Peter’s Teachings

Searching for the ox

Searching for the ox

02.25.2015  |  Comments Off on Searching for the ox

The ox-herding pictures have been around for about 1,000 years. Sometimes there are ten in a set, sometimes five or six. However many, they’re typically understood to represent stages of development in practice ... Continue Reading »

Where did the wild geese go?

Where did the wild geese go?

06.08.2014  |  Comments Off on Where did the wild geese go?

Fukushima roshi said Zen could be called the religion that teaches the self. I return to this question - what is the self? - over and over, asking "Who am I really? What ... Continue Reading »

The whole universe tastes like chocolate

The whole universe tastes like chocolate

12.01.2013  |  Comments Off on The whole universe tastes like chocolate

From the Zen point of view, when you bite into a chunk of chocolate, the whole universe tastes like chocolate. This isn’t because the chocolate is so delicious that it’s deliciousness crowds out ... Continue Reading »

Creatures of habit

Creatures of habit

11.13.2013  |  Comments Off on Creatures of habit

A lot of what’s written about Zen is about the experience of enlightenment, also called awakening. Soto Zen is called a practice of gradual awakening and Rinzai Zen is called a practice of ... Continue Reading »

Breath

Breath

10.01.2013  |  Comments Off on Breath

In zazen, breath is an important teacher. One of the first things you learn in zazen is to concentrate on your breath in a steady way. Learning to concentrate on anything in a ... Continue Reading »

The Conference of the Birds

The Conference of the Birds

08.20.2013  |  Comments Off on The Conference of the Birds

I recently saw an extraordinary video art installation created by the contemporary Iranian artist Morteza Ahmadvand. It’s title – “Simorgh” - is drawn from a famous Persian epic poem entitled “The Conference of ... Continue Reading »

Precepts and vows

Precepts and vows

08.15.2013  |  Comments Off on Precepts and vows

Buddhists tend to take lots of vows, often out loud and in public. This isn’t something uniquely Buddhist. It seems to be a human habit. People find it useful to articulate their deepest ... Continue Reading »

Home-leaving while at home

Home-leaving while at home

05.23.2013  |  Comments Off on Home-leaving while at home

“Home-leaving” is the Buddhist term for taking up monastic life. You give up your family of origin and join a sangha of monks or nuns as your primary family and this spiritual family ... Continue Reading »

The self is like Los Angeles

The self is like Los Angeles

05.22.2013  |  Comments Off on The self is like Los Angeles

“Who am I?” Everyone wonders about this question at some point. For Buddhists, one angle on an answer is in the Pali word “anatta,” usually translated to mean there’s really no such thing ... Continue Reading »

Tofu or beef?

Tofu or beef?

04.05.2013  |  Comments Off on Tofu or beef?

When someone asks, “How’s it going?” we usually say something like “Not too bad,” or “Pretty good.” My grandpa, in his 90’s, would say, “Good, considering the alternative.” We make comparisons. We think ... Continue Reading »