Together, let’s congratulate Victor on his recent Jukai ceremony!

Zenho Sensei has given him the name HuoHua NuHuo, which translates to “Fire Clears Anger”.

I am aware of quite a few of our sangha members who are currently or soon-to-be engaged in Jukai and Tokudo ceremonies. We are so very happy about this!

We hope to schedule some group study sessions for Jukai ceremonies which you are encouraged to attend. It is also very helpful to coordinate your rakusu sewing times and to form an occasional “sewing circle” when working on your rakusu. It was challenging for me and help was deeply appreciated. Some sangha members are accomplished at this type of work. The job of sewing your rakusu will yield unimagined benefits for you!

I would like to offer some upcoming posts on Jukai and the Precepts that are important understandings for us to hold as we move toward our ceremonies. I heartily recommend you read the ZCLA Jukai Seminar Workbook. If you’d like a copy please let me know.

Here is an introductory article by Diane Eshin Rizzetto about Jukai.

This is what Gempo Merzel, Sensei says in the Zen Center of Los Angeles Jukai Seminar Workbook:

“Jukai is a formal way of recognizing and being recognized as what we really are. It’s saying to the world, “Okay, I am taking the name and putting it on the rakusu and formally becoming a member of the sangha because I already feel it inside. I feel I’m already a person who’s following the path of enlightenment, and I want to formally recognize that commitment, that state of being, and have other people recognize it too.”

Jukai means; JU – To take, receive, accept. KAI – Precepts (in Sanskrit Sila).

To take Jukai is to reveal or embody the precepts.

We take these precepts and practice because we are enlightened.

Vows are a natural outgrowth of out desire to clarify and appreciate our life. Our own vows help to strengthen our practice and give us an opportunity to actualize our desire.

To study the precepts is a chance to study the cause and effect of our actions.

What are the steps to taking Jukai?

  1. Make clear your intentions to your teacher.
  2. Study the Jukai seminar workbook.
  3. Be as active in attendance and services (in person) as you possibly can. Make your commitment at this time to make your practice vigorous!
  4. Sew your rakusu (You can get the kit and instructions here from Liz Fox.)
  5. Discuss Jukai with your teacher and attend any training or study sessions offered.
  6. After your teacher has agreed to your Jukai and your rakusu is completed, ask about setting a date for your ceremony.
  7. There is Jukai dana that is made directly to your teacher.

There is a vibrant and loving energy about the sangha of late! It is so wonderful to feel this and we know that Jitsudo is smiling pleasantly as he observes our blossoming!

Deep Peace, Great Love,

Issan. & Zenho

Please make time for our ZENKAI weekend August 27 & 28.

Schedule, 7/24-7/30

Monday and Tuesday 6:30 AM: Zazen at the Tea House with Scott opening.

Tuesday: 7 PM, Dream Koan, at the Tea House or zoom

Wednesday: 6:30 AM, Zazen at the Tea House or zoom, with Zenho Sensei

Thursday: 6:30 AM, Vajrakilaya Sadhana, At the Tea House or zoom. Dokusan with Issan Sensei.

Friday: 6:30 AM, Zazen at the Tea House or zoom. Dokusan with Zenho Sensei.

Vast is the robe of liberation!

July 17-23 Schedule

This week Zenho and I are heading to Tucson Wednesday and Thursday to do a presentation at the 39th Annual International Dream Conference in Tucson. We will be presenting on Dream Koan.


Monday: 6:30 am, Zazen at the tea house

Tuesday: 6:30 am, Zazen at the tea house (Vic or Kurt or Scott?)

Tuesday: 7 pm, Dream Koan, at the tea house or zoom

Friday: 6:30 am, Zazen at the tea house

Have a wonderful week!

Deep peace and great love,

Issan & Zenho

“As it is…”

“Abiding in emptiness,

Resting in naturalness,

Dwelling in awareness.

Life and death an ordinary moment.

No gate.”

Emptiness, being the realization that all things are without independent self nature.

Naturalness, being the mind neither grasping nor averting.

The ordinary moment being, “just this”.

No gate, being entering practice right where you are, here and now.

With all good intentions we sometimes practice so hard, with such great focus and desire for understanding that we miss the simplicity of embodying the point of practice. Which may be, simply being exactly as we are, in this humanness; this is where we are enlightened. The more we can relax into this, the more effortless is our practice.

Jitsudo Roshi told us this story; Maezumi Roshi, who’s English was not great used to say “Things as it is!”. He was once corrected by someone telling him “Roshi, the proper English is “Things as they are“. Maezumi Roshi replied’ “Not that! Things as it is!”. The difference in using the words ‘are or ‘is’ is significant. ‘Are’ implies the existence of a stayed or permanent nature of things, ‘Is’ implies the unceasing movement of change (or impermanence), effortlessly embraced. When Maezumi Roshi chose the word ‘Is‘ he embraces “Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form”.

Instead of trying so hard, we can remember to “try easy”. At any time of our day we can notice our monkey-mind striving to elaborate ‘what is’ conceptually and with a single breath, gently notice that conceptual striving, watch it evaporate and spacious awareness arises effortlessly.

Deep peace, great love

& easy does it,

Issan. & Zenho

Schedule July 10-16

Monday 6:30am, Zazen at the Tea House

Tuesday 6:30am, Zazen at the Tea House

Tuesday 7pm, Dream Koan, at the Tea House or zoom

Wednesday 6:30am, Zazen at the Tea House or zoom

Thursday 6:30am, Green Tara Sadhana at the Tea House or zoom, Dokusan with Issan Sensei

Friday 6:30am, Zazen at the Tea House, Dokusan with Zenho Sensei



Zuangzi and Butterfly

Dear Mugai Sangha,

Friday was Canada Day, and tomorrow is the 4th of July. Celebrating our independence and freedom. And recently Juneteenth, marking the delayed emancipation, but not necessarily freedom, of some members of our Sangha.

Freedom means different things for different people.

And in our Zen, Freedom has a unique flavor:

Practice, or play, laughing

If you call it either.

Exhausting the chains of 

“Be aware of your thoughts,”

Falling freely into the

Clarity of sleep

Emerging through

Gateless Gate dreaming

Roaming heaven and earth

In a single stride

Practice, or play, crying 

If you call it neither.

Freedom means different things for different people. Roaming heaven and earth, how do we actualize it for all Beings? First, avoid Evil. Then, do Good. Then, do Good for others. How do we each avoid Evil? Best to look inside first.

I had a dream the other night: I’m with Issan practicing Zen stuff (Issan and I have been bringing dream-koan practice, and Vajrakilaya practice, and Green Tara practice into our stupa of Zen practice) really hard and we have a dream in which Maezumi Roshi comes to us and says “Go faster.” We then see some other people who have already heard of this amazing story and ask me, “So Maezumi Roshi was there and said “Go faster?” I am aware that they mean “there” in the sense of ordinary physical consciousness. For me, there is no real membrane between dream and ordinary waking consciousness. “Yes” I answer and then I am out on a street with lots of people who are familiar to me, and none recognizable. A feeling of intimacy with the unknown. A mid-20s brunette woman runs up and we leap into each other’s arms and are kissing and somehow spinning and sitting upon each other’s thighs, almost as if we are growing out of each other, feeling deeper and deeper intimacy.

I’m feeling encouraged by Maezumi Roshi to go faster. And shed whatever holds me back. We have the freedom of his encouragement, making this Zen our Zen. In making it our Zen, we will have the freedom to share intimately with countless Beings.

Thank you for being on this Path with me/us.

Schedule July 4 – July 10:

Monday, 6:30AM, Zazen at the Tea House

Tuesday, 7PM, Dream Koan, at the Tea House or Zoom

Wednesday, 6:30AM, Zazen at the Tea House or Zoom with Zenho Sensei

Thursday, 6:30AM, Vajrakilaya Sadhana, In person at the Tea House or Zoom

Friday, 6:30AM, Zazen at The Tea House

Taking Refuge

What does it mean, “Taking Refuge”?

One thing is certain, this week’s events regarding the Supreme Court decision has rattled a lot of cages. There is profound emotion, upheaval and consternation. My reaction has vacillated between fear, anger and an attempt at compassionate detachment (bearing witness). It’s been hard to contain, hard not letting it “spill over”. To me, this feels like another step in the erosion of rights and the marginalization of all but the powerful. One thing is certain, the lives of many women and men will be affected. Compound this week with the ultra-violenceof the past few weeks and it seems like we all are experiencing a high level of anxiety and other powerful emotions. In the maelstrom of emotions that rise, is there one place, one way of finding some semblance of inner equanimity?

This phrase “taking refuge” is what’s comes up. Taking refuge can be as simple as a half-hour of zazen or 3 breaths at any moment. We can’t control what comes up, it arises choicelessly, but we can take the refuge of that ‘inner-place of practice’ in many different ways.

Pema Chondron puts it simply; “The idea behind taking refuge is that when it starts to rain, we like to find a shelter.” We reflect on the meaning of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha as the refuge of the three jewels. We understand that the teachings and the sangha can be helpful for us as well. So too, we understand that we are not hiding or escaping life’s problems by taking refuge. We are not escaping samsara. Roshi Bernie taught, “Bearing Witness and Not Knowing”, not turning away, but seeing ‘what is’ without the mental fog of dualism and conceptualization. If we do as Roshi Bernie suggests, we do not turn away but look directly, somewhat painfully at times, and we gain some heart-insight and understanding of the suffering we are witnessing. In being awake to what’s happening there is an empowerment that dissolves some of our anxiety and at best leads us to compassionate action.

We are so fortunate to have each other to speak with, to lean-on, to trust and to be heard without the fear of judgement and the assurance of comforting understanding. We hold a common understanding of compassion. We respect the efforts we ourselves make and support each other, no matter how halting our progress, toward a deeper embodiment of greater compassion. We bring to mind the teaching of impermanence of the “10,000 Things”. Becoming comfortable in that uncertainty, even it means ‘becoming comfortable being uncomfortable’, as many of us are feeling now, also increases our inner peace, and helps us rest in naturalness and equanimity. It seems to me that taking refuge is really just being present, awake, aware and ready to engage in whatever way we are capable of, for each other and all being.

SCHEDULE 6/26-7/2

Monday 6:30am Zazen at the Tea House

Tuesday 7pm Dream Koan at the Tea House or ZOOM

Wednesday 6:30am Zazen at the Tea House of ZOOM

Thursday 6:30am Green Tara Sadhana at the Tea House or ZOOM

(Sensei Zenho requests that the merits of practicing the Green Tara Sadhana this week be dedicated to women and marginalized persons affected by the ruling of the supreme court.)

Friday 6:30am Zazen at the Tea House and dokusan.

(Issan in Denver Thursday-Monday.)

Deep Peace & Great Love,

Issan & Zenho

Happy Summer Solstice!

Greetings Sangha!

How wonderful it is to be enjoying the summer rains recently! This hottest time of the year now somewhat tempered by the cool New Mexico rains! Tuesday is the solstice and it’s a time that has always been really special for me. When I lived for so many years in the frozen grip of northern New Hampshire the summer solstice was my assurance that, at last, my favorite season had arrived. I was born at the apex of summer and have always resonated with summertime the most! I am moved by the stillness and beauty of summer, the grasses tall by the roadsides, the shimmering heat and the verdant growth of living things at their peak. Dreamlike images and numinous tones arise of themselves within me in the summer, like glimpses of summer lives lived before. I have such amazing memories of great adventures on lakes and in mountains, festivals, swimming holes, and also of those summer jobs that I always quit a month early, determined not to be cheated out of the adventures of August!

We begin the celebration of summer on the solstice with the Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra. The Aspiration Prayer states: ” During solar or lunar eclipse, when clamor or earthquakes occur, at the solstices, or at the turn of the year if we let ourselves arise as Samantabhadra and recite this prayer within the hearing of all, through the aspiration of us yogic practitioners, all sentient beings of the three realms will gradually become free from suffering and then swiftly attain buddhahood.”

Schedule 6/19-6/25

Monday, 6:30 AM, Zazen at the Tea House

Tuesday, 6:30 AM, Samantabhadra, ZOOM ONLY

Tuesday, 7 PM, Dream Koan, at the Tea House or ZOOM

Wednesday, 6:30 AM, Zazen at the Tea House or ZOOM

Thursday, 6:30 AM, Vajrakilaya Sadhana, at the Tea House or ZOOM

Friday, 6:30 AM, Zazen, at the Tea House

Hope you all dance a circle around the sun this week!

Deep Peace, Great Love,

Issan & Zenho

Sangha Meet Up Thursday 6/16

Hello Friends!

Some of us are planning to meet up to hear Krishna Das for a free show at the Plaza in Santa Fe on Thursday evening. I guess the schedule is; Yoga with Santa Fe Yoga at 5, Zueikha plays next then KD. Please come if you can! Text me when you arrive and we’ll find one another: 603-568-6828 (Issan).

Krishna Das

About KD

The song/chant we sing before zazen is called “Bernie’s Chalisa” or “Gate of Sweet of Nectar” and goes into the “Hanuman Chalisa”. It’s KD playing and singing. It was done for/with Roshi Bernie Glassman. Check it out!

In 1994, he started leading chant at Jivamukti Yoga Center, NYC. Over the years, he continued chanting, developing his signature style, fusing traditional kirtan of the east with western harmonic and rhythmic sensibilities. The audiences have been ever growing. With a remarkably soulful voice that touches the deepest chord in even the most casual listener, Krishna Das – known to friends, family, and fans as simply KD, has been called yoga’s “rock star.”  He has taken the call-and-response chanting out of yoga centers and into concert halls, becoming a worldwide icon and the best-selling western chant artist of all time.

KD now travels the world sharing his kirtan practice and wonderful stories of his life, of Maharaji-ji, of his life on the Path, and discusses bringing chanting into our lives through retreats and workshops.

To date, KD has released 16 well received albums, including Live Ananda (released January 2012)  that was nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Age album category.

In February 2013, Krishna Das performed at the Grammy awards in Los Angeles, CA streamed online to millions of viewers. The award-winning film ‘One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das’ has been in over 100 US cities, over 10 countries worldwide and is available on DVD everywhere.

In 2014 the Kirtan Wallah Foundation was formed. This 501c3 is dedicated to spreading the teachings of KD’s guru and spiritual teacher, Neem Karoli Baba, Lovingly called Maharjji, his teachings can be summed up by his saying:

‘Love Everyone. Serve Everyone. Remember God”

More information from AMP Concerts


Tuesday, 7PM, Dream Koan, at the Tea House or Zoom

Wednesday, 6:30AM, Zazen at the Tea House or Zoom with Zenho Sensei

Thursday, 6:30AM, Samantabhadra, In person at the Tea House

Thursday, 5:00 PM, Meet Up for Krishna Das at the Plaza, Santa Fe

Friday, 6:30AM, Zazen at The Tea House

Deep Peace & Great Love,

Issan & Zenho

Responsibilities of the Sangha

Greetings my dear friends!

As we have spoken about together, Sangha is a sacred Jewel and one of the three fundamental tenants of being Buddhist. To become Buddhist one simply states out loud; “I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma, I take refuge in the Sangha.” Each ONE is none other than US.

One time when Jitsudo was Taizan Maezumi’s “gisha” (attendant) he removed Maezumi’s tea bowl when he was finished with it, washed it and put it away. Maezumi bowed to him and Jitsudo asked him “Why bow to me, all I did was took care of your tea?” Maezumi responded to him; “When you take care of my tea bowl, you are taking care of me and all beings.”

Such a simple gesture, but deeply relevant when looked into in this way. Each thing we care for, each gesture, no matter how small serves to remind us that the view we strive to put into compassionate action: “all-is-one”.

At this time the Sangha has some basic needs that we are asking all of you to help meet.

*Our fountain needs an electrician to repair it and we need to pay for it.

*The altars (3) need fresh flowers purchased each week and arranged. Would someone volunteer to take this as a rotating responsibility for perhaps one month at a time, then graciously pass it off to another sangha member? It is a an auspicious task to care for the altar.

*Tea light candles need to be kept stocked up.

*Incense needs to be kept stocked.

Dana is the offering of selfless giving, teaching us to recognize and free ourselves from our propensity for clinging.

Please consider offering monthly dana (financial support) to the sangha so that we may create a “prudent financial reserve” in order to care for the things we need to care for.

I know each one of your hearts and know from experience the depth of your generosity and kindness.

Deep Peace and Great Love,

Issan & Zenho

Schedule June 5- June 11:

Monday, 6:30AM, Zazen at the Tea House

Tuesday, 7PM, Dream Koan, at the Tea House or Zoom

Wednesday, 6:30AM, Zazen at the Tea House or Zoom with Zenho Sensei

Thursday, 6:30AM, Vajrakilaya Sadhana, In person at the Tea House

Friday, 6:30AM, Zazen at The Tea House

Resting in naturalness


These excerpts from the Aspiration Prayer of Samantabhadra:

“Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha, may sentient beings full of attachment and clinging neither cast out the torment of desire nor welcome the craving of attachment,
but may awareness take its very seat through letting mind relax in its own state and may discriminating wisdom be attained.”

“Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha, when fierce hatred flares up
in all sentient beings of the six realms,
may it relax in its own state without adopting or rejecting, may awareness take its own seat, and may lucid wisdom be attained.”

“Through this aspiration prayer of myself, the buddha,
when sentient beings give rise to such haughtiness,
may they let their mind relax in its own state,
may awareness take its very own seat
and may the wisdom of equality be realized.”

“…when a competitive mind, fighting, and struggling dawn, may we not entertain enmity but let it relax in its own place, may mind take its very own seat,
and may the wisdom of unimpeded enlightened activity be.”

Samantabhadra is saying is rest in “naturalness”. In other words, just being as you are, allowing all to be as it is. Not trying to not think, not trying to meditate on something, not striving to become or working an idea. No effort towards attainment or silly ideas of buddhahood. Rather, abiding in awareness, simple letting our attention rest. In doing so the mind gently melds with any circumstance, emotion we may be experiencing, person, place or thing effortlessly. Duality drips away and equanimity oozes in.

There is a method of meditating that Mingyur Rimpoche teaches which is, to allow all the random profusion of thoughts to pervade effortlessly unimpededed in the mind. Then he says “Now raise you hand when you become distracted.” Ha! Distracted from what…distraction?! This is one way of embracing “naturalness”.

In the 4 Vows we say “Dharma gates arise choicelessly, I vow to pass through them.” Dharma gates can be anything! Even thoughts. The fact is, if you sit for a few minutes and try to think of one thing, moments later you are choicelessly thinking of something else. Simply resting in the naturalness or “allowing the mind to take it’s own seat” results in the dissolution of duality and the pristine awareness that illuminates our inherent compassionate nature.

Being as you are.



Monday, 6:30AM, Zazen at the Tea House.

Tuesday, 7PM, Dream Koan, at the Tea House or Zoom

Wednesday, 6:30AM, Zazen at the Tea House or Zoom with Zenho Sensei

Thursday, 6:30, Green Tara Sadhana, In person at the Tea House

Friday, 6:30AM, Zazen at The Tea House with Victor opening.

Resting Buddha

“Abiding in emptiness,

resting in awareness,

life and death, an ordinary moment.

No gate.”


Deep Peace and Great Love,

Issan and Zenho