Everything is Possible!

Since our last update, Thay has been able to communicate more clearly a very strong wish to intensify his recovery program. Thay is very determined to do everything possible to recover both his physical movement and speech. After many options were presented to Thay, he made a clear decision to travel to the United States to receive a more intensive rehabilitation program that could be specifically adapted to his needs.


We are happy to report that Thay arrived safely on the West Coast of the United States on the afternoon of July 11. In order to make the flight as safe as possible for Thay, he was flown in a private jet, generously offered by a kind friend. He was accompanied by Sister Chan Khong and the team of attendants who will be continuing their round-the-clock care for him during this new stage of recovery. Thay’s rehabilitation will be guided by a team of distinguished neurologists specializing in stroke and cognitive rehabilitation at UCSF Medical Center.

Read full article!

Orientación en línea de Meditación Zen

Si has estado explorando el Budismo y la Meditación Zen y te estás preguntando cómo dar el siguiente paso en la práctica del camino del Zen, no busques más. Esta orientación en línea a los recursos del zen se han creado para ayudarte a desarrollar una práctica Zen consistente y estable, no importa dónde te encuentres.

(Serie de 14 videos. Disponible solamente en inglés. ¿No hablas inglés? … Deberías de aprender ya!)

Una vez que el programa de cuatro semanas se haya completado, el conocimiento para la práctica del Zen físicamente en el zendo deberán estar bien establecidos para que puedas comenzar la práctica formal en Zenwest, la experiencia se gana a través de la práctica, también te facilitará la entrada en prácticamente cualquier otro Centro Zen o grupo Zen que tu elijas para participar.


37 – Simple Practice – Tuesday May 27, 2014

If you have been exploring Buddhism and Zen Meditation and are wondering how to take the next step on the path of Zen Practice, look no further. Our Online Orientation to Zen resources have been created to help you develop a consistent and stable Zen practice, no matter where you are.

For details: zenwest

Orientation to Zen 01 – Zazen (Zen Meditation)

Instruction on posture and technique for Zen meditation practice (zazen). The first video in Zenwest Buddhist Society’s Orientation to Zen Buddhist Practice Online Course. For details: zenwest


La Atención Consciente – mindfulness segun John Kabat Zinn

“Prestar atención de manera intencional al momento presente, sin juzgar”
Este tipo de atención nos permite aprender a relacionarnos de forma directa con aquello que está ocurriendo en nuestra vida, aquí y ahora, en el momento presente. Es una forma de tomar conciencia de nuestra realidad, dándonos la oportunidad de trabajar concientemente con nuestro estrés, dolor, enfermedad, pérdida o con los desafíos de nuestra vida. En contraposición, una vida en la que no ponemos atención, en la que nos encontramos más preocupados por lo que ocurrió o por lo que aun no ha ocurrido, nos conduce al descuido, el olvido y al aislamiento, reaccionando de manera automática y desadaptativa.

En una inteligente fusión entre ciencia, poesía y espiritualidad, Kabat-Zinn nos enseña que la meditación nunca es lo que uno piensa (piense uno lo que piense) y que en nuestra sociedad compleja y caótica la práctica de la atención de una manera lúcida, sabia y efectiva ya no es un lujo, sino una necesidad para nuestra salud emocional, física y espiritual. Jon Kabat-Zinn, autor del best-seller Vivir con plenitud las crisis, se ha hecho mundialmente famoso por introducir la técnica budista de la atención plena (mindfulness) para ayudar a sobrellevar el estrés y el dolor de la enfermedad. Centra en el poder transformador de la atención plena en nuestras vidas, tanto en nuestra dimensión más íntima como en la social. Describe cómo podemos conferir verdadero valor al momento presente y autorrealizarnos como seres humanos con la práctica de la meditación. En último término, el propósito de La práctica de la Atención Plena o mindfulness consiste en despertar en nosotros todo el potencial de un don que la mayoría infravaloramos: la sensibilidad.

Extraido del libro: «Vivir con plenitud las crisis»

Autor: Jon Kabat Zinn

Fuente: Respira Vida Breathworks

Zazen (Zen Meditation)

At the heart of Zen training is zazen, or seated meditation. Here at Yokoji we sit zazen on a daily basis year round—check the schedule and join us when you can.

Through the practice of sitting quietly, the mind reflects one’s environment and the self that is based on thought and description can be lost. This experience of reality is direct and intimate. Tenshin Roshi and Keizan Sensei co-wrote a book called Way of Zen which says this about zazen:

In our daily lives, zazen provides us with a situation in which we can remove ourselves from external acivities, turn our activity inward, and face ourselves. Zazen is not about achieving some particular state of consciousness. Rather, it is about discovering who you are and what your life is.

Zazen can be practiced by anyone, at any time. It is best practiced in a quiet space, using one of the postures shown. The video on this page shows all the different zazen postures and gives basic instruction as to how to sit. By sitting correctly and comfortably, it allows both body and mind to settle down. A core practice of zazen, is either counting or following the breath. The breath functions as a natural anchor point to come back to when the mind wanders. The practice of counting or following the breath is often given to beginners but it is not limited to those new to the practice—the sensation of breath entering and leaving your body will be with you your whole life. You can always return to the breath.

There are two main practices associated with Zen—Koan and Shikantaza. Koan is a Japanese word, from the Chinese gong’an, and literally means «public case», from the time in China when magistrates would travel from village to village to settle disputes. Like a legal precedent, koans establish a standard of insight and understanding that must be matched by the student. A second meaning of the term koan, is to make even that which is uneven. Koans work by revealing to a student the gaps in their understanding of reality, and by looking into the question, the gap can be bridged, and reality and understanding made to match-up seamlessly. One famous example of Koan is Hakuin’s «What is the sound of one hand?» Another example is from Master Joshu: «A monk asked Joshu, ‘Does a dog have Buddha nature or not?’ Joshu replied, ‘Mu.'»

Shikantaza is another Japanese word that means «just sit hit mind». This is the direct experience of the reality of this moment, over and over. The practice is to return repeatedly to the direct experience of whatever is coming in, whatever is «hitting» the mind. It might be the breath, the sound of the birds outside, or the cars and people of a city, the light shifting below your gaze or physical sensations in your body. The mind does not need pointing in any direction, it naturally is all these things and awareness shifts accordingly. The trick is to stay focused rather than drifting off in to thought and fantasy. The abbot at Yokoji, Tenshin Roshi, is a master of both koan and shikantaza and uses both in his teaching.

Source: ZMC.org

The Miracle of Mindfulness

A pioneer in bringing mindfulness to the West, Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has inspired generations of people to learn to live with peace and joy, fully awake to the present moment.

Nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us that the way to peace and happiness is through personal transformation, and that mindfulness is the key.

This fall of 2015 we invite you to join Thich Nhat Hanh’s community of over 70 monks and nuns on retreat, at public talks, and for single-day events, where you can experience the miracle of mindfulness for yourself. Each event provides an opportunity to learn the art of mindfulness, to deepen your mindfulness training, and to taste the joy and peace of practicing as a community.

This tour we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Thich Nhat Hanh’s first book on the practice of mindfulness, the bestselling “The Miracle of Mindfulness,” which continues to be timely and relevant today. Originally written in Vietnamese in 1974 as a long letter to young social workers facing difficult and stressful circumstances during the Vietnam War, his simple mindfulness practices still show all of us how we can maintain calmness and awareness amidst active daily lives.

In November 2014, Thich Nhat Hanh, now aged 88, suffered a stroke, from which he is slowly and miraculously recovering. It has been his aspiration to build a “beloved community,” a shared dream he and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. discussed in their last meeting. With eleven monasteries, over 600 monks and nuns, 1,000 local mindfulness practice communities, and tens of thousands of students worldwide, that “beloved community” is alive today, applying Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings on mindfulness, peacemaking, and community-building in homes, schools, and businesses throughout the world.

Join us this fall, and learn from Thich Nhat Hanh’s beloved community how you can bring the miracle of mindfulness into your daily life.

Events taking place in New York, Mississippi, and California.

Source: Medium

12 Essential Rules to Live More Like a Zen Monk

“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I’m not a Zen monk, nor will I ever become one. However, I find great inspiration in the way they try to live their lives: the simplicity of their lives, the concentration and mindfulness of every activity, the calm and peace they find in their days.

You probably don’t want to become a Zen monk either, but you can live your life in a more Zen-like manner by following a few simple rules.

Why live more like a Zen monk? Because who among us can’t use a little more concentration, tranquility, and mindfulness in our lives? Because Zen monks for hundreds of years have devoted their lives to being present in everything they do, to being dedicated and to serving others. Because it serves as an example for our lives, and whether we ever really reach that ideal is not the point.

One of my favorite Zen monks, Thich Nhat Hanh, simplified the rules in just a few words: “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” It doesn’t get any better than that.

However, for those who would like a little more detail, I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve discovered to work very well in my experiments with Zen-like living. I am no Zen master … I am not even a Zen Buddhist. However, I’ve found that there are certain principles that can be applied to any life, no matter what your religious beliefs or what your standard of living.

“Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.” – Shunryu Suzuki

1. Do one thing at a time. This rule (and some of the others that follow) will be familiar to long-time Zen Habits readers. It’s part of my philosophy, and it’s also a part of the life of a Zen monk: single-task, don’t multi-task. When you’re pouring water, just pour water. When you’re eating, just eat. When you’re bathing, just bathe. Don’t try to knock off a few tasks while eating or bathing. Zen proverb: “When walking, walk. When eating, eat.”

2. Do it slowly and deliberately. You can do one task at a time, but also rush that task. Instead, take your time, and move slowly. Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random. It takes practice, but it helps you focus on the task.

3. Do it completely. Put your mind completely on the task. Don’t move on to the next task until you’re finished. If, for some reason, you have no choice but to move on to something else, try to at least put away the unfinished task and clean up after yourself. If you prepare a sandwich, don’t start eating it until you’ve put away the stuff you used to prepare it, wiped down the counter, and washed the dishes used for preparation. Then you’re done with that task, and can focus more completely on the next task.

4. Do less. A Zen monk doesn’t lead a lazy life: he wakes early and has a day filled with work. However, he doesn’t have an unending task list either — there are certain things he’s going to do today, and no more. If you do less, you can do those things more slowly, more completely and with more concentration. If you fill your day with tasks, you will be rushing from one thing to the next without stopping to think about what you do.

5. Put space between things. Related to the “Do less” rule, but it’s a way of managing your schedule so that you always have time to complete each task. Don’t schedule things close together — instead, leave room between things on your schedule. That gives you a more relaxed schedule, and leaves space in case one task takes longer than you planned.

6. Develop rituals. Zen monks have rituals for many things they do, from eating to cleaning to meditation. Ritual gives something a sense of importance — if it’s important enough to have a ritual, it’s important enough to be given your entire attention, and to be done slowly and correctly. You don’t have to learn the Zen monk rituals — you can create your own, for the preparation of food, for eating, for cleaning, for what you do before you start your work, for what you do when you wake up and before you go to bed, for what you do just before exercise. Anything you want, really.

7. Designate time for certain things. There are certain times in the day of a Zen monk designated for certain activities. A time for for bathing, a time for work, a time for cleaning, a time for eating. This ensures that those things get done regularly. You can designate time for your own activities, whether that be work or cleaning or exercise or quiet contemplation. If it’s important enough to do regularly, consider designating a time for it.

8. Devote time to sitting. In the life of a Zen monk, sitting meditation (zazen) is one of the most important parts of his day. Each day, there is time designated just for sitting. This meditation is really practice for learning to be present. You can devote time for sitting meditation, or do what I do: I use running as a way to practice being in the moment. You could use any activity in the same way, as long as you do it regularly and practice being present.

9. Smile and serve others. Zen monks spend part of their day in service to others, whether that be other monks in the monastery or people on the outside world. It teaches them humility, and ensures that their lives are not just selfish, but devoted to others. If you’re a parent, it’s likely you already spend at least some time in service to others in your household, and non-parents may already do this too. Similarly, smiling and being kind to others can be a great way to improve the lives of those around you. Also consider volunteering for charity work.

10. Make cleaning and cooking become meditation. Aside from the zazen mentioned above, cooking and cleaning are two of the most exalted parts of a Zen monk’s day. They are both great ways to practice mindfulness, and can be great rituals performed each day. If cooking and cleaning seem like boring chores to you, try doing them as a form of meditation. Put your entire mind into those tasks, concentrate, and do them slowly and completely. It could change your entire day (as well as leave you with a cleaner house).

11. Think about what is necessary. There is little in a Zen monk’s life that isn’t necessary. He doesn’t have a closet full of shoes, or the latest in trendy clothes. He doesn’t have a refrigerator and cabinets full of junk food. He doesn’t have the latest gadgets, cars, televisions, or iPod. He has basic clothing, basic shelter, basic utensils, basic tools, and the most basic food (they eat simple, vegetarian meals consisting usually of rice, miso soup, vegetables, and pickled vegetables). Now, I’m not saying you should live exactly like a Zen monk — I certainly don’t. But it does serve as a reminder that there is much in our lives that aren’t necessary, and it can be useful to give some thought about what we really need, and whether it is important to have all the stuff we have that’s not necessary.

12. Live simply. The corollary of Rule 11 is that if something isn’t necessary, you can probably live without it. And so to live simply is to rid your life of as many of the unnecessary and unessential things as you can, to make room for the essential. Now, what is essential will be different to each person. For me, my family, my writing, my running and my reading are essential. To others, yoga and spending time with close friends might be essential. For others it will be nursing and volunteering and going to church and collecting comic books. There is no law saying what should be essential for you — but you should consider what is most important to your life, and make room for that by eliminating the other less essential things in your life.

“Before enlightenment chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” – Wu Li

Source: Leo Babauta ~ zenhabits.net