Upaya Zen Center

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.

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Episode Description: For the final Dharma talk of Sesshin, Sensei Joshin Byrnes and Sensei Genzan Quennell jump ahead in the lineage to Maezumi Roshi. Joshin admires that Maezumi’s story was so relatable and down to earth. “He was just so real,” Joshin says. He then reflects on the idea of Buddha Nature as being a question of: Who are you, naturally? How can you just be you? Joshin points to the importance of showing up for ourselves, each other and the world, just as it is. He cautions that sometimes our stories about ourselves narrow our view of who we really are. “Don’t let your story rob you of your life,” Joshin says. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Sensei Joshin ByrnesVice Abbot Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center as well as its current President and Vice Abbot. Joshin is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan... More Sensei Genzan Quennell 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 Roshi Joan... More
Nov. 13, 2017
Episode Description: In this talk, Matthew Denkatsu Palevsky addresses the pervasiveness of addiction in our culture today and their relation to the second Noble Truth, that suffering arises through craving. Starting with the opioid epidemic and the feeling that the world is on fire, he broadens the perspective of addiction to include its subtler and more socially accepted manifestations such as addiction to social media, consumerism, workaholism, and others. Denkatsu points out that the 21st century attention economy intensifies our desires and addictions, making them more immediately accessible than ever through the Internet and mass media marketing. Using the Four Noble Truths as a lens, he points to the cravings we find in our own mind when we meditate and their manifestations in the world, along with the path to transforming these cravings and resting in the expansiveness of the present moment. “This addiction to avoiding the present moment can become our master,” Matt says. To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Matthew Denkatsu PalevskyNovice Priest Matthew 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 Roshi... More
Nov. 12, 2017
Episode Description: On the fifth day of sesshin, Sensei Joshin Byrnes and Sensei Genzan Quennell read us the story of Huineng from the Denkōroku. “What’s happening historically at this time that that the Zen way has settled,” Sensei Joshin tells us, referring to the fact that Huineng was the sixth and last of the Chinese patriarchs. Sensei Joshin then speaks about the “immediacy” of Zen. “Gradual and sudden awakening are the same; every moment is sudden awakening,” he says, “Don’t try so hard. Just go back to the breath. Feel into the joy of your life.” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Sensei Joshin ByrnesVice Abbot Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center as well as its current President and Vice Abbot. Joshin is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan... More Sensei Genzan Quennell 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 Roshi Joan... More
Nov. 11, 2017
Episode Description: In this talk, entering the fourth day of Sesshin, Sensei Joshin Byrnes and Sensei Genzan Quennell read from the story of the Chinese ancestor, Daokai. Genzan points to the teaching in the story that knowledge without practice will not lead to an understanding of the Dharma. Through intensive practice and deep silence during Sesshin, we have the opportunity to discover the “gold under our own hats,” Joshin reminds us. He suggests that in a sense, teachers in Zen have nothing to teach. “It’s all about seeing your own lamp, already lit. Nothing missing.” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Sensei Joshin ByrnesVice Abbot Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center as well as its current President and Vice Abbot. Joshin is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan... More Sensei Genzan Quennell 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 Roshi Joan... More
Nov. 6, 2017
Episode Description: In this talk, Upaya’s visiting scholar David Hinton discusses his work and research in Taoism, Ch’an, and ancient Chinese culture and translation. He begins by giving a brief background of Zen’s historical roots in China originally known as Ch’an, a Chinese cultural infusion of Taoism and Buddhism. He describes Tao, a central idea to Ch’an and Taoism, to be a generative cosmology and an energy flow of absence and presence. “Tao is the cosmos seen as a single generative tissue,” Hinton says. Ch’an and Taoism problematize language for this reason; because of language and categorization, we see ourselves and the world around us as separate from this “existence tissue.” He reflects that the whole aspiration of Chinese spirituality and all the arts are about reintegrating consciousness back into this cosmological process. “When thoughts fall away,” he says, “we are this generative emptiness, it is our true identity…We are the cosmos looking out at ourselves.” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here David Hinton David Hinton's writing grows out of ancient Chinese thought, with a special emphasis on Taoism and Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism as ways into deep-ecological thinking. His many translations of classical... More
Nov. 5, 2017
Episode Description: On the second day of Sesshin, Sensei Joshin Byrnes and Sensei Genzan Quennell begin this talk by reading from the story of the Chinese ancestor, Touzi. Genzan discusses finding refuge in silence, pointing out that so much can be revealed in periods of deep silence. Joshin looks at silence as a way of disrupting our narratives and habit energy, and allows for an opportunity to ground and reorder. “It’s disruptive to stop feeding our greed,” he then asks, “can we trust what brought us here and what holds us here? Can we trust the boundless simplicity of the breath?” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Sensei Joshin ByrnesVice Abbot Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center as well as its current President and Vice Abbot. Joshin is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan... More Sensei Genzan Quennell 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 Roshi Joan... More
Nov. 4, 2017
Series Description: The dharma talks during this Sesshin will be inspired by some of the enlightenment stories from the Record of the Transmission of the Light (Denkōroku), a collection written in 1300 by Keizan Jokin Zenji. Sesshin literally means ‘gathering the heart/mind’. A sesshin is an intensive multi-day Zen meditation retreat with a consistent schedule that creates a deep, quiet container for practice. Each day consists of sitting (zazen) and walking (kinhin) meditation, service and chanting (liturgy), formal meals in the zendo (oryoki), personal interviews with the teachers, work practice (samu) and physical practice. We observe Noble Silence throughout and support each other in quiet, whole-hearted practice. Episode Description: In this talk, Sensei Joshin Byrnes and Sensei Genzan Quennell read from the story of Shakyamuni Buddha in the Denkōroku. Joshin encourages us during this Sesshin to dwell in the simplicity of oneness, and to be “nourished by the boundlessness of silence.” Genzan invites us to enter into a loving relationship with all things and to feel deep gratitude and gentleness towards our bodies. “Everything you feel also feels you,” he says. “When you are in loving relationship with everything you encounter, this nourishes, energizes, and refreshes you.” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Sensei Joshin ByrnesVice Abbot Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center as well as its current President and Vice Abbot. Joshin is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan... More Sensei Genzan Quennell 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 Roshi Joan... More
Oct. 30, 2017
Episode Description: In this talk, Petra Zenryu Hubbeling describes one of her biggest inspirations on her spiritual path, Etty Hillesum. In reading her work, largely talking about her religious awakening and the persecution of the Jewish people, Zenryu admires the strength, wisdom, and compassion she embodies. Inspired by the way she relates to suffering, Zenryu reflects that Etty’s perspective on life has motivated her Buddhist practice and reminds her of the Bodhisattva of compassion, Guanyin. Hillesum writes, “Suffering has always been with us; does it really matter what form it comes? All that matters is how we bear it and how we fit it into our lives.” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Petra Hubbeling Petra Zenryu Hubbeling is from the Netherlands and is a Zen priest and student of Joan Jiko Halifax Roshi. She began studying Buddhism in 2000 and has been a student of Zen in the White Plum... More
Oct. 29, 2017
Episode Description: As we continue reflecting on Zen Master Keizan’s Transmission of Light, Sensei Joshin Byrnes examines the story of Rujing, the 10th century Chinese teacher of Dogen. Struck by his peculiar teaching style, Joshin comments on Rujing’s harsh and disciplined attitude towards students, combined with a softness and tender side. Sensei Joshin sees this as an example of skillful means, suggesting that Rujing’s teaching and attitude was a way of deliberately challenging habit energy and conditioning in his students, as well as in himself. Joshin invites us to consider: When do we need to be harder or softer on ourselves in our practice? When and how is it skillful to challenge ourselves and our habit energy? “Part of skillfulness is positioning ourselves for flourishing,” Joshin says, “How can we help ourselves and one another flourish? What is it that allows you to really become you?” What would happen if we held a perspective of original wholeness, completeness, purity, and boundlessness—then how might we show up for the world and our lives? To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here Sensei Joshin ByrnesVice Abbot Sensei Joshin Byrnes is a dharma teacher at Upaya Zen Center as well as its current President and Vice Abbot. Joshin is a student of Upaya's founder, abbot, and guiding teacher, Roshi Joan... More
Oct. 28, 2017
Episode Description: Sensei Alan Senauke begins this talk on identity action by playing us a song, “My Mind’s Got a Mind of its Own.” Identity action means being in identity (not different from) oneself and others. The interdependence of the many different parts of the body can serve an analogy for this same principal of interdependence in the world. Sensei Genzan Quennell talks about the Montgomery bus boycotts as an example of the power of collective action and that way that all of us co-create society. “Water never refuses to be in the container that it’s in,” he says of the offerings given to the temple statues, “The function of monastic practice is not to remold you, but to show you how to be flexible.” To help keep these podcasts freely available, we hope you will consider making a suggested donation of $25 to our Dharma Podcast Fund. Donate $25 Here 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... More Sensei Genzan Quennell 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 Roshi Joan... More
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