Dharma Talks by Maezumi Roshi


Dharma Talks by Maezumi Roshi

Honorary founder of the Hazy Moon Zen Center, our teacher’s teacher, and one of the most significant forces in Zen Buddhism of our time, Maezumi Roshi was born in 1931 to the Kirigaya-ji temple-household of Baian Hakujun Kuroda Roshi, one of the leading figures in Japanese Soto Zen.

As part of our effort to honor Maezumi Roshi and uphold the living legacy of his teaching, we’re pleased to make recordings of some of his teishos available to the public. Maezumi Roshi gave these talks a few years before his death, though they remain fresh and vibrant even today–a finger pointing directly at the life of the listener.




Forgetting the Self, Catching the Ox (6:39)

In this brief excerpt from his series of talks on the Ten Oxherding Pictures, Maezumi Roshi summarizes the importance of the pictures as a representation of Zen practice as the ongoing process of forgetting the self. “Finding, seeing, catching the ox–without forgetting the self you can’t catch it,” Maezumi Roshi says. “There are all different kinds, shades of forgetting the self. It’s hard because of our self-deceiving mind. Because of this self-deceiving mind, we can’t quite see this awakened mind, see?”

Maezumi on The Ten Oxherding Pictures (4:28)

In this excerpt from a talk on the Ten Oxherding Pictures, Maezumi Roshi summarizes the classic sequence of spiritual training as carried forward in the Zen tradition. “It’s got to be simple!” he says. “It’s got to look simple!” As for scholars, he asks “What is the use for writing intricate, 5-600 pages of papers which is mumbling around this fact?”


 DOGEN 220

Radiant Illumination (5:45)

“Our lives as we are–that’s the radiant illumination of time.” This excerpt from Maezumi Roshi’s teisho on Uji captures both his reading of Dogen Zenji and his essential message to Zen students. “Standing, sitting, moving around, lying down … the way that the self arrays itself is the form of the entire world. Everything in the whole world is nothing but my nature.”

Maezumi on Uji: Part One (29:37)

In this first installment in a forthcoming series of talks on Uji–“being time”–Maezumi Roshi relates Uji to Dogen Zenji’s intention in the Genjokoan and the whole of the Shobogenzo. “This Uji is not a small portion of something else, but something equal to all these other titles. We are concerned here today with Uji as the Shobogenzo, as the Genjokoan.”

Maezumi on Uji: Part Two (23:35)

“All dharmas are Uji,” Maezumi Roshi tells us in the second installment in his series of talks on Dogen Zenji’s commentary on Uji–“being-time.” What does Maezumi Roshi mean when he says that everything is being-time? “Being us,” he says, “being you, being me–that’s Uji.”

Maezumi on Uji: Part Three (7:32)

“Please don’t lose that very essential part of it,” Maezumi Roshi implores us in this latest excerpt from his series of talks on Uji. “That is, how this very life of each of us is no other than the Genjokoan. Uji itself, see?”



Maezumi’s Three Teachings  Karen Maezen Miller, sensei, shares a key set of instructions given by Maezumi Roshi.

Read more about Maezumi Roshi and our lineage