PZC on Korean TV Program

Posted on Feb 26 , 2012 in Blog

Here’s a video about Zen practice from a Korean Buddhist TV network that includes some great footage of the Zen Center, clips of Do Am Sunim, JDPS and many other teachers in our school, including our Co-Guiding Teacher Nancy Hedgpeth, JDPSN. There’s a short interview with former PZC resident, Senior Dharma Teacher and Managing Editor of Primary Point, Tamarind Jordan where she talk about her experience with Zen and how being able to ask the question, “What am I?” is much more valuable than any answer she has found.


Why We Bow – 108 Prostrations

Posted on Feb 21 , 2012 in Blog

by Zen Master Dae Bong

New Dharma Teacher Ceremony

Bowing practice means that your body and your mind become one very quickly. Also, it is a very good way to take away lazy mind, desire mind and angry mind.

When you’re sleeping, your body’s lying in your bed, but your mind flies around and goes somewhere. Maybe you go to Las Vegas or you go to the ocean or you go to New York, or some monster is chasing you. Your body’s in bed, but your consciousness already went somewhere. When we wake up, many times, our consciousness and our body don’t quickly connect. So you wander around your house, and drink coffee, you bump into things.

Then slowly, slowly your consciousness and your body again come together. So that’s why, first thing in the morning, we do one hundred and eight bows. Through these one hundred and eight bows, your body and your consciousness become one very quickly. In this way, being clear and functioning clearly is possible.

We always bow one hundred and eight times. One hundred and eight is a number from Hinduism and Buddhism. That means there are one hundred and eight defilements in the mind. Or, sometimes they say one hundred and eight compartments in the mind. Each bow takes away one defilement, cleans one compartment in your mind. So our bowing practice is like a repentance ceremony every morning. In the daytime, in our sleep, our consciousness flies around somewhere. Also, we make something, we make many things in our consciousness. Then, we repent! So we do one hundred and eight bows; that’s already repenting our foolish thinking, taking away our foolish thinking.

Some people cannot sit. Sometimes due to health limitations or they have too much thinking, and if they sit, they cannot control their consciousness. Then, bowing is very good. Using your body in this way is very important.

The direction of bowing is very important. I want to put down my small I, see my true nature and help all beings. So, any kind of exercise can help your body and mind become one, but with just exercise, the direction is often not clear. Sometimes it’s for my health, sometimes it’s for my good looks, sometimes it’s to win a competition, but in Buddhism, everything’s direction is the same point – how to perceive my true nature and save all beings from suffering.

Our bowing takes away our karma mind, our thinking mind, and return to this moment very clearly, want to find my true nature and save all beings from suffering. This is why bowing practice is so important. If somebody has much anger, or much desire, or lazy mind, then every day, 300 bows, or 500 bows, even 1,000 bows, every day. Then their center will become very strong, they can control their karma, take away their karma, and become clear. This helps the practitioner and this world.

Bowing Forms

The practicer of Buddhism is the never-ending humbling of the ego. Humbling yourself before the world, by lowering your body you realize that you are one with everything. performing 108 prostrations is yet another path towards the realization of the True Self.


Where Zen Practice Begins

Posted on Feb 15 , 2012 in Blog

Everything in this world – the sun, the moon, the stars, mountain, rivers, and trees – everything is constantly moving. But there is one thing that never moves. It never comes or goes. It is never born and it never dies. What is this not-moving thing? Can you tell me? If you find that, you will find your true self and attain universal substance. But understanding cannot help you find that point. Even one hundred Ph.D.’s will not show you your true nature. If you were to read all eighty-four thousand sutras, learn all Buddha’s speech, and earnestly study all the teachings of all eminent Zen masters, you would never attain your true self through understanding. None of the struggle and toil that gets you this knowledge can help you as much as one moment of insight into your true nature.

Our true nature cannot be found in books and academic studies because our true nature is before speech and words. It is before thinking. If you find your before-thinking point, then it is possible to attain your true self. So, a long time ago, Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” This is where philosophy begins. But if you are not thinking, what? This is where Zen practice begins.

From The Compass of Zen


No “I”, No “You”

Posted on Feb 07 , 2012 in Blog

One day a student asked Zen Master Man Gong, “Where is Buddha’s teaching?”

“Right in front of you.” Man Gong replied

The student said, “You say, ‘in front of you,’ but I cannot see it.”

“You have ‘I’, so you cannot see.

“Do you see?” the student asked.

Man Gong answered, “If you make ‘I’ you cannot see. But if you make ‘you’, it is even more diffucult see.”

The students asked, “If I have no ‘I’, no ‘you’, then who is speaking?”

The student was then instantly enlightened.


Ox Herding and Revelation

Posted on Feb 03 , 2012 in Blog

Diamond Hill Zen Monastery

Kyol Che has been running smooth up at Diamond Hill Zen Monastery for about a month now. Tomorrow morning we have Tim Lerch, JDPSN entering to lead the retreat for the next two weeks, including the intensive week, which begins February 12, includes nightly midnight practice, and is limited to those who have previously sat retreats or who have entered this retreat earlier.

Bodhisattva Teacher and blogger Barry Briggs, has an on going series of Kyol Che related posts on his blog Ox Herding. He recently sat three weeks of retreat and will be coming back for more before the Winter is over. In his most recent post titled “Revelation” he says,

…meditation reveals ourselves to ourselves. When we sit down in meditation, we have an opportunity to meet that person. When we do a retreat, the odds of meeting that person increase. And the longer the retreat, the better the odds.



Ven. Younge Khachab Rinpoche VII 2012 Summer Dzogchen Retreat

Posted on Feb 01 , 2012 in Blog

Coming to PZC, Friday, June 8 – Friday, June 15

(Translation by Tenzin Bhuchung)

Younge Khachab Rinpoche

2012 Summer Dzogchen Retreat – Rinpoche will commence the retreat by bestowing the Energy of Intrinsic Awareness empowerment (rigpai tsel wang). This will be followed by instructions on Tsa-Lung practices related with tantra but particularly beneficial for inducing recognition of intrinsic awareness. Rinpoche will then give teachings on cutting through (trekchö) and leaping over (tögal) practices based on the direct instructions from his Gurus and his own meditative experiences. Finally, the enhancement techniques for exchanging samsara and nirvana (khorde rushen) will be imparted.

Required Participation:

Rinpoche would like to add depth to the Summer Retreat by having the participants live together and interact together for the retreat, allowing Rinpoche to teach higher and more in depth. Rinpoche has requested that the students attend the full retreat. If a participant can only come for 5 days that is acceptable to Rinpoche but they must pay the full retreat amount. No one will be allowed to come and go for the retreat.


Each person is guaranteed a bed. The first 10 people to register and complete payment in full will get first choice on single rooms. All others will share a double room.

Three vegetarian meals a day are included in the fee for the retreat. Meals will be provided by the Providence Zen Center staff. We will eat together as a group in the dining hall.

Please notify us if you have any health conditions, food allergies or food restrictions. The kitchen will try and accommodate these but please only mention true dietary needs since the kitchen needs to keep meals as simple as possible in order to accommodate such a large crowd.

Center will provide all cushions for practicing.
Not permitted on the grounds: meat, including fish and poultry; alcoholic beverages and illegal drugs; firearms. Pets are not allowed.

Registration (Pre-Registration is Required):

Register on-line at http://rimeshedrubling.net/2012retreatreg.html


Cost for the Retreat:

$900 for the week which includes: Housing, use of the grounds, 3 meals a day, Rinpoche’s fees, Tenzin’s fees, everything needed for retreat.  Teaching gifts are separate but optional.

People can pay full amount $900 (preferred) or 3 increments ($400, $250, $250).
As this retreat includes room and board we regret that we can not offer any discounts. Rinpoche has decided there can be no exceptions.

Initial deposit ($400) must be made by May 1st; Final deposit is due by June 1st.

Pay Online:

Dzogchen Retreat Payment Options

To pay by check:

Please make checks payable to Rime Shedrub Ling and mail your registration to:

Rime Shedrub Ling
PO Box 5113
Burlington, VT 05402

Click Here for: Mail-in Registration Form


Dekyong Lhamo (Sarah Snow), 802-448-0990
· info@RimeShedrubLing.net
· www.RimeShedrubLing.net


The Thirteenth Gate

Posted on Jan 31 , 2012 in Blog

By Tim Lerch JDPSN. Lerch Poep Sa Nim will be leading Kyol Che here at PZC from February 5th – 18th.


Student: I don’t like this kong-an that I have been working on. Every time I think about it I get angry and frustrated.

Tim Lerch JDPSN: Why are you dragging your corpse around?

Student: I don’t understand. I asked you about not liking my kong-an.

Tim Lerch JDPSN: Your kong-an is already teaching you that if you approach it using your habitual like and dislike thinking, the inevitable result is frustration and confusion, even anger. You also experience this in your everyday life, right?

Student: I guess so. Yes.

Tim Lerch JDPSN: Then you’re already dead! If you’re correctly working on your kong-an, then you aren’t in the realm of like or dislike. To work on a kong-an means to return to your don’t know mind. Don’t know is before like and dislike, before working or not working on a kong-an, before any opposites at all, even life and death.

When you are asked a kong-an and you hit the floor, at that moment you become one with the kong-an. You actually become one with the whole universe. That doesn’t have correct or incorrect, like or dislike. It’s already complete. There is incredible power in that moment of complete not knowing. When we return to don’t know, our job is always right in front of us. In fact our whole life is just that moment! But if we immediately re-enter the realm of like or dislike, then we can never find our job.

The “Mind Meal” of our school has 12 courses, 12 gates. These 12 gates are actually no different than our everyday life. This is what I call the 13th gate! That’s your moment-to-moment life. How do you respond to that kong-an? Do you like it? Do you dislike it? Do you dodge difficult situations? Do you try to create comfortable situations? Practicing helps us to see that the 13th gate is always right in front of us, but with this gate there isn’t a Zen master sitting across from us to verify whether or not we are correct. That’s when kong-an practice takes root, becomes real and is not just an exercise in how clever we can be. If we are willing to respond directly out of our intuition, our innate wisdom, then any kong-an is no problem. We may even become elated when we respond and really nail it. But on the other hand when we can’t answer clearly, how do we respond to that? Are we willing to completely not know?

Suppose someone you love is dying. That is a very difficult kong-an that we all face in our lives. There’s no one you can go to and say, “I’m sorry. but I really don’t like this kong-an that I have been given. My father is dying, but I think I would like to try another one. This one is too uncomfortable.” No one can take that kong-an away from you. You are working on it whether you like it or not. That is the real meaning of kong-an, whether you like it or not… it’s yours!


The Dogs of India

Posted on Jan 31 , 2012 in Blog

I went to India with members of the KUSZ for The Whole World Is a Single Flower Conference 2011, but what I remember most about the trip were the dogs. They were not like the dogs from back home.  They were gaunt and wary.  They did not run up to us, tails wagging, begging for attention and handouts.  They lived off the leavings of humanity, scavenging the piles of garbage on the street, sleeping in the alleyways and avoiding human contact, and ignored by humanity.  These were not dogs that were selectively bred by people to meet our needs or whims.  Their colors varied, but they were uniformly long legged and tailed with narrow heads and bodies and they resembled each other. Some of the dogs were nursing females, some had untreated mange, none of them looked directly at me, even though I tried to make eye contact.  They shared the same space, but not as companions or pets.

I remember sitting on a bench on the grounds of the Red Fort.  Near the bench was a half-opened bag, probably the remains of someone’s lunch.  A scrawny, black and white, nursing female, her liter hidden elsewhere, inched her way toward the bag, her eyes riveted on me.   I watched as she looked at me, her eyes tentative as if on high alert to avoid a kick.  There was no aggression in them, only caution.  I wondered where her liter was, and a feeling of sadness overwhelmed me as I imagined six, sausage-shaped puppies, waiting for their mother to return to feed them after her day of scavenging.

When we went to one of the many religious sites, another emaciated dog walked near us.  A uniformed guard kicked the dog off the stone walkway.  Several of the women in the group hovered around the dog petting it while others said “Leave it alone!  Leave it alone!” as though we might be somehow contaminated by its existence.  It would appear that dogs wander around, breeding randomly, asking no quarter and expecting none.  But not at the monasteries.  There it was different.

We walked on the grounds of a Vietnamese monastery and there were dogs, well fed and sleek, lying in the sun.  When we approached they looked directly at us with curiosity, not at all like the dogs on the streets that avoided eye contact while being very conscious of our presence. And in Dharmasala it was very different too. from the other places we had visited.  The dogs on the streets were well fed.  I saw Tibetan refugees  putting food out for them, and they would approach us without fear.  There were also little, fluffy dogs that were selectively bred, were pets and carried by Tibetan women in their colorful skirts and aprons.

Robin Hoffman, Ann Miller and I attended a Puja at a Tibetan Convent.  There were several dogs wandering on the grounds, friendly and well fed.  We were invited into the office as two of the dogs followed us though the open door.  No attempt was  made by the nuns to shoo the dogs out and the animals apparently were quite used to being there. One of the nuns announced proudly that the dogs were “ brothers”.  The compassion of the monastics spilled out onto the grounds and spread over the stray dogs living nearby.  I continued to be awed by the monks and nuns who had dedicated their lives to the spiritual path.  They have my unbounded respect and gratitude.

When I returned home I was met at the door by Misha, my son’s 60-pound Shepherd mix and Ocean, my little Corgi/Dachshund puppy.  They barked, jumped up tails wagging  frantically, trying to push each other out of the way to gain my attention.  As I stroked Ocean’s sleek coat and rubbed her round, little belly my thoughts wandered back to the Red Fort and the black and white dog with the wary eyes.  I wondered how she and her liter were faring.  Kwan Seum Bosal.

– Diana Starr Daniels, PZC Member



Kong-an: Don’t Know

Posted on Jan 28 , 2012 in Blog

Don’t Know  

Knowing is originally knowing Don’t Know
Don’t Know knowing is knowing
Today we transfer this Don’t Know
Four times five is twenty

1.  What is “Don’t Know?
2. “Know” and Don’t Know,” are they one  or two?
3. “Four times five is twenty.”  What does this mean?


Knowing Don’t Know- just that is seeing true nature.  Human beings know too much, and are thus hindered by what they know.  As the saying goes, ” Many people all over the world know, but how many truly understand?”  If you can put down your views, opinions, and understanding,then the truth just appears right in front of you.

From ww.buddhism.org


Vulture Peak Dharma Talk by Zen Master Bon Haeng

Posted on Jan 20 , 2012 in Blog

Climbing up to Vulture Peak before sunrise visiting the famous place where the Buddha taught and Zen has its origin. Dharma talk from Zen Master Bon Haeng. From The Whole World is a Single Flower Tour, India 2011 (Part 5: Rajgir, Vulture Peak)