No Hope No Despair I DharmaCrafts Blog

No Hope No Despair- Koun Franz

I have a friend who describes me as a “glass half full” kind of guy. He says he likes that—he likes being around an optimist. I don't know if it’s ...
No Hope No Despair I DharmaCrafts Blog

No Hope No Despair- Koun Franz

I have a friend who describes me as a “glass half full” kind of guy. He says he likes that—he likes being around an optimist. I don't know if it’s ...
Beneath The Bodhi Tree I DharmaCrafts

Beneath the Bodhi Tree- Koun Franz

While many traditions commemorate the Buddha’s birth, enlightenment, and passing into nirvana on one day, with the celebration of Vesak, Zen has tr...
Nothing Is Special I DharmaCrafts Blog

Nothing Is Special - Koun Franz

Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan, closes one of his most famous writings (Bendowa, “On the Endeavor of the Way”) with a question-and-answer ...
Who's Your Assistant I DharmaCrafts Blog

Who's Your Assistant- Koun Franz

The teacher Atisha (982–1054) was born in India and had an immeasurable impact on Tibetan Buddhism. He’s worth looking up—there are lots of good st...
Find Your Center of Gravity I DharmaCrafts Blog

Find Your Center of Gravity - Koun Franz

Years ago in Japan, I went on a ferry ride from Tokyo to Oita—about thirty-six hours on the water. The waves were huge, and I get seasick easily; a...
How Bit It All Is I DharmaCrafts Blog

How Big It All Is- Koun Franz

One night a few weeks ago, I was driving up the coast with my family. The wind was intense, and out the window we could make out, in the darkness, ...
Nanquan, the Cat, and Us - Koun Franz

Nanquan, the Cat, and Us - Koun Franz

One of the most famous koans in all of Zen literature is about a cat. Warning: it isn’t cute.  While Nanquan (the abbot) was away from the monaster...
Let The Arrows Fall At Your Feet I DharmaCrafts Blog

Let The Arrows Fall At Your Feet- Koun Franz

According to the legend, when Siddhartha resolved to awaken and sat down beneath the bodhi tree, his success was all but assured. He had come a lon...
The Meaning of Mudras I Koun Franz

The Meaning of Mudras- Koun Franz

On my altar at home, there is a Buddha, seated—his right hand is up, palm facing forward, and his left hand is on his left knee, fingers down, palm...
What's In Your Way I DharmaCrafts Blog

What's In Your Way- Koun Franz

Recently I’ve been studying a text called “Being–Time” (Uji) by Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen in Japan. It’s a difficult read; I wouldn’t dare try...
Bodhidharma I DharmaCrafts Blog

Bodhidharma - Koun Franz

The Zen tradition has plenty of interesting characters. The koan literature is full of them—cocky young monks, unpredictable teachers, old women on...