July 14-20

“The Buddha says all beings are born with the wisdom and perfection of Buddha. What is that? That is the ‘no need for zazen.’ This is who you are, but you don’t believe it sometimes. There’s no need for zazen, therefore, we must do zazen. Not should, but must! We must be who we are. This is the life we must be.”

-Elihu Genmyo Smith

This Week’s Discussion Topic
What does tonight’s quote mean by “We must be who we are” and “This is the life we must be”?

June 22-June 29

“We’re like fish living in water and asking, ‘Where is the water?’”

–Thich Nhat Hanh

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss the meaning of tonight’s quote. For example, if we’re the “fish” in the analogy, what does the “water” represent, and why would we be looking for it? Why wouldn’t we know where water is?

June 16-22

“Failing to see everything as an opportunity for practice is a setup for frustration and disappointment, keeping us stuck where we are and limiting our possibilities for inner growth. The more we include in our practice, the more satisfying our life can be.”

-Ezra Bayda

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss the importance of taking your practice off the cushion, and include real-life examples of times you have tried to maintain lucid awareness and not get deluded by your thoughts and emotions during your daily activities.

June 8-15

“The thing is, I know I don’t know. And contrary to what you might think, that knowledge hasn’t disempowered me. Quite the contrary—life has a part to play through me, and I play that part in the deepest state of agreement.”


This Week’s Discussion Topic
In tonight’s quote, what does it mean to play your part “in the deepest state of agreement”? How does agreement figure into the equation?

June 2-8

“What is there to lose? What is there to gain? If we gain something, it was there from the beginning. If we lose anything, it is hidden nearby.”


This Week’s Discussion Topic
Discuss how this quote relates to your ability to maintain lucid awareness in every moment. For example, do you lose awareness when you become attached to your thoughts? If so, then where does awareness go? If not, then what is actually happening?

May 26-June 1

“It doesn’t matter what is happening in our experience. What matters is how we are relating to our experience.”

-Tara Brach

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Why is how you relate to your experience so important, while the content of your experience is virtually irrelevant?

May 19-25

“Consciousness is not just the supporting structure for all objects that appear within it, but it’s also the substance of all objects. This works in the same way as a TV screen is both the supporting structure and substance of the images, actors, and shows that appear within it.”

-Rupert Spira

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Based on tonight’s quote, if consciousness is both the support and the substance for all objects that appear within it, how do your body and mind fit into this equation?

May 12-18

“The search, or journey, to become something other than what you are is completely conceptual, merely an idea. The seeker will discover that he is what he seeks, and what he seeks is the source of the inquiry.”

-Jean Klein

This Week’s Discussion Topic
What does the quote mean when it says, “the search… to become something other than what you are is completely conceptual”?

May 5-11

“The best way to deal with excessive thinking is to just listen to it, to listen to the mind. Listening is much more effective than trying to stop thought or cut it off.” -Ajahn Amaro

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Why is trying to stop thinking less effective than just listening to your thoughts? How might this “passive” strategy apply to other areas of your life/practice?

April 21-27

“At its best, Zen leads us out of the hell of self-obsession, showing us what we took to be the self was just a mirage. At its less than best, Zen can devolve into a mish-mash of pop psychology, self-help, and New Age catchphrases. It can also devolve away from authentic experience, real discovery, and actualization into a nightmare of conceptualized practice—what the masters called ‘dead Zen’—which is Zen discussed, even ‘understood’ in its principles, but not actually lived.” -Henry Shukman

This Week’s Discussion Topic
Provide real-life examples of both sides of Zen described in tonight’s quote: “Zen at its best” vs. “Zen at its less than best.” Comparing those examples, what makes one version true and the other less than true?