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: 100)
yesterday · 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 […]
April 24, 2017 · 00:57:07
Episode Description: Roshi Norman Fischer begins his talk by examining the distinction between a careful practice of paying attention and a spontaneous “cutting through.” He then turns to the nature of our self consciousness, which is obsessed with itself, alienating us from ourselves and the outside world, leading to suffering. Of meditation as a means to […]
April 23, 2017 · 01:20:02
Episode Description: In the program’s final session, Roshi Norman Fischer and Sensei Kathie Fischer examine the final case of the program. “How do we put things down?” Sensei Kathie asks, wondering how we can allow ourselves to have the capacity to tend to and love each moment that arises. “It’s not that there is lots of […]
April 22, 2017 · 00:52:27
Episode Description: Roshi Norman Fischer and Sensei Kathie Fischer spend the evening taking questions from program participants. They end by briefly introducing Case 54. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. For Series description, please visit Part 1.
April 22, 2017 · 01:13:58
Episode Description: In this session, Roshi Norman Fischer and Sensei Kathie Fischer introduce Case 60. Sensei Kathy provides some historical context, and Roshi Norman compares the cases of the Book of Serenity to legal cases: laws are applied to individuals create precedents, which in turn are used in the understanding of the law. Buddhism is meaningless […]
April 22, 2017 · 00:58:04
Episode Description: Roshi Norman Fischer begins with the instruction to “study your own experience.” In his examination of the introduction to Case 10, he explores the injunction to “gather and release.” Sometimes we need to be strict with ourselves, and sometimes we need to let go of discipline. “Freedom without discipline is an illusion; discipline without […]
April 22, 2017 · 00:55:57
Episode Description: Roshi Norman Fischer begins with the instruction to “study your own experience.” In his examination of the introduction to Case 10, he explores the injunction to “gather and release.” Sometimes we need to be strict with ourselves, and sometimes we need to let go of discipline. “Freedom without discipline is an illusion; discipline without […]
April 21, 2017 · 00:41:45
Series Description: In this weekend workshop, we practice sitting and walking meditation and contemplate stories from the Zen classic, Book of Serenity, a collection of 100 Zen koans. Our methodology will include talks that bring the stories home to our life situations; guided meditation; journaling; and time for discussion in large and small group formats. Zen stories […]
April 17, 2017 · 00:42:51
Episode Description: Sensei Kathie Fischer begins by describing her visit to one of Santa Fe’s homeless shelters with the Upaya residents to cook a meal, and comments on the importance of service. She then turns to Vasubandhu’s 30 Verses, particularly numbers 5 and 6. She examines the notion of hierarchy, first from a scientific perspective informed […]
April 10, 2017 · 00:42:05
Episode Description: As the community enters practice period, Roshi Norman Fischer encourages us to “settle ourselves beyond the personal problems and worries of our lives.” It is not that our problems are trivial, he says, but that “there is so much more going on.” Practice period is an opportunity for us to remember what our lives […]
April 3, 2017 · 00:34:01
Episode Description: Sensei Joshin Byrnes begins by passing a basket of red clown noses around the audience. He explains that he is trying to combat "stinky zen," in which an exaggerated sense of piety causes us to take ourselves too seriously. Sensei reminds us, "everything is going to be okay." He discusses the Three Treasures of Roshi Bernie Glassman's Order of Disorder: disorder, humor, and love. "The bad news is the good news," Sensei Joshin tells us, "impermanence is the possibility that anything can happen." To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
March 27, 2017 · 00:53:08
Episode Description: Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche begins his talk by addressing the first of the Four Noble Truths. Rinpoche disagrees with a common interpretation of Dukkha: that "life is suffering." Instead, he says, "life has suffering." For the remainder of the evening, he turns his attention to the last of the Truths: liberation from suffering. "We can change our psychology," he tells us, and learn to accept difficult situations. "If you deny [these situations] even your house will seem small. You become isolated. Your mind becomes a prison." Rinpoche ends his talk by explaining how compassion enables this deeper understanding. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
March 20, 2017 · 00:49:00
Episode Description: Sensei Joshin Byrnes begins his talk by acknowledging the recent Jukai ceremony, an initiation ritual during which member of the community received the Bodhisattva precepts from Roshi Joan. Sensei Joshin characterizes this process as a "dropping deeply into a commitment to live ethically in our world." He then discusses the four commitments, which were developed by a meeting of world religious leaders, including Roshi Bernie Glassman. "Can we practice together in a way where these kinds of commitments come deep into our bones?" Sensei asks. Finally, he quotes Peter Block: "The answer to 'how?' is 'yes.'" To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
March 13, 2017 · 00:44:32
Episode Description: Sensei Hozan Alan Senauke begins by playing a song on the guitar which tells the story of a character that appears in Chapter 20 of the Lotus Sutra, Bodhisattva Never Disparaging. As the song ends, he asks us, “How do you cultivate yourself so that you can become a Bodhisattva?” He spends the rest of the evening discussing three qualities that help us to do this: generosity, fearlessness, renunciation. “As I am sitting, tasting a sense of peace, I can also catch the odor of war,” he later says. "I can taste the tears, feel the doubt and the destruction around us. That war is here, not just in Syria and Iraq. I see it within myself.” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
March 6, 2017 · 00:55:13
Episode Description: Rebecca Solnit begins the talk by telling the audience that we often fail to recognize the forces of change; as things have changed for the worse, so they may still change for the better. That said, “hope is not a menu you order off of,” she says, and uses as an example the protests at Standing Rock. Even if the pipeline is built, that does not diminish the great accomplishment that is the intercultural political revival that was Standing Rock. “You know what you do, but you don’t know what you do does,” she says. Sensei Alan Senauke discusses the importance of living by vow. Taking an impossible vow can be a force greater than hope, he tells us. Sensei Alan also touches upon the Buddhist view of all things as cyclical. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
Feb. 27, 2017 · 00:52:15
Episode Description: Dolpo Rinpoche devotes the evening to the Six Perfections, or Pāramitās. They are generosity, morality, patience, effort, meditation, and wisdom. Rinpoche begins with generosity, invoking the limitless generosity of a parent. “Even [when we are] with our best friend,” he says, “we count each cent. With a parent, they have no concept they will get something in return.” As he speaks to the other virtues, Rinpoche constantly returns to the importance of compassion, urging us to cultivate the perfections for others' benefit and not our own. He illustrates this with a story about how he learned to put the needs of others ahead of the cultivation of his own practice. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
Feb. 20, 2017 · 00:47:25
Episode Description: Roshi Joan Halifax begins the talk with an arresting statement: “Our world is burning.” She recounts her recent travels, and a talk she gave at a children’s hospital.  Roshi quotes Rilke, “Love and death are the great gifts that are given to us; mostly they are passed on unopened.” Our work is to open those gifts, she tells us. She also shares from her recent visit with her teacher, Roshi Bernie Glassman, and his answer to the question, “What is love?” "If someone is thirsty, find them something to drink.” She says, "Awakening is based on passion for the world: to serve the world, to meet the world completely, to end suffering in every way possible.” She ends by reading the invocation she has prepared to give next week at the New Mexico House of Representatives. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund.
Feb. 20, 2017 · 00:46:47
Episode Description: (This part is a continuation from Part 5A) John Dunne talks about how our apprehensions of objects in the world are ultimately non-dual, even though duality is encoded into our day to day experience. He also covers the concept of extended cognition, which tells us that we are not autonomous beings with our own distinct ideas. “Changing our minds and the world has to be a communal enterprise,” he says. There is also discussion of structural violence, which Dunne posits is unintentional discrimination against minorities.  Understanding that people who act unskillfully are deluded, rather than evil, is an important aspect of compassion. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. For Series description, please visit Part 1.