Gail Sher • Dharma Talks

Lay Zen: Entering the Mind of the Way

Lay Zen: Entering the Mind of the Way

These talks, drawn from Suzuki-roshi’s texts, are dedicated to those who live in the world but deep down find such questions as “who am I” and “what does my life mean” very concerning. You are not among the ones who rarely ask such questions, and not among the monks who organize their lives around them. I use the word “lay” to emphasize the fact that the thoughts and yearnings of your hearts, like those of monks, need to be recognized even though you have not chosen to be cloistered.

First Talk: Why do we practice Zen when we already have Buddha nature?

The Buddha nature which you think you already have within yourself is not Buddha nature. When you become yourself or when you forget all about yourself and say ‘Yes!’ that is Buddha nature.

Date/Time: January 17, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

Second Talk: Problems in Practice

You might think you could practice zazen much better if you had no problem, but actually some problem is necessary. It doesn’t have to be a big one.

Date/Time: January 24, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

Recording unavailable.

Third Talk: Food & “Food Trips”

If you want to control your desires, you will struggle with how much to limit your desires or your food and in that way you will make more problems, one after another.

Date/Time: January 31, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

Fourth Talk: Like Feeling for Your Pillow in the Dark

To open to your innate nature and to feel something from the bottom of your heart, it is necessary to remain silent. Through this kind of practice you will have a more intuitive understanding of the teaching. Not to talk does not mean to be deaf and dumb, but to listen to your intuition.

Date/Time: February 7, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

Fifth Talk: Now What?

That question expresses intelligence and wakefulness. It means the possibility of further learning is taking place.

Date/Time: February 14, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

Sixth Talk: When you see someone practicing sincerely, you see yourself…

When you are struck by something, that is actually the real you. Tentatively I say ‘you,’ but that you is the pure experience of our practice. As long as you are trying to improve yourself, you have a core idea of self which is wrong practice. That is not the practice we mean.

Date/Time: February 21, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

seventh Talk: When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment of time.

“Why give up your own seat and wander about in the dusty realms of foreign countries?” Dogen Zenji asked. “When we are sightseeing we are involved in an idea of hasty attainment. Our way is to go step by step appreciating our everyday life. Then we can see what we are doing where we are.”

Date/Time: February 28, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

Eighth Talk: Warm-hearted Mind

If a baby smiles, its mother will smile. If a baby cries, its mother is worried. That kind of close relationship, being one with your practice, is the point.

Date/Time: March 7, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Duration: 60 minutes

Ninth Talk: I-don’t-know Zen

Our mind is open to everything, so it is big enough to know before we know something. We are grateful even before we have something.

Date/Time: March 14, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PDT)

Duration: 60 minutes

Tenth Talk: Buddha Left This Teaching Just For Me, Not For Anyone Else

Even though your practice is not so good, that is perfect practice.

Date/Time: March 21, 2021 | 10:00 a.m. (PDT)

Duration: 60 minutes