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The Zen Studies Podcast

Religion & Spirituality Podcas

Learn about traditional Zen and Buddhist teachings, practices, and history through episodes recorded specifically for podcast listeners. Host Domyo Burk is a Soto Zen priest and teacher.

Location:

United States

Description:

Learn about traditional Zen and Buddhist teachings, practices, and history through episodes recorded specifically for podcast listeners. Host Domyo Burk is a Soto Zen priest and teacher.

Language:

English

Contact:

971-207-1843


Episodes
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270 - Ten Fields of Zen Practice Chp 4, Part 1 - Dharma Study: Wrestling with the Teachings

5/22/2024
The fourth Field of Zen practice is Dharma Study, or becoming familiar with and investigating Buddhist teachings. The texts and teachings in Buddhism include tools we can use for practice and inspirational guidance for our behavior, but the most critical part of Dharma Study is challenging the ideas and views we already hold, not acquiring new ones. The teachings describe Reality-with-a-Capital-R and invite us to investigate and verify the truth for ourselves. We don’t seek to acquire insight into Reality for its own sake, but because it is liberating and transformative.

Duration:00:21:08

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269 - Making a Vow of Inner Nonviolence and Complete Acceptance

5/14/2024
We all have negative aspects of ourselves we want to fix, disown, or even expunge completely from our being, but even with practice some things are extremely hard to change. As we strive to break free of our less-than-helpful aspects of self, we typically employ violent means, ranging from subtle rejection to vicious and debilitating self-loathing that may even manifest physically. Regardless of the severity of the violence, it causes damage. Much more transformative than our typical approaches to change is making a vow of complete, unconditional, inner nonviolence and then working toward complete acceptance and integration.

Duration:00:35:26

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268 - Teisho, An Encouragement Talk During Zazen

4/30/2024
Last week I led a sesshin, or silent Zen retreat. Participants participated in a 24-hour schedule of zazen, chanting, silent work, formal meals, and rest. Once or twice a day, I offered a "teisho" during zazen. "Tei" means to offer or put forth, and "sho" means to recite or proclaim. Teisho are sometimes called "encouragement talks," and they are meant to help listeners connect with the Dharma in spaciousness and silence of zazen. Teisho are not about explanations or the imparting of information, and they generally not recorded. They are offered spontaneously, just for the moment, just for those listening. Although you may not be sitting zazen while you listen to this episode, I thought I would offer you a teisho as if you are.

Duration:00:29:52

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267 - Ten Fields of Zen Practice Chp 3 - Mindfulness: Cultivating Awareness Every Moment

4/21/2024
The third Field of Zen practice is Mindfulness, which is cultivating clear awareness of what is happening, moment by moment, within you and around you. Mindfulness is absolutely fundamental to Zen practice, allowing you to practice within all the other Fields. Without awareness, you can’t live your life by choice instead of by karma.

Duration:00:28:35

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266 - What Would the Buddha Say About the Suffering in the World?

4/15/2024
Recently, someone submitted a Dharma question for me to address: “I wonder what Buddha would say to us about the crises facing humanity, particularly the suffering of our own making?” I can't know, but I dare to put some words in the Buddha's mouth and then present follow-up questions.

Duration:00:21:01

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265 - Ten Fields of Zen Practice Chp 2 Part 3: Zazen – Our Total Response to Life

3/30/2024
This is the third episode of three comprising the “Zazen” chapter of my book, “The Ten Fields of Zen Practice: A Primer for Practitioners.” I start by offering what I should have put at the beginning of my chapter on Zazen: Basic instructions for Zazen. I then discuss how my “Five Efforts in Zazen” suggest Zazen is a neat and linear process, but in actuality Zazen is a messy, organic, real-life experience. Finally, I talk about how to deepen your Zazen without getting caught up in self-centered striving.

Duration:00:22:59

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264 - Ten Fields of Zen Practice Chp 2 Part 2: Zazen – Our Total Response to Life

3/25/2024
This is the second episode of three comprising the "Zazen" chapter of my book, "The Ten Fields of Zen Practice: A Primer for Practitioners.” I finish my discussion of the five efforts of Zazen, covering becoming intimate with Life, seeing the true nature of Life, and being one with Life.

Duration:00:31:30

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263 - Ten Fields of Zen Practice Chp 2 Part 1 - Zazen – Our Total Response to Life

3/18/2024
The second Field of Zen practice is Zazen. “Za” means seated, and “zen” means meditation. However, as 13-century Zen master Dogen famously stated, “…Zazen is not meditation practice.” Superficially, our Zazen may look like the meditation done in other spiritual traditions, or even in secular settings. We even call Zazen “meditation” sometimes, for convenience. However, Zazen is not meditation in the sense of a mental exercise aimed at a particular result. Zazen is our total response to life. It is the essence and enactment of our entire Zen practice.

Duration:00:37:29

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262 - The Value, Care, and Feeding of Dharma Friendships – Part 2

2/29/2024
The Buddha famously said “admirable friendship,” or what I’m calling Dharma friendship, is the entirety of the holy life. In the last episode, I discussed the value and nature of personal Dharma friendships. In this episode, I talk about what makes a good Dharma friendship and offer some practical ideas about how to find, form, and maintain such relationships.

Duration:00:29:24

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261 – The Value, Care, and Feeding of Dharma Friendships – Part 1

2/24/2024
The Buddha famously said the “admirable friendship,” or what I’m calling Dharma friendship, is the entirety of the holy life. In this episode, I discuss the value and nature of personal Dharma friendships. In Part 2, I will talk about what makes a good Dharma friendship and offer some practical ideas about how to find, form, and maintain such relationships.

Duration:00:23:34

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260 - Ten Fields of Zen Practice Chp 1: Bodhicitta, Way-Seeking Mind

2/17/2024
This episode on Bodhicitta, or Way-Seeking Mind, is chapter two of my book The Ten Fields of Zen Practice: A Primer for Practitioners.” Bodhicitta is the first Field of practice because without it we never even begin practice, and, if we don’t nurture and sustain it, our practice will wither and die. I discuss the first arising of Bodhicitta, its function, how to cultivate it, and its profound nature.

Duration:00:33:22

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259 - Ten Fields of Zen Practice Introduction: What Is Zen Practice?

1/31/2024
In this introductory chapter to my book, “The Ten Fields of Zen Practice: A Primer for Practitioners," I discuss the nature of practice and "progress" on the path of practice. I then introduce the Ten Fields, and the rest of the book will consist of a chapter on each of the Fields.

Duration:00:37:55

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258 - One Reality, Many Descriptions Part 6: The Two Truths of Absolute and Relative 2

1/9/2024
The Two Truths teaching is another classic Chan/Zen description of Reality-with-a-Capital-R. Reality has two aspects, often called relative and absolute. I call them the “dependent dimension” and the “independent dimension.” I describe this teaching and discuss why it is so important to our practice.

Duration:00:26:10

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257 - One Reality, Many Descriptions Part 5: The Two Truths of Absolute and Relative – Part 1

12/31/2023
The Two Truths teaching is another classic Chan/Zen description of Reality-with-a-Capital-R. Reality has two aspects, often called relative and absolute. I call them the "dependent dimension" and the "independent dimension." I describe this teaching and discuss why it is so important to our practice.

Duration:00:25:28

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256 - Do Your Own Practice: Spiritual Translation Versus Transformation

12/16/2023
One way to frame our practice is to say it has a "translation" aspect and a "transformation" aspect. Translation means to apply Buddhist teachings and practice to our life to free self and other from suffering, and live with greater wisdom and compassion. Transformation means to seek transcendence of the self and all of its limited views through a relentless process of inquiry, for the sake of an even more profound and stable liberation. I discuss how each aspect is valuable, how they differ, and clarifying what you want out of your own spiritual path.

Duration:00:31:18

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255 – The Medicine of Emptiness When Witnessing Suffering and Injustice

12/1/2023
When we witness - or experience - suffering or injustice, the medicine of emptiness can give us strength and equanimity. It should also increase our compassion, allowing us to be open, sensitive, and responsive without getting overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, fear, anger, or hatred. I talk about what the "medicine of emptiness" is - and isn't - and how to access it.

Duration:00:35:25

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254 - Practice is How You Live Each and Every Moment – Part 2

11/25/2023
Everyday life gives us countless opportunities for "awakening work." I discuss ways to practice each and every moment in order to awaken to the truth of Dukkha and the ending of Dukkha, and to the truth Emptiness. In Part 3 I will talk about how we can similarly work on a direct, personal experiences of Suchness, Buddha-Nature, and the Two Truths (absolute and relative) in the midst of our daily lives.

Duration:00:36:15

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253 - Practice is How You Live Each and Every Moment – Part 1

11/15/2023
The formal aspects of Buddhist practice – the things you can look at and identify as “Buddhist practice” – are very important. These include meditation, Dharma study, and time with Sangha. However, unless you’re a monk in a really strict monastery, over 90% of your time is spent outside of formal practice. It’s important to remember that practice each and every moment – how we choose to live our life, just as it is – is the most important thing.

Duration:00:31:54

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252 - Reflections on Dogen’s “Bussho, The Buddha-Nature” Part 2: Total Existence

10/31/2023
In my second episode reflecting on Dogen's “Bussho,” or “The Buddha-Nature," I discuss how Buddha-Nature is a teaching about our existential koan as human beings. I also talk about how Dogen says we have already got Buddha-Nature, and then explore more fully his teaching about "Total Existence."

Duration:00:27:39

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251 – Reflections on Dogen’s “Bussho, The Buddha-Nature” Part 1: Being

10/27/2023
In his essay "Bussho," or "The Buddha-Nature," Dogen explores and expands a classic Mahayana Buddhist teaching. I reflect on a few central concepts from the first paragraph.

Duration:00:28:56