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Cover image of Upaya Zen Center's Dharma Podcast

Upaya Zen Center's Dharma Podcast

The Upaya Dharma Podcast features Wednesday evening Dharma Talks and recordings from Upaya’s diverse array of programs. Our podcasts exemplify Upaya’s focus on socially engaged Buddhism, including prison work, end-of-life care, serving the homeless, training in socially engaged practices, peace & nonviolence, compassionate care training, and delivering healthcare in the Himalayas.

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The Upaya Dharma Podcast features Wednesday evening Dharma Talks and recordings from Upaya’s diverse array of programs. Our podcasts exemplify Upaya’s focus on socially engaged Buddhism, including prison work, end-of-life care, serving the homeless, training in socially engaged practices, peace & nonviolence, compassionate care training, and delivering healthcare in the Himalayas.

Wendy Johnson: Awakening from the Illusion of Separateness

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Wendy Johnson discusses the Vimalakirti sutra and connects this text and its teachings with the living teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh. She explains that Vimalakirti is a wounded healer boddhisatva, “dangerous to settled life in every way and alive with the feral vow to benefit all beings.” She shares with us that bodhisattvas become sick due to their “embodied emergent enactive compassion; a compassion animated by raw love for others and recognition of how many of us are sick.”

Wendy honors her root teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh, who continues to teach “vividly and authentically from his sickbed,” by sharing various teachings she has received.

Sensei Wendy Johnson

Wendy Johnson is a Buddhist meditation teacher and organic gardening mentor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wendy has been practicing Zen meditation for thirty-five years and has led...
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Oct 18 2021

47mins

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Monshin Nannette Overley: Gifts of the Saha World

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Monshin Nannette Overley weaves together the talks we’ve heard during the Fall Practice Period on emptiness and compassion, while exploring the difference between sentimental compassion and true compassion. She calls us to remember the true gift of having a practice, in this world, to wake up. She  reminds us that our practice is a treasure which allows us to experience all that life has to offer and supports us in taking action from a place of true compassion. She encourages us to go beyond dualistic thinking and remember that there is no difference between the helper and the one being helped.

Monshin Nannette Overley

Monshin Nannette Overley is a priest and sangha elder at Upaya. She is an active participant in the local Upaya sangha, and a practice mentor for Upaya residents. Nannette graduated from...
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Oct 18 2021

40mins

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Matthew Kozan Palevsky: Vimalakirti Chapter 5: Bondage and Liberation

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Matthew Kozan Palevsky delves into Chapter 5 of the Vimalakirti sutra.  He begins by reminding us how sickness can open up the possibility for connection and healing, saying “In illness we can feel uniquely undefended, unpretentious, unmitigated, unquestioning, undone. At times this can feel like overwhelming intimacy with whomever is with us, or with all of life.”  He then delves into the causes of Vimalakirti’s sickness, which is our sickness, and how we are to understand its cure.  He tackles this central topic of Zen by breaking it down into two sicknesses and two cures, saying:  “For the first, we apply the view of emptiness to a mind that wants to cling to duality.  And for the second sickness we use Great Compassion to heal the broken heartedness that arises from Great Compassion. Of course, this is only one sickness, which is no sickness at all.”  Kozan closes with a case from the Blue Cliff Record that expresses Vimalakirti’s invitation to meet the world with Wisdom and Upaya — with Great Compassion.

Hoshi Matthew Kozan Palevsky

Matthew Kozan Palevsky first traveled to Upaya in 2006 for a weeklong silent retreat, or sesshin.  After eight years of practicing in the marketplace as a political activist and...
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Oct 17 2021

38mins

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Reigetsu Susan Moon: Encouragements of the Goddess

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Reigetsu Susan Moon reviews chapter 7 of Vimalakirti, The Goddess. She shares the story of the Goddess and Shariputra and illuminates insights from the sutra involving non-duality, opposites being necessary and complementary, gender as a social construct, and body as an illusory form. She encourages us to put ourselves in other people shoes in order to realize self as other, and reminds us that the oath of renunciation and the path of compassion are both right and in perfect agreement.

Reigetsu Susan Moon

Reigetsu Susan Moon has been practicing in the Soto Zen tradition for 35 years, and is a lay teacher with the Everyday Zen Sangha. Her previous books include the cult classic The Life and...
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Oct 11 2021

30mins

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Robert Thurman: The Bodhisattva Way of Vimalakirti

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Robert Thurman reads from his translation of The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti,  summarizing this sutra as a text of discovering inconceivable liberation through direct realization of the interconnectedness of all beings. He reminds us that to understand this text is to understand that we are buddha, and to realize this we have to go beyond dualistic thinking.

Thurman explains that through increasing cognitive dissonance tolerance and meditation practice, we come to understand that we are beyond conceptual ideas of individuation.

Robert Thurman

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as Co-Founder and President of Tibet House US/Menla in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of...
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Oct 04 2021

51mins

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Shinzan Palma: The Great Way of a Bodhisattva

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Sensei Shinzan Palma speaks to us of the importance of practice to wake up. He teaches us that whether we are monastic or lay practitioners, the dharma is available to us in every aspect of our lives. He reminds us that we have the opportunity in every moment to realize the dharma despite the conditions of our lives; we only have to commit to practice.

Sensei Jose Shinzan Palma

Sensei Jose Shinzan Palma was born in Veracruz, Mexico, He is an ordained Zen priest and Dharma successor of Joan Jiko Halifax, Roshi. In 1996 in Mexico City, he met Korean Zen teacher, Ven....
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Sep 27 2021

43mins

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Zenshin Florence Caplow & Reigetsu Susan Moon: The Wisdom of Zen Crones

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Zenshin Florence Caplow and Reigetsu Sue Moon offer us the wisdom of Zen Crones through storytelling and reference of their collaboration The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. They encourage Zen practice and teaching as medicine for the anxieties of the 21st century. They encourage us to turn to Zen crones who hold the wisdom of grandmother’s mind which can support us in healing and moving towards the truth of interconnectedness.

Rev. Zenshin Florence Caplow

Rev. Zenshin Florence Caplow is a Soto Zen priest in the Suzuki Roshi and Everyday Zen lineage. She has been practicing Vipassana and Zen for thirty years, and is a dharma teacher, field...
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Reigetsu Susan Moon

Reigetsu Susan Moon has been practicing in the Soto Zen tradition for 35 years, and is a lay teacher with the Everyday Zen Sangha. Her previous books include the cult classic The Life and...
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Sep 20 2021

41mins

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Heather McTeer Toney: Environmental Injustice: Understanding the Cost of Inaction

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Heather McTeer Toney speaks on recovery from climate disasters as a pathway to building resilient communities. She reminds us that people of color know this pathway well and have been engaged in the fight for climate justice long before today. She encourages us to take collective action that follows the lead of community organizers who have the experience to lead the way in the midst of climate change.

Heather McTeer Toney, JD

Heather McTeer Toney is a self-proclaimed, "recovering politician" who served as Regional Administrator for Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Southeast Region, under President Barack...
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Sep 13 2021

30mins

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Ven. Dr. Pannavati: Equanimity is Established Upon Boundless Generosity

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In this classic Dharma Talk with Venerable Pannavati Bikkhuni from the Heartwood Refuge in North Carolina, we are reminded of the deep interconnectedness of generosity and gratitude, and ultimately, equanimity, and how this timeless practice of meditation and ethics can help us navigate in the modern world.

Ven. Dr. Pannavati

Ven. Dr. Pannavati is co-founder and co-Abbot of Embracing-Simplicity Hermitage and Co-Director of Heartwood Refuge, a new intentional community, and residential retreat and conference center...
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Sep 07 2021

44mins

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Frank Ostaseski: Coming Home to the Body

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Frank Ostaseski invites us back into the body to experience the fullness of life, in order to lean into the mystery of life and death. He invites us to look at life and death through the lens of the elements, and into the realization of the interconnectedness of all things.

Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski is an internationally respected Buddhist teacher and visionary cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project, and founder of the Metta Institute. He has lectured at Harvard Medical...
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Aug 30 2021

1hr 2mins

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Jisho Sara Siebert: Living Buddhist Practice in Social Change

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Sensei Sara Jisho Siebert shares her journey as a Zen practitioner and the ways she has learned from the experiences in her life to stay with the unpleasant feelings and suffering that can arise in order to expand our capacity for empathy. She shares that the practice of being with our own suffering can lead […]

Aug 23 2021

46mins

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William DeBuys: A Report from (and about) The Trail to Kanjiroba

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William deBuys writes about his 2016 and 2018 medical expeditions in Upper Dolpo while participating in the Nomad’s Clinic through Upaya. He shares three excerpts from the soon-to-be-released book titled The Trail to Kanjiroba.

Aug 16 2021

42mins

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Zenju Earthlyn Manuel: The Shamanic Bones of Zen

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Osho Zenju Earthlyn Manuel and Roshi Joan Halifax engage in a dialogue to discuss the shamanic practice that is zen. She invites us into seeing za zen as a daily ceremony, a ceremonial elixir that is devoid of the clutter of the world. She invites us to see this ritual that we can re-engage with […]

Aug 10 2021

48mins

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Rhonda V. Magee: Beginning Again: The Four Establishments of Mindfulness as Antidote to Identity-Based Suffering

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In this wholly contemporary talk that is also deeply rooted in the Buddhist contemplative tradition, Rhonda Magee brings us into the classic practice of Satipatthana – mindfulness of body, feeling, thought, and phenomena, to help work with identity-based suffering. She shares how the Four Establishments of Mindfulness remind us that to be alive is a […]

Aug 02 2021

38mins

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Enkyo O'Hara: What’s time got to do with it?

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In her timely talk, Roshi Enkyo O’Hara invites us to sing along with Tina Turner, “What’s Time Got To Do With It?” and explores the process of overwhelm overwhelming overwhelm in Dogen’s fascicle Time-Being. Roshi Enkyo translates Dogen into modern idiom, relating that “FOMO (fear of missing out) is a universal fear that can trigger a […]

Jul 26 2021

40mins

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Norman Fischer: When You Greet Me I Bow: Notes and Reflections from a Life in Zen

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When you Greet Me I Bow, Roshi Norman Fischer’s latest book came about differently from his past writing endeavors. For Norman, and his editor, the past four decades of writing can be condensed into four main themes: A) Relationships; B) Buddhist Emptiness teachings; C) Culture & its Shapings, and D) Engagement. As a precursor to […]

Jul 19 2021

44mins

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Rhonda V. Magee & Kritee Kanko: Deconstructing Race, Liberating the Racist Mind: Practice-Based Insights from Contemplating the Elements

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Rhonda Myozan V Magee leads us in the inquiry of how the racist mind takes seed in all of us. She reminds us that we need to turn towards the legacy of racism and colonization in order to face the harm and impact in our communities. Rhonda invites us to look at how we embody […]

Jul 12 2021

43mins

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Stephanie Kaza: What is Moral Injury?

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In today’s talk Stephanie Kaza explores moral injury: We can be morally injured by the damage done to the environment. The moral injury leaves us feeling ashamed, guilty, and helpless, and ‘…threatens our belief in our society.’ Looking at other traditions like the ancient Christians and the Navajo, their wisdom demonstrates that we must ‘…take responsibility […]

Jul 05 2021

49mins

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Matthew Kozan Palevsky: Jubilee: Exploring Radical Freedom

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Hoshi Kozan Palevsky asks us: What has this pandemic given you and what has it allowed you to let go of? He asks us to look at this upheaval through the lens of a Jubilee, the Biblical practice of letting go of debt and other forms of bondage during a year of renewal. Kozan ends […]

Jun 29 2021

41mins

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Wendy Johnson: Planting Life, Growing Justice

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Episode Description: Sensei Wendy Johnson begins by reminding us of the previous day’s planting of the Three Sisters in the Upaya garden. The ancient sisters of squash, beans, and corn. In such difficult times gardening as a practice allows us to not look away at our grief. The importance of stopping, not turning away, in order […]

Jun 23 2021

1hr 4mins

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iTunes Ratings

129 Ratings
Average Ratings
92
17
8
7
5

Zen brain series are the best

By PavonesYogaCenter - Oct 24 2016
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Each year I look forward to the Zen Brain series of ten or more episodes. These podcasts are engaging and awakening. Roshi Joan brings delightful teachers to share wisdom and I look forward to one day visiting upaya Zen center in person. Until then, this podcast holds me over.

Thank you for this podcast.

By Ashley XR - Aug 02 2008
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Truly educational and enlightening.