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The Hardcore Zen Show, Dharma talks, audio yoga classes, Zen literature & history discussions & more!

The Hardcore Zen Show, Dharma talks, audio yoga classes, Zen literature & history discussions & more!
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The Hardcore Zen Show, Dharma talks, audio yoga classes, Zen literature & history discussions & more!




Miranda Javid - Faking It

“Sometimes while sitting you might just get bored enough with worrying about whether or not you’re faking it that you finally just decide to do zazen.” Miranda Javid brings some light to the tricky and relatable issue of feeling like an imposter in the zendo. Is it possible to fake it in zazen? Can anything or anyone ultimately be inauthentic? And what do we do when we feel that way anyway? Miranda looks into imposter syndrome as a modern phenomenon, and what our old friends Sunryu Suzuki...


Brad Warner - Don’t View Big Fish

“The problem is that no answer that someone else will give you will every satisfy you - not to these questions. The question of who and what you really are, only you know. The only entity in the entire universe who knows what you are, is you.” - Brad Warner Recorded live in Eindhoven, Netherlands in 2014 on the tour that inspired Brad’s latest book, Letters to a Dead Friend About Zen. In the middle of a retreat, caught in front of an audience in a raw moment after learning he’d lost a...


Emma Roy - Zen and the Art of Marketing Zen

“On the infinite canvas of time and space the way the geese cast their shadow on the water without any idea of doing so, while the water reflects the geese just as naturally and unintentionally. Just so, the zen practitioner turns their own life into a work of creation which exists, as the christians might say, in the mind of god.” - DT Suzuki “You can see how DT Suzuki presented Zen in a way that would sound really cool in 1950s America… Like Zen is the most democratic, or it’s like...


Emily Eslami - Well, This is Uncomfortable (Death by Fire, Death By Ice)

“When it is cold, let it be so cold that it kills you. When it is hot, let it be so hot that it kills you.” - Dongshan Be honest, how much of your life is uncomfortable? If you're paying attention (and anything like us), the answer is probably a good chunk of it. So it might be a good idea to get to know that discomfort, get good at it even, or better yet, get deeply and intimately comfortable with that discomfort. Luckily Emily is on the case, taking on the famous koan of looking for the...


Brad Warner - The Busyness of Chickens

“We’re constantly in a hurry but why? Just to feed our selves. Chickens too are in a hurry when they peck for their feed, but why? Only to be eaten by humans. Ordinary people are always looking for excitement. But that which is measureless and unlimited won’t satisfy peoples greed. How could that which fills the whole universe ever mean satisfaction within the categories of an ordinary person?” - Kodo Sawaki Brad Warner leads an impromptu q&a with some choice readings from the hero of no...


Dave Cuomo - Something from Nothing (History of Zen - The situation in Ancient China)

“China seemed to notice there is now something, and that something was born out of nothing. Therefore this something we live in is also inherently nothing.” - Dave Cuomo We have finally wrapped up our story of Buddhism in India and head over to where the real story of Zen begins - China. But first we have to get a little background on just who China was (old) and what it was doing (dealing with chaos like everyone else) when Buddhism and Zen first made their inroads. It's a fascinating look...

Dave Cuomo - A Brief History of Not Knowing

Don't-know mind is before thinking. Before thinking there is no God, no Buddha, no “I” no words - nothing. Then you and the universe become one. Some people say this is God, or universal energy, or bliss, or extinction. But these are only teaching words. Nothing-mind is before words. - Seungsahn We know, Zen loves to talk about this "not knowing" stuff. And they sure seem to think they know a lot about it. But inspired by a koan that beautifully illustrates the idea, Dave got curious just...


Emma Roy - A Time Outside of Time

“When it’s working ritual is not in the least bit boring or stupid. its emotionally exciting and intellectually fascinating. I produces ecstatic states of consciousness, provides purpose and drives commitment to action. It ends alienation and creates experiences of wonderment. I think of a spectacular concert or a dramatic protest rally for what modern ritual should be.” - David Chapman Emma Roy takes us on a full exploration of Zen ritual from its decidedly non supernatural intentions to...

Emily Eslami - The Great Mistake

“A Zen master’s life is one continuous mistake.” Dogen Zenji (sort of) “If life is one continuous mistake, and if we all make mistakes, then what the hell is a mistake??” - Emily Eslami Emily takes our mistakes head on with an in depth look at the concept of mistake itself, starting with Dogen's famous quote. It's pithy, it's perfectly Zen ironic, and it opens up a whole can of worms of conundrums. What exactly is the Zen master's mistake, and come to think of it, what is a mistake at all?...


Dave Cuomo - Give Up, Give In

“What’s happening in this moment has very little to do with what I want or can accomplish. It’s so far beyond what I’m capable of knowing! But If you can’t know it, if you can’t think it, if you can’t be it, you can be it… Your ignorance itself is the answer.” - Dave Cuomo Recorded live in Nashville, TN! Asked to introduce Zen and share his own personal journey Dave goes bare bones honest with a talk about giving up and giving in to disillusionment and the liberation that comes when the...

Brad Warner - The Real Masterpiece

“Sometimes when you no no longer see yourself as the hero of your own drama expecting victory after victory… I found that things became a lot easier when I no longer expected to win. When you understand that, you abandon your masterpiece and you sink into the real masterpiece.” - Leonard Cohen “The silence is something we all share. And it’s not a dead silence, it's alive. We make a lot of noise in response to it, and thats ok, that's part of the game. But you can also be quiet and allow it...


Emily Eslami - It's a Miracle!

"'Here' is beyond the brain, beyond the nostrils, and beyond this district. Because it springs free from 'here' it has already arrived here and has never been here before. This place is is the place where the ineffable exists. In short the life of a Buddhist master is just drinking tea and eating meals." - Dogen "If everything's a miracle then nothing's a miracle. But if nothing's a miracle than everything's a miracle because everything takes on this special quality." - Emily Eslami In a...


Emma Roy - Self Caught Jail

"When you are a beginner, of ten or twenty years, you question, 'Am I doing alright?'" - Kobun Chino Emma Roy brings us a piece by Kobun Chino about Dogen's Advice for Sitting. Our sangha has a bit of a Zen crush on Kobun lately and in this one we can see exactly why. It's a simple piece, mostly just about zazen. But as we've seen, Kobun has a way of being deceptively simple. Embedded in simple advice and encouragement is a wealth of insight, ironies, and koan like contradictions, with mic...


Dave Cuomo - Who You Calling Perfect?? (History of Zen - Buddha Nature)

“The conscious mind is where all the problems start, so we’re not really concerned with what the conscious mind understands. The point is not to teach people to be happier or more awakened or enlightened. We’re here to actively perform whatever those things actually are.” - Dave Cuomo We finally bring our story in India to a close with one of the more perplexing and intriguing ideas to come out of early Buddhism - Buddha Nature. Somewhere in between grand God like notions and a humble...


Emma Roy - A Thicker Brain?

"Mental wellness depends on more than what’s in our heads. Our minds are intrinsically tied up with our bodies and the context in which we are embedded. We hope for a science of meditation that makes us more not less mindful of how our brains fit into this bigger picture." Emma Roy returns with more cold hard science on the professed benefits of meditation and then drops the ever pertinent question, "yes, but is this the point?" With some of the science pointing out that many people develop...


Dave Cuomo - The Precepts: 16 Ways to Stop Being Rational

“The irony of sitting with what a horrible person you can be, is how much better a person that can help you become.” - Dave Cuomo Somewhere in between a rule and a riddle lies the Zen vows. Dave traces their origin from poor Buddha who was just trying to keep the peace with his unruly monks by giving them a few rules (ok, more like a few hundred…), up to the modern Zen version that starts each vow with the caveat that nothing about the self or the universe is comprehensible, and by the way...

Erik Andersen - Instant Zen

“Blaming is attributing the cause of something to one individual when the truth is that we’re all just one big mess of causation. Is it really that person’s fault or is it their parents’ fault? Is it their grandparents’ fault, is it the universe’s fault? Really it’s your fault for even having the concept of a fault.” - Erik Andersen Following up on our history of the debate between gradual and sudden enlightenment, Erik follows our sudden victors forward in time to see what this sudden...


Dave Cuomo - Shantideva in the Streets, Nagarjuna in the Sheets (History of Zen)

“When you’re wondering ‘what am I supposed to be doing?’ or ‘what should I do with this feeling ?’ or ‘am I doing this right?’ remember that these are ancient questions that were never solidly answered. So when I’m sitting and wondering ‘am I doing this right?’, I realize I must be, because thats what they’ve been doing for thousands of years, and at least I’m on the right question.” - Dave Cuomo It’s the Great Debate Between Sudden and Gradual Enlightenment! It's the never ending questions...


Emma Roy - When Good Zazen Goes Bad

“What are we after that’s different than other types of inquiry? It’s an open question, but I know that these negative experiences are a hundred percent part of it” - Emma Roy There’s a lot of talk about how great zazen is, but is it always good for you? It's been mentioned here and there that at some point anyone who engages in this practice can expect it to get, let's just say... difficult - that somewhere beyond the sunshine, roses, or boredom can be darker experiences some schools...


Jared Wynn - War & Peace

“it’s always first and foremost internal.” - Nina Snow In a wide ranging discussion Jared shares his own missteps and anecdotes while looking for guidance everywhere from the Pali Canon to see how Buddha dealt with his conflicts (dark twist spoiler - he kills someone!), to our old friend Sunryu Suzuki and his recommendations toward skillful means, to Musashi - Japan's greatest sword fighter and warrior poet, who has a list of recommendations that the sangha decides are... let's just say...