The Zen Studies Podcast

Recent Episodes

26 – Work as Spiritual Practice According to Dogen’s “Instructions to the Cook” – Part 2

This episode is part 2 of “Work as Spiritual Practice According to Dogen’s “Instructions to the Cook.” (“Instructions to the Cook” is an essay Dogen in 1237, known as the Tenzokyokun in Japanese – the head cook of the monastery is called a “tenzo.”) In the last episode, I introduced you to the concept of work practice and how it came to be so important in Zen. I also talked about the central teachings Dogen offers regarding work practice,...

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25 – Work as Spiritual Practice According to Dogen’s “Instructions to the Cook” – Part 1

Most people are aware that Zen involves meditation. Many are also aware – especially if they’ve spent any time practicing at a temple or Zen center – that it involves following a set of moral guidelines called the precepts. Fewer people are familiar with the way Zen demands that we engage our everyday activities, particularly work, as spiritual practice. Few writings describe Zen work practice as well as Zen master Dogen’s “Tenzokyokun,” or...

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8 – It-with-a-Capital-I: The Zen Version of God

Zen Buddhism is a non-theistic religious tradition. However, it's not entirely correct to say that there is no God in Zen. While we don’t conceive of, or worship, an omnipotent personification of the Divine, at the heart of our tradition is the teaching that reality itself is luminous, precious, and infused with compassion. We don’t ascribe an agenda, personality, or gender to That-Which-Is-Greater, but we long to live in harmony with It, and personally experience intimacy with It. These longings infuse our spiritual practice with meaning.

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