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"If everything you know isn't working, what do you have left? What you don't know. When you stop and allow space for what you don't know to happen, something else can happen." - Dave Cuomo Dave delves into Dogen's famous "It" (Inmo) to see if it can offer us a way to pick ourselves up when the world knocks us down. But what is "it??" Some say the u…
 
“…other people’s mistakes, the mistakes you can’t stop talking about, your mistakes, the mistakes you think are worse than everyone else’s, look around you, we’re all in the mud making those same mistakes. But at least we’re not alone. At least we’re all stuck in the mud together.” - Emily Eslami Emily takes us on a journey through everyone's least…
 
"The past and the future exist within you, as much now as ever. This is it. We are a manifestation of eternity. It’s all part of one process that is literally endless because it never began. And that is time" - Brad Warner Brad reads us some of Dogen’s most timeless New Year’s salutations and discusses the meaning of time.…
 
“With this and that I tried to keep the bucket togetherThen the bottom fell out.Where water does not collect,The moon does not dwell”- Mugai Nyodai In an ever timely topic, Dave brings us a Zen look at patience. What is patience and is that what we're actually learning here? Where are do we find ourselves when whatever we're so urgently waiting for…
 
“It’s the emptiness we’re afraid of. Our life is not made up of magic, it’s made up of these empty moments, full moments, thats all we have; the pain we’re experiencing, the boredom, the fleeting happiness, that’s the moment. But we owe it to this great brightness not to run away, to see these moments as they really are. Because if nothing is speci…
 
“There are worse ways and better ways to understand what reality is. I find that the Buddhist way of explaining it tallies better with my own experience than any other explanation I’ve come across. But I will also say that when I first came across the Buddhist explanation for reality, I didn’t know what the hell to make of it.” - Brad Warner In a v…
 
“Waking life is more similar to a dream than you might think. When you find yourself in a dream you realize that you’re in a world mostly of your own creation. This world is like that but in a bigger more cosmic way. Rather than being an individual personal creation, it’s the creation of itself.” - Brad Warner Brad reads to us from the man, the leg…
 
"Understanding the true specialness of everything is a rare and wonderful thing. Apparently it takes a lot of practice to realize "just this" for what it really is.And for all of us who aren't there yet, we have words and teachers there to join us in our delusions long enough to help us figure it out, even while they know there's nothing they can d…
 
“On one layer Dogen is saying, the full teaching of the Buddha is don’t do wrong.But then if you read it another way, even the notion that you could do harm is a mistake…” - Brad Warner Brad Warner talks us through the Bodhidharma precepts, a self described subtle and mysterious take on the precepts where there are no rules, no one to break them, n…
 
"In our ordinary world, we learn to play by the rules, to follow the recipe, to get it right, while in sacred space, cooking (and life) can be more than just following recipes. Beyond rote and chore - doing what you've been told - is the freedom to realize the way to cook, letting the ingredients come forward to awaken and nourish, letting yourself…
 
“Language will always fail us… We believe we’re speaking the same language but we’re using different English to English dictionaries. The only way to tell the truth is to acknowledge that our truth is not completely true.” - Emily Eslami Emily brings us a full exploration of the fourth precept, No Lying. Sounds simple, but it turns out before we ca…
 
It’s like a guardian angel of doubt. Where by the grace of god, I would have this spark, this wonderful beautiful doubt of, maybe im wrong. Maybe im not right about this after all…" - Erik Andersen In a delightfully madcap affair, Erik challenges all those who say that Zen is difficult or enigmatic with a talk on the big question, “How hard is zen?…
 
“Zazen isn't something I do. The zazen exists prior to me and I allow it to be me for a certain amount of time. Considering it that way can make the zazen easier. If it’s something im trying to do, I often fail at it…” - Brad Warner An off the cuff talk blossoms into one of the sweetest little bursts of pure zazen poetry we've been lucky enough to …
 
"I lack therefore I want.I get what I want and I want more.I get what I want and it didn’t make me happier, so I’m going to push it away.This is why we sit. We're not advocating for celibacy or abstinence, We're advocating for awareness;for looking very carefully at yourself and your actions at all times." - Emily Eslami In the latest installment o…
 
"When we are very, very quiet, sometimes we can perceive the entire symphony of life as a whole. ...even while we only experience only one note at a time, we can know for certain that the whole of the symphony exists." - Brad Warner Brad unveils a brand new chapter from the brand new book he's been working on all about the intersection of non duali…
 
"If you want to know why Zen survived, light the incense, do the sit, and listen. It's what the koans describe, what Dogen tried to explain. There's nothing that could go away, nothing to defend..." - Dave Cuomo Dave brings us the epic tale of Zen's golden age, when the great masters we know and love from the koans could enlighten you with a single…
 
“I feel like the right books and the right person always came at the right time. There's been a seamless way of following the practice where I’m not sure which one is leading the other.” - Wilcox Gwynne In a warm and generous telling, former ACZC resident Wilcox shares the story of what they were doing and why they were here. From a quaker upbringi…
 
"Every time you try to hurt or gain advantage over somebody else, you're only hurting yourself. It's as instant as punching yourself in the face. The problem is that most people never figure that out. We're so dense, we put a bunch of walls around ourselves that enable us to ignore that. But one of the things of zen practice is that those walls sta…
 
"Please remember this “no stealing” precept. It is the ultimate recognition that you have nothing to lose. Even if you, your whole body, is stolen by somebody, your whole mind by somebody, you have not lost anything."- Kobun Chino In our ongoing in depth precept series, Emily takes on the second grave precept - No Stealing. By which we mean, is it …
 
"I don't have to beat myself up over making a mistake. I just have to realize that the sense of thinking 'Oh my god, that thing I did...' is really just the desire to not do that anymore." - Brad Warner Brad shares some readings he's been working with for his next book about toilets and Dogen's "Being Time," while the sangha wants to know how Dogen…
 
“Get to know your own heart. It isn’t permanent or impermanent. It isn’t good or bad. It is clear and perfect.” - Shitou Dave returns to pickup our storyline to find that almost as soon as Zen had coalesced itself into one cohesive school of Buddhism, Shitou & Mazu come along and split into two separate streams that will run next to each other for …
 
“All the rules & commandments out there are trying to anticipate a situation. But right action, acting in the moment of an actual situation, can only happen in the moment of doing.” - Emily Eslami In her ongoing deep dive into the precepts, Emily takes on precept number one - No Killing! Which sounds simple, until she starts walking us through an h…
 
"Ungan said, “The state of begging the Eye is itself the Eye, is it not?” This is a sentence which blinks the Eye. It is the vivid shattering of the Eye. Ungan is saying that the Eye begs the Eye, water draws water, mountains line up with mountains; we go among alien beings, and we live among our own kind." - Dogen Brad Warner dives into the weird …
 
"The freedom, or liberation, she’s talking about is one that all of us inherently possess, and one that only we can grant to our selves. And it’s also a freedom that no one could ever take away from you no matter what they do..." - Dave Cuomo The thrilling conclusion to our two part series on the Vimalakirti sutra! Dave continues the story with the…
 
In this extended two part podcast, Dave brings us a thorough cliff notes reading of the Vimalakirti Sutra! An epic story of right and wrong complete with miracles and magic, bodhisattvas breaking all the rules, benevolent aliens, devils disguised as gods, snarky gender bending goddesses, and through it all Buddha finally answering the question of w…
 
In an lightly amusing and deeply enlightening talk, Erik takes us on a very deep dive into a very short story as he gives us a close reading of Prajnatara’s classic three sentence tale of a very poor practice. Along the way we discuss the Zen shortcut to to truly mindful breathing, how to properly speed read the scriptures (hey look, there they go …
 
In the long awaited premier to Emily's new in depth series on the precepts, she takes us on a wild ride through 2500 years of making and breaking the rules, as we whittle an unwieldy set of hundreds of vows down to the familiar 16 that we Zennies know and love today. Join us as we find Buddha laying down the law about the proper relationship one sh…
 
Emily brings us Dogen at his most poignant and poetic as he gives us a rousing pep talk for practice, complete with inspiring stories and exhortations on giving up everything except for all of the bounty you already possess in every moment. Fame and profit? Who needs it. The body? No big deal! Its the endless path of existential ease, and Dogen and…
 
Brad brings us one of his favorite and too often neglected Dogen pieces, "Buddhas Alone with Buddhas" in which Dogen gets downright lucid, warm, and (gasp!) easily intelligible about the great realization you could never expect, but certainly won't regret. Comparing Dogen to some of his favorite Advaita Vedanta writers, Brad turns to a practical an…
 
Dave opens up his own inquiry into the precepts with a deep look at the sounds of silence that ultimately animate everything we do. Dragon's moan, persimmon's speak, and a snake loses its head in a free wheeling talk filled with poetry that reads like koans, koans that read like poetry, and to top it all off Dave throws in some personal stories of …
 
Brad tries to answer the question of why a non dual philosophical school like Zen is so obsessively focused on something as mundane as ethics and rules instead of sticking to the psychedelic philosophy of oneness we all love so much. We first get a reading Dogen's examination of the traditional vow taking ceremony and an extended explanation of the…
 
In a glowing reminder of what exactly we're doing here and why we do it, Sara generously shares her personal practice story of turning her back on church and finding the sacred that lies just beyond the strange. She tells us about losing trust in yourself only to realize yourself as part of something much, much bigger. And, in a tradition admittedl…
 
Brad reads to us Jijuyu Zanmai, Dogen’s famous treatise on the self and the universe, and then opens up about his own self and how Dogen has helped him make sense of the news, work with panic attacks, and sit down humbly and admit that our zazen might actually be ultimate liberation for all beings everywhere.…
 
In our ongoing series of sangha members sharing their personal practice stories, Cat Kilmer takes us on a quest of love and non duality through ashrams, yoga studios, and heartbreaks to find revelations, disillusionments, and an ultimately simple little truth beckoning to us from the wall.By Angel City Zen Center
 
In another timely talk, Emily tackles Dogen's "Ceaseless Practice," where Dogen opens up in personal terms about his own struggles with the frustrations of an endless practice. How is giving up practice is still part of practice? What do they mean "let go of letting go of attachments" and can we still love our loved ones? How does our practice crea…
 
“[Enlightenment is] like a person with sh*t on his nose asking everyone else who farted.” - Kodo SawakiReading from the great Kodo Sawaki’s commentary on the classic “Song of Awakening,” Brad discusses the authentic self, authentic Zen, and noticing the most obvious enlightenment sitting right in front of your face (that is also already your face…)…
 
In a special History of Zen, Dave turns to the life and poetry of Ikkyu to try to answer the question of how Zen has historically responded to times of crisis. In Ikkyu’s case the answer was great art, bad behavior, and a desperate need to get to the ultimate truth of a world that felt like it had left any such thing behind. Join us as Dave brings …
 
Recorded live at ACZC in the heady days of early March when we still sat together in a room, Brad Warner takes a free wheeling journey various philosophical outlooks on Panpsychism and the questions of where to look for a mind in a world of cold hard matter. Are souls really a thing? Is the universe conscious? Does thinking about this stuff help? F…
 
Brad discusses Daizui’s “Great Kalpa Fire” a classic koan about how to face the end of the world, and it’s classic answer - “we go along with.” Along the way we discuss various translations, get a reading from Sunrui Suzuki on whether anything at all can ever perish, and how to deal with information overload and an inundation of bad news.…
 
Dave gives us an in depth look into the Buddhist creation myth. it's the question Buddha famously refused to answer (except of course for when he changed his mind). It's a beginning in an ending and a story with no beginning and no ending. It's a story of nothing that confused itself for something, and was cursed to wander for endless kalpas trying…
 
Let’s talk about love! We all know Zen can be reluctant to talk about mushy things like love and kindness, but Emily bravely tackles loving kindness head on in the latest installment of her series on the Bramaviharas. From Buddha, to Dogen, to us, it’s a 2500 year long epic love story where the happy ending is always right here and now. How do we l…
 
Brad Warner gives us a talk about dharma talks - what they are, what they’re not, why this is not one, and why he is happy that no such thing ever happens at ACZC. Along the way we discuss rituals and whether we need them, if zazen itself is a ritual, and whether we’re missing out on something by being so informal……
 
In our latest installment of History of Zen, Dave gets very excited about sharing one of his favorite books with us that also happens to be the original defining text of Zen as we know it. In this 1300 year old sutra, Dave reads to us the warm words of our self professed good friend Huineng, who offers up a surprisingly modern take on secular spiri…
 
Michele Roldan-Shaw spins classic Jataka Tales (folk tales of the Buddha's past lives) for us with all their ambiguities, tough love, and hard choices. We get to meet sea spirits, unruly crows, guilt ridden partridges, and yes a renunciant hermit disappointing his parents, all running around out there trying to figure out how to be decent beings in…
 
Brad Warner shares poetic passages from the great kindly grand uncle of our lineage, Kobun Chino. A true Beginner’s Only podcast, as long time practitioners discuss the ins and outs of practice; why Dogen was anti-breath counting, what is perfect posture, how to tame your inner fascist, where decision making comes from, why itching is a total scam,…
 
Erik looks at anxiety in a wide ranging and well informed discussion of everything from the intricacies of classic Zen literature to contemporary psychology and all the vulnerable (and personal) twists and turns he takes to be able to share them with us. With readings from the great Huangpo, and tips and techniques from the latest in mental health …
 
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