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Recognize this image? Alarming, disturbing, or plain out wrong? This is the posture of oppression. It doesn't feel good. And yet, we may have this going on inside our heads. The Inner Critic. The voice continously, harshly criticizing everything from our looks, behviours, dress, values, goals and aspirations.

On Thursday using his humor, charisma, and heartfelt honesty Soten helped us recognize how the critic functions in our lives.


This Summer’s Breeze Bellows Briskly and Full


The Summer Breeze resounds through Great Vow Monastery as the Summer Training Period turns over another month.

Hogen Roshi ‘s voice permeated throughout the Dharma Hall as we opened the July Period this Tuesday evening—

“What we put our life energy into matters,…for our lives are shaped by the way we continue to direct our attention.”


Absorbing World Sounds

Zen teacher-deejay-percussionist Adam Jogen Salzberg led an evening of deep listening meditation at Heart of Wisdom. He wove soundscapes to encourage full immersion into the depth and beauty of music and led toning practices to unlock and merge the body's own resonance. 


The Dragons' Roar

"By our age, we have acquired skills," Mushin said to a zendo full of Silver Dragons. "We're even masters in our fields. But we're amateurs at being old. Old is the new new. Old is the new now."

Simply Sit

Great Vow welcomed the inimitable Keith Dowman to lead a meditation retreat on "The Perfection of Passion" in the Tibetan Dzogchen style.

The Sound That Hears Itself

Tick, tock. Tick, Tock.
I can barely make it out below the rustling when it dissolves into the clang and clatter of dishes passed, food glopped into waiting bowls, a jar scrrrrrrraped across the table, the CRICK of a chair. Beneath the breakfast melody, a bass long tone hmmmmm from the tea area. Winged flutes trill outside. A drumroll crescendos high above. 

As Real as a Dream

"Let's dream this dream together." Seido closed her eyes. Gathered in the cave-like library in the heart of the residents' sleeping hall, we settled into a scene of ancient ruins presented in the dream.

New Dharma Holders

To acknowledge their powerful longtime contributions to ZCO and encourage their abilities in teaching, Laura Jomon Martin and Ed Gensho Welsh received the title of Dharma Holders and symbolic purple Rakusus. 


The Great Matter

A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, a flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream. So is this fleeting world. -The Diamond Sutra


Nourishing the Hungry Heart

Chozen Roshi, Master Food Eater, guided a brimming room through a weekend retreat on learning to Eat Mindfully at Great Vow. And I say learning because, as Chozen stressed, "Real, lasting change comes from baby steps repeated over and over. It doesn't come from a revelation."