Sunday, January 01, 2017


If my records and memory are correct, the first of my Zen talks appeared online in December 2005. Before that I had given live discourses and lectures for at least seventeen years, but none was published.

Now, shortly after I present a teisho, I post it on Zen Reflections. I am humbled to realize that is visited frequently by individuals all over the world.

One of the principal messages of Zen—usually attributed to Bodhidharma—is no dependence on words and letters. However, it recently occurred to me that this blog site could possibly be enlivened by a few casual words. Just don’t depend on them.

That is to say, before a posting of a talk, if I offered some introductory lines that might veer off in other but related directions, they could be thought provoking. Maybe an occasional note on how a talk was conceived, presented, and received in the sangha.

The last time the sangha met, I spoke about snow, quoting Layman Pang who once said, “These are good snowflakes. They don’t fall anywhere else.”

Pang was in the world of his time, but not of it. And he treasured nature.

Wallace Stevens was an American poet, who lived from 1879 to 1955. Like Pang, he was interested in an individual’s interaction with the outside world, contrasting the monotony of everyday life with the ever-changing vitality of nature.

I don’t know if Stevens was a Zen Buddhist, but much of his writings exhibit a sense of awakened Zen shown by no other Westerner.

See, especially Stevens’ “The Snowman,” and “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

So this is a posting of a more-personal sort. Comments will be appreciated.

-- Kan-za