zen e-course // day 1 – zazen

Written by arnokroner on . Posted in studies, zen

Welcome to our E-Course!

This e-course will weave itself from the strands of core practices that create the Zen Center mandala, or circle of life, and your input through the E-Group, or by emailing Roshi directly with your comments or questions.

Key Requirement: Do zazen every day, sitting from five minutes to an hour daily.

Alert: You may not be able to keep up with the course. Feel free to go at your own pace!

E-Course DAY 1 – Monday, October 4, 2010

Lesson: Zazen is the core practice of Zen practitioners. In explaining the word zazen, Maezumi Roshi said that the Chinese word za is a combination of person and ground. The character for ground can also mean scale or balance. In the character za, there are two people, one on each arm of the scale. For our purposes today, we can consider that on one side of the scale is the true self and, on the other side, your conditioned ego-centered self. A scale is always moving, responding to whatever is present. Za means that life is balancing or harmonizing. It is not a static state, but a non-stop, continuous responding (rather than reacting) to whatever is arising.

Practice for today: Imagine yourself as the scale: the true self on one side, your conditioned, ego-centered self on the other side. Notice how the scale is tipping from moment to moment. What do you notice about the movement of the conditioned, ego-centered self with the true self, and vice versa?

Hello everyone

I guess someone has to post first! I felt inspired by the subject to make a picture so here it is: http://www.mogawa.net/zcla/zazen_scale.jpg)

My intention was to translate a perception that my true self (still working on getting to it actually) is a constant. The ego centered activity comes and goes and moves the balance but doesn’t affect the true self beside masking it or distorting it or revealing it.

Curious about your contributions!

In gassho


studies, tibetan language, zen e-group.

Written by arnokroner on . Posted in studies, tibetan language, zen

For  3 weeks roshi has been offering reflection material in the form of assignments geared toward deepening our practice.

The intention is to post my assignments here and also create a piece that will incorporate and mirror the practice of all in this e-sangha. The course is  a valuable source of practice. Nothing has changed and everything has changed through this practice booster. The course takes 6 weeks. When taken seriously it represents quite a lot of work, internally and writing it out with the right words which is challenging because english is rather limited for the spiritual business. For me so far it has been an experience of confirmation and clarification, clearing up a lot of dead wood and uncovering new openings.

The path of study is supercharged at this point. I also have started learning Tibetan and trying to find a teacher. It’s not a very conscious choice I have to admit and  by today’s standards not a profitable use of time. I often hear that no one speaks Tibetan and that it’s useless. I don’t learn Tibetan to get anywhere. I just learn to learn. It’s important of abandoning any hope of fruition. It leads everywhere. In all ten directions.

I learn Tibetan because I have noticed that there are a lot of phenomena that we have difficulty expressing in English. Especially for the dharma. I find English quite limited and materialistic. It’s a very practical and useful language but it stops there. French or German or Spanish the same. So we need to enrich our language if we want to enrich our culture.

Looking back I seem to have ‘practice boosters’ about every five years, I wonder what type of cycle that would be. The wheel turning every five years? Every five years there is a dharma bigger opening in the fabric of time and space. Every time it is a source of transformation and deepening and further understanding of the self. Don’t stop.




Written by arnokroner on . Posted in general

Here is something new. This is everyday dharma reporting from this cushion. I’m starting this blog while in fall practice somewhere on the west coast of the united states. Life situations today include communicating and connecting with a sangha at large in ways that are specific to our age. The internet is one.

I was encouraged and inspired recently to reflect on how the dharma adapts to the western world, to our culture and customs. The dharma is compatible with every existing religion and it could enrich many existing spiritual traditions in the west. Since the arrival of the first teachers in the last centuries many aspects of our life have been changed (consciously or inconsciously) by the buddhist practice. Psychotherapy, healing arts, yoga, meditation etc. People just don’t put the name on it but the source is pretty obvious.

In Tibet there’s no word for buddhist. The translation is something like ‘internalist’, someone who deals with the inside. That’s pretty good and I tend to avoid using the word Buddhist myself in daily life. Either I’m in the company of other buddhists and we’re connected pretty well or I’m in the company of non-buddhists and stereotypes abound. Most people still think meditation is the annihilation  of thoughts. This would be nihilistic. And meditation is not the only facet of practice. Much education is necessary in the modern world.

Which is why I have started modern-dharma.net



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