Upaya Zen Center podcasts

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Upaya Zen Center's Dharma Podcast
The Upaya Dharma Podcast features Wednesday evening Dharma Talks and recordings from Upaya’s diverse array of programs. Our podcasts exemplify Upaya’s focus on socially engaged Buddhism, including prison work, end-of-life care, serving the homeless, training in socially engaged practices, peace & nonviolence, compassionate care training, and delivering healthcare in the Himalayas.
Updated: 12 hours 50 min ago

Joshin Byrnes & Genzan Quennell: The Continuing Stories of the Lotus Sutra Part II

April 15, 2019 - 4:00am

Senseis Joshin Byrnes and Genzan Quennell relay the stories of Devadatta and the Dragon Girl, two stories which both make the inclusive point that everyone will become a Buddha someday. Devadatta is the story of a disciple who attains Buddhahood even after attempting to assassinate the Buddha. The Dragon Girl is a story of an eight-year-old dragon-girl who attains complete enlightenment as a result of her compassion, wisdom, and virtue. Both stories challenge conventional notions of who might become a Buddha, people such as assassins, enemies, and those who are devalued in our society are all equally capable. As Genzan says of the Dragon Girl Story, “The instant that you raise the aspiration for enlightenment: bodhicitta, helping others, forgetting about your petty little worldview, and giving your life to the service of others. —The moment that you raise that bodhicitta, the enlightened mind arises.”

Sensei Joshin Byrnes

Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center and directs Upaya's Chaplaincy Training program. He is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax,...
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Sensei Genzan Quennell

Sensei Genzan Quennell began practicing zen in 1991 in Los Angeles, California.  In 2008, while on pilgrimage to the temples associated with Eihei Dogen in China and Japan, he met...
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Joshin Byrnes & Genzan Quennell: Zazenkai: The Parable of the Burning House

April 11, 2019 - 11:30am

In acknowledgment of global warming, Senseis Joshin Byrnes and Genzan Quennell briefly describe a “world on fire.” Genzan uses this description to relate a different story, the Parable of the Burning House, to our current lives. The story has to do with children, unaware that they are playing in a burning house of suffering. The Buddha sees the suffering and uses expedient, skillful means to save the children. Sensei Genzan discusses ways that you can escape from such a burning house, “remind yourself that you’re a Buddha, and see others as Buddha, and see your situation as a Buddha-land.” Sensei Joshin discusses three criteria for skillful means: 1. Appropriate actions, which allow others to flourish; 2. Attuning to the situation at hand; and, 3. Effectiveness, or, a commitment to accountability.

Sensei Joshin Byrnes

Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center and directs Upaya's Chaplaincy Training program. He is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax,...
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Sensei Genzan Quennell

Sensei Genzan Quennell began practicing zen in 1991 in Los Angeles, California.  In 2008, while on pilgrimage to the temples associated with Eihei Dogen in China and Japan, he met...
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Joshin Byrnes & Genzan Quennell: The Continuing Stories of the Lotus Sutra Part I

April 8, 2019 - 4:00am

As a welcome and introduction to Spring Practice Period, Senseis Joshin Byrnes and Genzan Quennell invite practitioners to step out of the hustle and bustle of everyday, conventional life and to practice deepening their spiritual practice by being together in community. They also introduce the Lotus Sutra, an enchanting text fundamental to Mahayana Buddhism. Sensei Joshin explains, “The Sutra starts out saying that this very world, all of it, is a world of enchantment. That the things we touch, the places we sit, the people we meet, the things we hear, the flowers we smell —all of it— is this world that opens up other worlds.” Sensei Genzan offers additional commentary on The Sutra; he discusses its relationship to space, time, and being, and he concludes with heartwarming words on relationality and a beautiful poem by Kenji Miyazawa titled, “Strong in the Rain.”

Sensei Joshin Byrnes

Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center and directs Upaya's Chaplaincy Training program. He is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan Halifax,...
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Sensei Genzan Quennell

Sensei Genzan Quennell began practicing zen in 1991 in Los Angeles, California.  In 2008, while on pilgrimage to the temples associated with Eihei Dogen in China and Japan, he met...
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Matthew Kozan Palevsky: Only a Buddha and a Buddha

April 1, 2019 - 4:00am

Matthew Kozan Palevsky invites us to look at the relationship between samu, or work practice, and the experience of being a Buddha. He says, “Only a Buddha and a Buddha is a practice of being in the world as things are. It’s sitting zazen, it’s walking through an aspen grove, and it’s the whole world as samu.” Kozan uses the work of Zen Master Dogen, Roshis John Daido Loori and Joan Halifax, and Sensei Kathie Fischer in order to look at samu as a way of being in relationship, as a way of identifying impediments to practice, and as a way to see our work as our self.

Matthew Kozan Palevsky
President

Matthew Kozan Palevsky first traveled to Upaya in 2006 for a weeklong silent retreat, or sesshin. He returned eight years later to join the resident body and was ordained as a novice priest by...
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Hozan Alan Senauke: The Three Treasures—Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Radical Buddhism and Beloved Community

March 25, 2019 - 4:00am

Sensei Alan Senauke explores the Three Treasures through the life and work of an Indian activist, Dr. Ambekar, and particularly through the context of a politically motivated Buddhist conversion movement that he founded meant to dismantle the country’s caste system. Sensei Alan invites us to see the concepts of liberty, equality, and fraternity as synonymous with Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, also known as the Three Treasures. As Dr. Ambekar put it, “positively, my social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: liberty, equality, and fraternity… My philosophy has its roots in religion and not in political science. I have derived them from the teachings of my master the Buddha.”

Sensei Hozan Alan Senauke

Hozan Alan Senauke is Vice Abbot of Berkeley Zen Center in California, where he lives with his family. As a socially engaged Buddhist activist, Alan has worked closely with Buddhist Peace...
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Monshin Nannette Overley: Not Turning Away

March 18, 2019 - 4:00am

In the spirit of not turning away from our history, Monshin Nannette Overley invites us to pause before she begins her talk and acknowledge that we are guests on Tewa ancestral homelands, and to remember, respect, and recognize the beautiful wisdom the people and the land both carry. Through paper-making, stories, and poetry, Nannette explores two foundational Buddhist teachings—deep faith in cause and effect, and not turning away—and how the intersection of these two can guide our actions. “If the law of cause and effect is so simple,” Nannette asks, “why do we need to have deep faith?”

Monshin Nannette Overley

Monshin Nannette Overley received the precepts from Katherine Thanas, in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi, in 2008, and was ordained as a novice priest by Katherine's dharma heir Eugene Bush in...
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Kigaku Noah Rossetter: Riding the Waves of Birth and Death

March 11, 2019 - 4:00am

In acknowledgement of Ash Wednesday, Kigaku Noah Rossetter’s talk begins with a heartwarming look at atonement (at-onement) and its relationship to gratitude, inviting us to remember our role in receiving and causing karma, which can help deepen our experience of interconnectedness. He then launches into a metaphor of ocean navigation, to help elucidate three aspects of our practice: stabilization, realization, and actualization. Noah explains that we continually strengthen our boat by sitting zazen, and we sometimes even embrace the ocean, diving into its depths, where we realize that we were never separate from it to begin with. Kigaku ends the talk by taking some questions from the audience, including one from Roshi Joan: “What happens if you fall off the surfboard?” Listen to hear the answer!

Kigaku Noah Rossetter
Marketing Associate and Assistant to Abbot

Kigaku Noah Rossetter first came to Upaya for the 2010 Winter Practice Period, and later in the summer, he attended a Wilderness Fast at the Prajna Mountain Forest Refuge, following which he...
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Kaz Tanahashi & Shinzan Palma: SESSHIN: Bodhisattva Perspectives on the Heart Sutra (Part 3 of 3)

March 5, 2019 - 9:00am

Sensei Kaz Tanahashi and Sensei Shinzan Palma talk about the Heart Sutra in more detail and the importance of community. Sensei Kaz discusses the Four Noble Truths and how the Heart Sutra prescribes a freedom from craving. He also explains his four principles for large-scale transformation. Sensei Shinzan relays two stories which illustrate the role of community and the ripple effect of seemingly small acts of kindness.

For Series description, please visit Part 1.

To access the entire series, please click on the link below:
Upaya Podcast Series: SESSHIN: Bodhisattva Perspectives on the Heart Sutra

Sensei Kaz Tanahashi

Kazuaki Tanahashi, born and trained in Japan and active in the United States since 1977, has had solo exhibitions of his calligraphic paintings internationally. He has taught East Asian...
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Sensei Shinzan Palma

Sensei Shinzan was born in Veracruz, Mexico, He is an ordained Zen priest and Dharma successor of Joan Jiko Halifax, Roshi. In 1996 in Mexico City, he met Korean Zen teacher, Ven. Samu Sunim...
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Natalie Goldberg: Between Two Pines

March 4, 2019 - 5:00am

Natalie Goldberg asks a fundamental question in this talk: what does it mean to realize ourselves? In answer, she explains, “Realizing ourselves is not what we think realizing ourselves is. It’s not one thing that will do it. If you sit zazen, or if you do writing practice, we’re endless, and we’re not only endless, there’s no beginning or end.” Natalie discusses uplifting political news, advice for living and dying, advice for writing, and, of course, insightful poetry. Quoting the female haiku master, Chiyo-ni, Natalie reads, “Clear water, no front, no back.”

Natalie Goldberg

Natalie Goldberg is the author of fifteen books, including Writing Down the Bones, which has sold over one million copies and has been translated into fourteen...
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Kaz Tanahashi & Shinzan Palma: SESSHIN: Bodhisattva Perspectives on the Heart Sutra (Part 2 of 3)

March 3, 2019 - 9:00am

Sensei Kaz Tanahashi and Sensei Shinzan Palma talk about how zazen is an opportunity for us to deal with the issues that accumulate when we try to avoid them in our day-to day-lives. They also discuss the 16 precepts, and one of Dogen’s basic teachings which is that there is no separation between practice and enlightenment.

For Series description, please visit Part 1.

To access the entire series, please click on the link below:
Upaya Podcast Series: SESSHIN: Bodhisattva Perspectives on the Heart Sutra

Sensei Kaz Tanahashi

Kazuaki Tanahashi, born and trained in Japan and active in the United States since 1977, has had solo exhibitions of his calligraphic paintings internationally. He has taught East Asian...
More

Sensei Shinzan Palma

Sensei Shinzan was born in Veracruz, Mexico, He is an ordained Zen priest and Dharma successor of Joan Jiko Halifax, Roshi. In 1996 in Mexico City, he met Korean Zen teacher, Ven. Samu Sunim...
More

Kaz Tanahashi & Shinzan Palma: SESSHIN: Bodhisattva Perspectives on the Heart Sutra (Part 1 of 3)

March 2, 2019 - 9:00am
Sensei Kaz Tanahashi and Sensei Shinzan Palma explore one of the core teachings of Mahayana Buddhism, the Heart Sutra. This is also known as Prajna Paramita Hridaya, or Heart of Realizing Wisdom Beyond Wisdom. This series addresses many questions: What is emptiness? What is awakening? How can we practice without attempting to attain or achieve […]

Clark Strand & Kaz Tanahashi & Natalie Goldberg & Joan Halifax: Five Hundred Years of Haiku (Part 6 of 6)

March 1, 2019 - 6:00am
As we finish our Haiku weekend, Clark Strand, Sensei Kaz Tanahashi, Roshi Joan Halifax, and Natalie Goldberg share their own haiku and some haiku that they love. Clark reads several of author Richard Wright’s haiku including: In the falling snow, a laughing boy holds out his palms until they are white. Kaz reads his own poem […]

Clark Strand: Five Hundred Years of Haiku (Part 5 of 6)

February 28, 2019 - 11:35am
Clark Strand reads examples of noted modern haiku and speaks about some of the ways in which modern haiku differ from traditional poetry. From Sh?wa period female poet Mitsuhashi Takajo: Climb this tree and you’ll be a she-devil, red leaves in the sunset glow. For Series description, please visit Part 1. To access the entire series, […]

Natalie Goldberg & Clark Strand: Five Hundred Years of Haiku (Part 4 of 6)

February 27, 2019 - 11:00am
Natalie Goldberg and Clark Strand speak about the beginnings of haiku. Clark talks about the collaborative nature of haiku, some of its implicit rules, and the reason for its popularity. For Series description, please visit Part 1. To access the entire series, please click on the link below: Upaya Podcast Series: Five Hundred Years of […]

Natalie Goldberg: Five Hundred Years of Haiku (Part 3 of 6)

February 26, 2019 - 6:30pm
“When you’re a beginning haiku writer,” says Natalie Goldberg, “it’s better to keep practicing and don’t edit too much.” In her years of studying haiku and writing poetry, Natalie found haiku, “gave me a little refreshment. It allowed me to find another place in my mind.” In this talk, she gives a sampler of the […]

Wendy Johnson & Robert Wilder: Way Seeking Mind

February 25, 2019 - 5:00am
Wendy Johnson and Rob Wilder discuss the early experiences which led Wendy to gardening and to Zen Buddhism, and they discuss her book, “Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate.” One of the central themes of the talk was the metaphor of a “tangle.” Wendy explains, “The inner tangle and the outer tangle, —this generation is entangled […]

Kaz Tanahashi: Five Hundred Years of Haiku (Part 2 of 6)

February 24, 2019 - 3:00pm
Our first talk in the morning is from Sensei Kaz Tanahashi who explains some elements of Japanese grammar and explores Basho and haiku pre-dating Basho. Kaz says, “Japanese is a highly grammatical language…negative is negative, future is future, past is past. We cannot change it; it’s all defined. Except Japanese is also ambiguous in terms […]

Natalie Goldberg & Kaz Tanahashi & Clark Strand & Joan Halifax: Five Hundred Years of Haiku (Part 1 of 6)

February 23, 2019 - 7:18pm
In Upaya’s 5th year of our Haiku program Roshi Joan Halifax, Sensei Kaz Tanahashi, Natalie Goldberg, and Clark Strand explore this centuries-old art form. Our six-part series includes stories from the speakers which describe their personal experiences with writing haiku, Japanese grammar and some of the more technical aspects of writing haiku, and samples of the many unique […]

Kaz Tanahashi & Shinzan Palma: Bodhisattva Perspectives on the Heart Sutra

February 18, 2019 - 5:00am
Episode Description: In this talk, Sensei Kaz Tanahashi and Sensei Shinzan Palma discuss the contents of the Heart Sutra, the notion of emptiness, different types of wisdom, and the notion of awakening. The Heart Sutra is regarded as the most succinct form of the Dharma. Its central theme is the concept of emptiness which can be […]

Joshin Byrnes: SESSHIN: Four Great Vows (Part 4 of 4)

February 12, 2019 - 10:00am
Episode Description: In this episode, Sensei Joshin Byrnes talks about the final Vow, which is about embodying the awakened way. What is it to live life in an awakened way? Joshin quotes Roshi Bernie Glassman, saying, “The purpose of Buddhist practice is to awaken, the function of that awakening is learning how to serve.” Joshin reminds us that the vows […]