Zen Mind

Zen Mind

Zenki Christian Dillo Roshi is the Guiding Teacher at the Boulder Zen Center in Colorado, USA. This podcast shares the regular dharma talks given at the Center. Zenki Roshi approaches Zen practice as a craft of transformation, liberation, wisdom, and compassionate action. His interest is to bring Buddhism alive within Western cultural horizons while staying committed to the traditional emphasis on embodied practice.

Episodes

February 21, 2024 46 mins

This talk kicks off a lecture series on Dogen's most celebrated writing, the Genjo Koan. It explores the meaning of the title phrase, which informs the entire text. GEN means to appear, JO means to complete. KO can be understood as the universal, while AN points to what is particular and unique. So GENJO KOAN means: to complete what appears as simultaneously universal and unique. As a practice, the Genjo Koan asks us to realiz...

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This talk was given as an opening talk for the 2024 Boulder Zen Center - Everyday Zen Practice Period (Jan 20 - April 13). It discusses the concept and tradition of 'Three-Month Practice Periods' and explores how to go beyond the value judgments implicit in the Lay/Monastic distinction. At the root of all transformative practice is the sincere, committed search for an appropriate way of life. This is the Bodhisattva Way. ...

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January 24, 2024 46 mins

This talk explores how in times of crisis we can feel shaken by an experiences of groundlessness, and how we try to maintain and hold onto a sense of self as a defense against such groundlessness. We also employ language and understanding for that purpose of illusory grounding. Zen is not about perfecting our sense of self or our conceptual understanding; it is a practice of continuous opening to change and disturbance. The world i...

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January 10, 2024 51 mins

The philosopher Hannah Arendt considered the "capacity to begin anew" the essence of being human. This talk, given on the day before New Year's Eve, weaves our longing for new beginnings together with Buddhist notions of continuous birth and beginner's mind, and with practices of forgetting and forgiving. The talk ends with a reflection of how renewed intentions, purpose, and meaning can appear in our lives when...

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December 27, 2023 66 mins

This talk is a wide-ranging exploration of seemingly disparate topics such as 'a life lived authentically," subjectivity vs. objectivity, truth, spiritual awakening, transcendence, and the postmodern condition. It starts with a statement by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, "When you become you, Zen becomes Zen. When you are you, you see things as they are, and you become one with your surroundings." It explores notions of ...

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December 13, 2023 47 mins

This talk was given as part of a weekend zazen intensive. Based on the opening paragraphs of Dogen's fascicle 'Zenki' (Undivided Activity), the talk explores the Buddhist views of interdependence and field of mind and gives pointers for how to verify them in one's own experience.

Welcome to Zen Mind!

Please consider donating to our annual fundraiser.

Love the dharma talks and want to h...

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November 29, 2023 47 mins

Given during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, this talk explores the experience and practice of gratitude. Gratitude is the appreciation of that which nourishes and sustains us. Bowing is an expression of such gratitude. We can practice bowing to our parents and ancestors acknowledging the gift of life that has come to us through them. As we bow to the Buddha, we bow to the matrix of interdependence that brings forth this very mom...

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November 13, 2023 53 mins

This talk introduces the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts ahead of an annual Precepts Initiation Ceremony at Boulder Zen Center. It presents the precepts as a pragmatic approach to practicing an ethical life that avoids the extremes of universalism and relativism. The precepts can be understood and practiced on three levels: (1) guarding against self-centeredness, (2) balancing the needs of self and other, and (3) realizing intimacy.

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September 27, 2023 44 mins

This talk explores how to make use of the turning phrase "No inside, no outside." A turning phrase is a verbal expression that can transform our sense of self and being in the world. The phrase is held in mind as an antidote to culturally or personally ingrained views. When we investigate common sense distinctions such as internal/external and self/other, we come face to face with our tendency to objectify what is perceiv...

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September 20, 2023 45 mins

This talk is about one of the most common questions among practitioners — "How do I bring practice into my everyday life?" The answer is simple but the practice is not easy — "Stay present.” It starts out with an example that presents anxiety and worrying as a habit that is rooted in a defense against anxiety. Physical, emotional, and mental behaviors can all become habits with addictive qualities when they are emplo...

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September 6, 2023 48 mins

This talk was given as an introduction to a Weekend Seminar titled "An Appropriate Response," which is a well-known Zen phrase Master Yunmen gave as an answer to a question about the teachings the Buddha offered over the course of his lifetime. The talk explores how Yunmen could have answered by explaining Buddhism through its main views, its core practices, or its expected fruits. Instead, Yunmen bypasses all forms of ex...

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August 31, 2023 33 mins

This bonus episode is our first Ask Me Anything (AMA) with Zenki Roshi. Each month, Zenki Roshi will answer 3 questions that have been submitted by our listeners. You may submit your questions via email at office@boulderzen.org.

Future AMA episodes will be published as a part of our Premium Podcast. If you would like to support the podcast and gain access to these monthly AMA episodes, as well as recordings of the Q&A ...

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Traditional Buddhism doesn't explicitly address the topic of meaning. But for us contemporary Westerners, meaning is an important topic. Living a meaningful life includes such things as purpose, values, ethics, and the significance of life events. An important insight is that meaning is not be found within the "self," which from a Buddhist point of view doesn't exist in an individualized, permanent fashion. Rath...

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This talk explores birth and death as a practice of moment-to-moment change—in addition to birth and death as biological events. While it appears situations come and go and beings are born and die, things ultimately don't come into and go out of existence. Instead, everything is a continually changing expression of what Dogen calls "undivided activity"—everything-all-at-once coming together and manifesting as this mo...

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This talk continues the exploration of everyday life practice as a dance of form and emptiness. The focus is on the contradiction yet undividedness of order and chaos in work activities (such as sweeping), in the mind (as clarity and discursiveness), and in how we organize time (schedule and spontaneity).

Welcome to Zen Mind!

Please consider donating to our annual fundraiser.

Love the dharma talks and wan...

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What if we stopped trying to dispel disturbance, confusion, and crisis from our experience and, instead, made use of these unwanted mind states as gates to appreciating our lives as a continual dance of form (fixations) and emptiness (radical openness)? This talk provides an initial conceptual understanding of emptiness as change, interdependence, and non-self. As always, intellectual study is not enough. So how can we use everyday...

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June 28, 2023 54 mins

This talk was given as the public portion of a Weekend Workshop, during which a number of Boulder Zen Center practitioners came together to prepare for a Bodhisattva Precepts Initiation Ceremony. The Bodhisattva precepts are a practice of investigating one's ethical conduct based on the principle of doing no harm. In the midst of our everyday activity, what does it mean to vow to do no harm? And what is the relationship betwee...

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This talk explores the relevance of a practice and culture of transformation in the face of an ecological crisis that will more likely than not lead to a severe degradation of living conditions, especially for future generations. How will we respond pragmatically, compassionately, and responsibly to this crisis? And how will we maintain self-respect and dignity in the midst of our actions? The talk highlights the pivotal importance...

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May 31, 2023 38 mins

The freedom we can realize through Zen practice (or any existentially honest spiritual practice) manifests not so much through THE CONTENT of our experience but through HOW WE RELATE to our experience. This HOW is a fundamental attitude—an attitude that expresses itself throughout our lives. This talk uses Master Yunmen's teaching phrase" Every Day is a Good Day" as well as a couple of expressions by Shunryu Suzuki R...

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May 17, 2023 59 mins

This talk explores the distinction between two perspectives on our human existence: aliveness and life. Aliveness is this here-now moment unfolding as ever-changing sensorial contents within a field of mind. Our life, in contrast, can be understood as the result of a weaving of past and future into a life story. The unsatisfactory nature of our life presents us with the question and task of how to give aliveness to our life. In oth...

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