The Living Dharma Center

Zen Buddhist Training and Practice

Norma Salter


The wind has settled, the blossoms have fallen,
                        Birds sing, the mountains grow dark,
                        This is the wondrous power of Zen.

This practice of Zen is the ground beneath your feet; the highest truth manifests right in front of you.  You are it. There are no secrets, nothing hidden.  How can you awaken from the dream? Look at your life, right here, right now and enter there. We do not undertake this practice to be other than who we already are. The practice of Zen is not a self-improvement project.

This simple, difficult practice we call zazen (sitting meditation) is a practice of waking up. We don’t sit to realize a state of mind that is special. We sit to see through the dream, which keeps us from realizing who we really are. There is nothing to learn, there is nothing to gain there is nothing to find.  Suzukai Roshi said, “Zen is making your best effort on each moment, forever.” The gate to liberation, to seeing through the veil to your authentic Self, is always present here and now. The difficulties come when we judge, compare, object, and grasp on to this simple, direct, moment to moment, experience.

From this effort of learning to do one thing completely, our life is changed. This commitment to the practice doing just one thing, moment to moment, leaves us with a heart open to an intimacy with all things. This intimacy is the essence of Zen and reveals your true being, simply and clearly.  As the great Zen master Dogen said, “I came to realize clearly that mind is nothing other than rivers and mountains and the great wide earth, the sun the moon and the stars.”  This is the wondrous power of Zen.