Raichozan (Thunderbird Mountain) Zendo

We are a lay sitting group in Glendale AZ. We meet on Tuesday evenings at the West Valley UU Church at 59th and Cholla. Offering instruction in zazen (Zen Buddhist meditation) and the opportunity to practice with the structure and support of a group inspired in the Rinzai Zen tradition.Beginners welcome.

We meet on Tuesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30
First time visitors should call 602.492.2212 or email mui@cox.net for orientation instructions.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Misunderstanding no-self and emptyness.

In The Lankavatara Sutra the Buddha says something like " Nothing is as it appears nor is it otherwise" It's easy to enter into nihilism if we misunderstand these teachings. I'm know I've spoke a little about this before but I found this blog post by Harvey Daiho Hilbert-roshi that really speaks well to the matter. I liked his analogy of the ocean and the wave I heard it used by others but probably not this well and after all the wave isn't separate from the ocean. I hope you enjoy this post from The Order of Clear Mind Zen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not money just help.

I've kept the doors to my home so people in the West valley have a place practice in a group setting. While we've managed to keep a small core group going we haven't picked up any of the new people that have come around, I believe this because a lot of people just aren't that comfortable hanging out in someone's home with a bunch of people sitting around and not talking to each other. If anyone has any ideas about how we can get a more neutral space for our meeting where newcomers may feel more comfortable that's in the NW valley and within a couple miles of the free way I'll love to hear from you.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Shu jo mu hen sei gan do (Beings are numberless I vow to free them).

Recently I read a debate between Robert Thurman and Steven Batchlor. Towards the end of this debate Bob takes the stand that you can't really take the vow to save all beings if you don't believe in reincarnation and the great skeptic Steven leaves a very mundane, yes you can. Needless to say, it left a dry taste in my mouth. So how do we we keep the Great Vow to liberate all beings, we awaken
Zen Master Dogen said
When without expectation, suddenly you break through the lacquered bucket of the ancestors* style, and lift your head and hit yor chest [in unmediated expression], suddenly you attain realization of the way. When one person realizes the way, self and other together realize the way. In one morning of realizing the way, past body and future body together realize the way. “
When the Buddha awakened he said  
“I and all sentient beings on earth, together, attain enlightenment at the same time.” Our enlightenment belongs to the universe.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Before the opening service at our Tuesday night sitting I read a quote from the Sweeping Zen website, it's part Bodhidharma and part a contemporary teacher.  
"Bodhidharma, the mythological  founder of Zen Buddhism, said that ritual and liturgy are the expression of the whole mind. Is there a place where your mind can’t express itself? Do you relegate it to a time a place? Is it at the bedside but not in the rest of your life? To do this is a form of deprivation from living your life." - Koshin Paley Ellison"
At the recent retreat I attended at Great Vow Monastery, Chozen Roshi said something like when you don't give your self to the chanting you not only deprive your self but you deprive the entire Universe.
I've often heard that Zen or Buddhism isn't a religion, I don't really care if it is or isn't but the "religious" things we do like chanting and bowing don't just compliment our practice they are our practice.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The right tool for the job

Often when people find out I have a meditation practice they think it must be peaceful or stress relieving, maybe it is or isn't) but I'm not looking for that. As far back as I can remember more than anything else I've been interested in spiritual things even when I walked away from my church. I didn't come to Buddhism for self help, I came because things like teachings on the Three Marks of Existence, just made sense to me. I just read this article on The Buddhist Channel that inspired me to do this little piece. While Buddhist meditation practices may bring feelings of peace and transcendence as the article I referenced states- "But Britton argues that stress reduction and relaxation are more like side effects than what meditation actually was designed for.". Sometimes our practice brings us into our dark places in fact some of the practices that the Buddha taught involve contemplating the decay of our dead bodies. Buddhist practices are tools for liberation and sometimes their not all rosy. If you just want a few moments of peace you should probably look somewhere else but if your ready for liberation and are ready for the possibility of walking trough some dark places then you may find what your looking for in the teachings of the Buddha.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

From the Gosple of Thomas...

22. Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father's) kingdom."

They said to him, "Then shall we enter the (Father's) kingdom as babies?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."

Friday, April 29, 2011


    Earlier today I shared a link on FB on an Eastern perspective on Christian salvation. This got me thinking more about this. In Christianity we're taught our dilemma begins with “original sin”, because of this condition we find ourselves separate from God. Of course (or at least as I see it) this condition isn't even possible unless God made his creation as already separate. In Buddhism we're taught (and by taught I mean to look deeply at our reality and experience it's truth) that our separation is an illusion (delusion). In Zen there's a koan, “What is your original face before you mother and father were born?”. There is no separation to fix. Not body and mind, not cat and mouse, not Buddha and ordinary being, not self and other, not subject and object, and not God and man. The problem isn't separation, it's the illusion of separation.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wikileaks and Barryleaks

My ex teacher "Dogo" Barry Graham who's always maintained that "It's not about me" has given his voice to the wikileaks cause. You would think that he doesn't like the idea of the painful truth being covered up. Yet while it's not about him, instead of taking positive steps to really fix his reputation he's allowed his reputation fixing lawyer friend to attack the host of the grahamscam website through his place of employment in an attempt to bring down the painful truth. I'm afraid it's to late, Barry's karma ain't just going away.