Joseph Bobrow – BHNN Guest Podcast – Ep. 56 – Sitting In the Midst of It with Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao

Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao and Joseph Bobrow talk about spiritual practice during the Coronavirus pandemic and what these chaotic circumstances might reveal about ourselves and the world.

Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao has served as the Abbot and Head Teacher of Zen Center of Los Angeles since 1999, succeeding Abbot Emeritus Roshi Bernie Glassman. Her passion for practice has led to creative explorations in new forms of training, including shared stewardship, a model of sangha building. She is the author of The Book of Householder Koans: Waking Up in the Land of Attachments. Learn more about Roshi Egyoku here.  

Sitting In the Midst of It

Joseph welcomes Egyoku, and they catch up on how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus pandemic. They explore how meditation can help us hold to the center in these difficult times, and Egyoku talks about how sitting in the midst of this tremendous suffering can be actually be fertile grounds for our spiritual practice.

“That’s the question. What’s the shelter that we all seek, or find? We have to find it, we can’t just seek it now. We’re in the middle of the storm.” – Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao

Ethan Nichtern explores practicing in the world as it is during the Coronavirus pandemic on The Road Home Ep. 36
Householder Koans (28:18)

Joseph asks Egyoku about her book, and the difference between classic Zen koans and householder koans. They talk about the power of stories, and how incredibly helpful it is for trauma survivors to be able to control their own narrative.

“Whatever goes on, at some point we’re able to just sit still in the midst of it. And I think that’s a very powerful way to live. It certainly has been for me.” – Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao

Plunging into Chaos (48:40)

Joseph explores Egyoku’s ability to plunge into chaotic circumstances and make dharma hay out of them. Egyoku talks about some of the lessons she’s learned from her spiritual teachers, and how she’s carrying those lessons forward in a new way.

“What happened for me in being able to [spend time] with Maezumi Toshi, and with Bernie Glassman to some extent, is one simply absorbs, through every pore, a particular way of being.” – Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao

Art via tomertu