Hazy Moon Zen Center


Los Angeles

Audio Dharma Talks


In this brief excerpt from a recent talk, Nyogen Roshi lays out the fundamentals of dokusan, the setting where formal one-on-one interviews between a Zen teacher and his or her students take place. “Dokusan is where you confront yourself,” Roshi says. “You can begin to lead yourself out of the entanglements of the egocentric mind. The whole point is to wake up in the now, to become selfless. You can’t understand that intellectually.”

Nansen Cuts the Cat29:31

Taking up one of the most famous koans, Nyogen Roshi touches on what it means when a Zen student resolves to live an awakened life. “The magic happens when I begin to relax and when I begin to learn to focus the mind,” Roshi says. “If I can begin to experience the wonder of this most amazing life, anyone can. But you have to have some determination.”

This Can Be Done12:12

In this talk, Nyogen Roshi reminds us of the most essential aspect of Buddha-dharma: The practice is real! “All the egocentric rumination that you think is so important–it’s silly! Literally. When you are close to the most amazing kind of experience. Closer, as the great Joshu said, than the skin on your nose.”

Visualization, Koans and Tai Chi11:16

How are Tibetan visualization practices, koans and Tai Chi related? All of these practices help the practitioner let go of the sense of separation that keeps him or her in a state of delusion about the true nature of reality. “Buddha-dharma is about your evolution–the evolution of your consciousness,” Nyogen Roshi says. “There is no ‘out there.’ There is just this amazing world of oneness.”

The Path to Practice14:00

A reluctant guest at a Saturday talk prompts Nyogen Roshi to deliver a tour-de-force round-up of the key themes of his teaching over the past few years. Connecting the yearning that brings a student to Zen to the cultivation of samadhi through practice, Roshi says, “There is something right here, right now that wants to wake up, or you wouldn’t be here in this room.this room.”

Become an Empty Vessel24:01

“You cannot free yourself from the dualistic mind by thinking about it,” Nyogen Roshi reminds us in a talk he gave during a recent sesshin. Instead, using our practice, we have to allow our minds to become still and empty in order to see clearly. “The Miracle is right here!” Roshi says. “This is the miracle!”

The Oyster Swallows the Moon27:26

Working with “Chimon’s Prajna Wisdom”–a case from the Blue Cliff Record–Nyogen Roshi offers practice instructions that apply not just to working with koans but to any of the practices in the Zen tradition. “You have to take the koan beyond the intellectual mind, the egocentric mind, and that is not easy,” Roshi says. “The difficult part is to continuously sustain it.”

Lineage is Real32:30

“Lineage isn’t something that you develop, something that you create. It’s something that you receive.” Responding to those who want to establish novel Buddhist institutions in the United States, Nyogen Roshi reminds us how profoundly simple and profoundly difficult true Buddhist practice inevitably is–and how important it is, for those reasons, to practice with a teacher who has “sat in the room with a teacher who has sat in the room with a teacher.”

Miraculous Activity33:27

In a talk weaving insights from the contemporary physicist Russell Targ into the teachings of Dogen Zenji and Nagarjuna, Nyogen Roshi demystifies “miraculous activities” like levitation and remote viewing. “The true miracles are the daily activities of Buddhas,” Roshi says. Clarifying the matter for us, he says, “the truth is absolute naked awareness, free from all conditioning.”

Do You See Where You Are?41:51

In this teisho, Nyogen Roshi relates the story of his recently getting lost in what he calls a “hell realm” and connects his experience with the lessons he is taking from The End of Suffering, a book that he has recommended to the sangha. “It’s your head that you’re constantly looking at,” Roshi says. “So long as you’re up in there, blinded behind your eyeballs, you are not dealing with reality. You have to free yourself. You cannot hold a conceptualization of what you think it is.”