Upaya Zen Center
By Joan Halifax | Zen Buddhist Teacher Upaya Abbot
About this podcast
This weekly Podcast includes the Wednesday evening "Dharma Talks (audio)" from Upaya Zen Center and supports our mission: to provide a context for community practice, education in Buddhism and social service in the areas of death and dying, prison work, the environment, womens rights and peace-work. Our vision focuses on the integration of practice and social action, bringing together wisdom and compassion.

Episodes (Total: 117)
June 19, 2017 · 00:43:55
Episode Description: Sean Murphy begins by telling the story of Bodhidharma’s encounter with the Chinese Emperor Wu. At the end of the story, the emperor asks Bodhidharma, “Who are you?” and Bodhidharma responds, “I don’t know.” Sean explores this notion of “not-knowing,” which is central to our practice. He suggests that “thinking is no more than a tiny […]
June 18, 2017 · 00:57:51
Episode Description: Dr. Richard Davidson begins his presentation with the sentence “The after is the before for the next during.” By altering our baseline, he proposes that meditation creates enduring change; contemplative practice engenders “altered traits,” rather than “altered states.” This concept is the basis for the title of his forthcoming book, Altered Traits. In his […]
June 17, 2017 · 01:12:57
Episode Description: Rhonda Magee begins her talk, “Deepening Social Justice Through Awareness and Compassion Practices,” by contrasting her professional identities (such as being a law professor and an academic) with identities that have been socially imposed upon her (such as being a woman and a person of color). Our identities set us up for certain experiences […]
June 12, 2017 · 00:39:36
Episode Description: In this episode, Matthew Denkatsu Palevsky gives a “way seeking mind” talk, the traditional first Dharma talk by a priest. In his talk, he examines a famous line from Dogen’s Fukanzazengi in the context of his own spiritual path. Dogen writes, “Stop searching for phrases and chasing after words. Take the backwards step and […]
June 10, 2017 · 00:44:42
Episode Description: In his talk entitled, “Ethics of Science and Experience in the Age of the Anthropocene,” Dr. Evan Thompson explores the relationship between science and contemplative practice in the context of our current geological age of human impact on planet Earth. Using the concept of the “lifeworld” originated by the German Phenomenologist Edmund Husserl, Dr. […]
June 9, 2017 · 01:05:58
Series Description: We live in a time of extraordinary moral and ethical challenges and moral suffering, at personal, social, cultural, environmental, and global levels. We need to understand more deeply the value of developing moral sensitivity, moral character, and moral resilience in a world imperiled by moral and ethical conflicts. We also want to explore the neural […]
June 5, 2017 · 00:43:42
Episode Description: Roshi Joan Halifax begins the talk by acknowledging the turmoil surrounding the Paris Climate Accord and the death of one of Upaya’s dear neighbors. Wendy Johnson then speaks about how her Zen practice was born out of her political activism, and how she met Soen Nakagawa Roshi in Jerusalem. “Dharma for me is rooted […]
May 29, 2017 · 00:43:33
Episode Description: Maia Duerr begins her talk by describing how she relates to the tempestuous headlines we often see, and acknowledges her anger, grief, panic, and anxiety. She urges us to sit with those feelings, and we take a moment of silence for the people of Manchester, Syrian refugees, and those without access to healthcare. After […]
May 22, 2017 · 00:29:48
Episode Description: Sensei Al Kaszniak begins his talk by relating the political instability of fifth century India, when the Buddha lived, to our present political situation. He then poses the question, “Why has conflict and polarization been so persistent throughout human history?” Bringing new scientific evidence to an ancient philosophical question, he suggests that our emotions […]
May 15, 2017 · 00:36:08
Episode Description: Dr. Anthony Back begins the talk by telling two stories. The first is the case of a terminally ill man who was not receiving treatment for pain in his hospital because he was incarcerated. The second story is that of the group of white men who are currently in charge of drafting proposed healthcare […]
May 8, 2017 · 00:48:08
Episode Description: Sensei Genzan Quennell gives an impromptu dharma talk, filling in for Sensei Joshin, who is feeling ill. Both Sensei Joshin and Sensei Genzan have just returned from a pilgrimage in Japan with Roshi Joan Halifax. Sensei Genzan begins his discussion of pilgrimage by presenting a scroll which features a depiction of Bodhidharma, who made […]
May 8, 2017 · 00:53:45
Episode Description: Sensei Kathie Fischer begins by retelling Case 10 from the Book of Serenity. “Right straight on,” the woman in the koan urges, and Sensei Kathie urges us on, too, as we head into the final day of sesshin and back out into the world. She also discusses the Shuso ceremony that will take place […]
May 7, 2017 · 00:41:21
Episode Description: Amie Diller begins this talk by sharing a koan about a hermit who describes his experience of the embrace of a young girl as “cold and without feeling.” We should not practice like this, she says; our practice is about embracing every part of our experience. She then tells the story of Mara tempting […]
May 7, 2017 · 00:32:35
Episode Description: Sensei Kathie Fischer begins this talk by recounting the koan in which Nanchuan resolves a dispute between monks over a cat by cutting the cat in two. The story is an injunction, she tells us, to wake up to the reality of our lives, and to stop being petty. She compares the practice of […]
May 6, 2017 · 00:50:26
Episode Description: Roshi Norman Fischer begins this talk by commemorating Easter Sunday. “Jesus lost his life and got it back,” he tells us, and this day observes the “triumph of love and compassion over death and oppression.” Roshi Norman then turns to Vasubandhu’s concept of “transformation of consciousness,” which he says comprise our entire phenomenal experience. We […]
May 5, 2017 · 00:32:40
Series Description: The theme of the sesshin was Vasubandhu’s famous Thirty Verses on the nature of mind. These Dharma talks explore this text’s deep implications for how we understand and live our lives, and include references to Dogen and related Zen stories and practices.  Roshi Norman Fischer and Sensei Kathie Fischer give profoundly moving talks that inspire […]
May 1, 2017 · 00:21:24
Episode Description: Keido Troy Fernandez invites his listeners to explore the readily available stability and wisdom of the “heart-mind.” Taking refuge in the “truth” every heart brings if we just attune to it. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
April 28, 2017 · 00:51:29
Episode Description: In this episode, Amie Diller gives the traditional first talk of the practice period by the Shuso, or head monk, on “way seeking mind.” A literal translation from the Japanese would be “being aware of the path,” and Amie uses her talk to describe the winding path that she has taken over the course […]
April 27, 2017 · 00:40:07
Episode Description: In this talk, Roshi Norman and Sensei Kathie Fischer set the stage for a Zazenkai, or day of coming together for Zazen. Sensei Kathie reads us Case 21 from the Book of Serenity. “Our emotions do not belong to us,” she says, “and this makes our world the dangerous place that it is.” Our […]
April 25, 2017 · 00:41:02
Episode Description: Roshi Norman Fischer begins this talk with Case 84 from the Book of Serenity. Roshi Norman tells us that the “One Finger Zen” of the story represents a “simple pivot that causes your life to fall into place.” This is not “a cognitive insight, but dynamic living action,” he tells us. He then turns […]