Practice in the World–Zen Verses

These verses are the remnants of short dharma talks. All of the commentary, examples, explications, context etc. have been stripped away so that the verses can be experienced individually. These teachers got to the heart of the matter succinctly (There are so many words these  that it is easy to be distracted by the presentation. ) References to the full work are made where possible.

Practice in the World


Look and listen, touch and eat
Smell, wander, sit and stand.
Renounce the vanity of discussion
Abandon Thought and be not moved from singleness. (55)


Mindfulness is established (by him) precisely to the extent necessary just for knowledge, just for remembrance and he lives independently of and not grasping anything in the world.  (32)


Whatever pours forth from the mind
Possesses the nature of the owner
Are waves different from the water
Their nature, like that of space in one and the same  (72)


Do not sit at home, Do not go to the forest.
Recognize mind wherever you are.
When one abides in perfect and complete enlightenment,Where is Samsara and where is Nirvana. (103)

V Capping Summary

He who clings to the Void
And neglects compassion
Does not reach the highest stage.
But he who practices only compassion
Does not gain release from the tools of ignorance.
He whoever is strong in the practice of both
Remains neither in delusion nor Nirvana (112)

Source: 32: The Dhamma,  All others from Saraha’s Treasury of Songs, from  Buddhist Texts through the Ages (Conze et al editor, 1964)

Dharma talks are sometimes experienced as energy transmitted through words with the intention to help further the sitting and the practice. The talk may be non-discursive, having no progression from beginning to end. Just simply sit with attention and listen. If something resonates with you, allow it in to help with the zazen. If there is no resonance, simply let it go without looking back or chasing after it. If attention strays during, simply come back to the present; there is no need to try to reconstruct it as a lecture There is no need for intellectual analysis as there is nothing to figure out. The energy in the room and the attention are essential to experiencing these talks.


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