talks about this moment, gassho, meetings, and sitting zazen.
Ian Hakuryu Forsberg Sensei,
Tanjo-e Sesshin Talks, Hongzhi's Silent Illumination,
April 2-8, 2012
Tanjo-e talks below are listed in chronological order, which is the reverse of the order in which they were given by Ian Semsei.
Most talks are thirty minutes to an hour in duration, depending on the discussions and questions.
Steve Tracey, on Fools, and Ryokan, April 1 2012.
On this April fools day, Steve talks about one of Japan's greatest poets, a monk who named himself "great fool". Steve also recites and discusses some of Ryokan's poetry.
Shoho Kerstin Kuebast, on On Getting Up, and the Last Breath, March 25 2012.
Shoho Kerstin Kuebast, Santa Cruz Zen Center, talks with the sangha about how our nature, of love, compassion, wisdom, and luminous clarity,
is reflected on waking, and in our last breath.
Kokyo Henkel, on Self, Mind and Body, March 18 2012.
Kokyo Henkel, Head Teacher at Santa Cruz Zen Center, talks about Self in Buddhism, and how it relates to our changing minds and bodies.
Abijah Crabtree, on Practice Enlightenment, March 4 2012.
Abijah, a frequent Resident at Jikoji, discusses his sense of stillness and boundlessness in Zazen, and how it informs his daily life and practice. Q/A and discussions follow his talk.
Hozan Alan Senauke, on Awakening, Feb. 26 2012.
Hozan Alan Senauke,
Vice Abbot of the Berekely Zen Center, talks briefly about his work as
a social activist merging Buddhist practice and teaching with social work in Nagpur India and Burma.
His talk is about awakening and practice in Dogen's tradition, with enlightenment as a way of living.
Karin Sigmund, on Dogen's Instructions to the Cook, February 19 2012.
Karin, a resident and frequent Tenzo (cook) for Jikoji sesshins, discusses the spiritual and poetic instructions from Dogen (13th century) for the practice of preparing food in monasteries.
Peter Shireson, on The Elephant in the Room, February 12 2012.
Peter Shireson, lay teacher, zen priest, and practice leader at Empty Nest Zendo in the Sierra Foothills, addresses what to do when nothing you can do will do.
Angie Boissevain's Nihan-e Sesshin Talks, February 3-10, 2012
- April 8, Conclusion
- April 7, Discussion: Purpose, Style, Habiits
- April 6, Mind, Dharma, Death, and Discussion
- April 5, Many Directions, Seeds, and Indra's Net
- April 4 2012 Why Are We Here?
- Sesshin's first day April 3 2012 The Clear Circle of Brightness
The talks below are listed in chronological order, which is the reverse of the order in which they were given by Angie Boissevain, Roshi.
Nevertheless, for a newcomer to sesshins, the reverse order may be easier to appreciate, understand and enjoy.
Most talks except the closing remarks are forty minutes to an hour in duration, depending on the discussions and questions.
- Closing of Nihan-e Sesshin, February 10 2012, These closing remarks, while only about five minutes and somewhat shrouded by noise from the stove and passing traffic,
carry the spirit of sesshin, and our effort in sesshin, into our daily lives and our refuges.
- Last Full Day, February 9 2012, talks about purpose and meaning of our practice in sesshins.
- Fifth Day, Mindfulness and Wholehearted Involvement, February 8 2012
- Fourth Day, Evolving Sesshin, and Practice, February 7 2012
- Psychic Pain, February 6 2012, addresses the invisible but still very difficult psychic issues in sitting.
- Second day, and Sunday Dharma Talk, February 5 2012, addresses issues in sitting zazen, and in Sesshins.
- Discussion of Pain in Zazen, and Sesshins, February 5 2012
- Sesshin's First Full Day, February 4 2012
- Introduction to Nihan-e Sesshin, February 3 2012
Prior Sunday Talks, and Prior Sesshins
Misha Shungen Merrill, on Aloha: Coordination of Mind and Heart, January 29 2012.
Misha, a zen teacher in the Menlo Park and La Honda area, on Aloha Spirit, and Zen Practice
Val Syzmanski, on Relinquishing, January 22 2012.
Val, a frequent guest teacher at Jikoji, describes the Buddhist concept of relinquishing, and leads an annual ceremony for relinquishment.
Doug Jacobson, on This Field of Merit, January 15, 2012
Doug, a resident priest at Jikoji, discusses merit in zen practice and in the Sutras. THe talk concludes with a discussion of merit.
Dan Zigmond, on the Middle Way
Dan describes the Buddha's first teaching of the Middle Way, including the Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, and including questions, discussions and interpretations.
Doug Jacobson, on The Hsinhsinming, on New Years Day, 2012
Doug briefly introduces this ancient teaching from the third Patriarch in China. The Hsinhsinming is then read in its entirety.
Dharma Talks in 2011 and Prior Years
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