Mindrolling – Raghu Markus – Ep. 288 – Zoketsu Norman Fischer

Mindrolling - Raghu Markus - Ep. 288 - Norman Fisher

This week on the Mindrolling Podcast, Raghu is joined by Zen priest Zoketsu Norman Fischer for a conversation about the ways that we can bring balance and compassion into our lives.

Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a poet and Zen Buddhist priest. For many years he has taught at the San Francisco Zen Center, the oldest and largest of the new Buddhist organizations in the West, where he served as Co-abbot from 1995-2000. He is presently a Senior Dharma Teacher there as well as the founder and spiritual director of the Everyday Zen Foundation, an organization dedicated to adapting Zen Buddhist teachings to Western culture.  Find more teaching from Norman at EverydayZen.org.

The Path of Imagination

Norman shares the inspiration behind his most recent book, The World Could Be Otherwise: Imagination and the Bodhisattva Path. He and Raghu discuss the role of imagination in spiritual practice. We look at the bodhisattva path of awakening and the six practices that define it.

“It is obvious to me that we make the world that we live in, to a great extent. We can’t ignore the shared world, but the way the world feels to us and the way we feel in it depends, to a large extent, on how we train our minds and heart.” – Zoketsu Norman Fischer

Appreciating Our ‘Mini-Me’ (9:15)

When we loosen our attachment to our identity, we are able to see the bigger picture that we are a part of. Norman offers guidance on ways that we can loosen that attachment by bringing space and attention to our actions and our thoughts.

“When you plunge deeply into who you actually are, you kind of get to the bottom of the ‘me’ part of you and you fall out the other end of it. You see that the ‘me’ wouldn’t be there without everybody else. That the ‘me’ is an expression of something far larger than this small individual. Then you can appreciate yourself. You can appreciate your ‘me’ when you realize it is not yours and it is not ‘you.’ It is an expression of something larger than you that also is existing all the time in your life.” – Zoketsu Norman Fischer

Training in Compassion (16:05)

Norman shares the Lojong teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. He and Raghu discuss these lessons in compassion that can teach us to be honest with ourselves and fully enter into the present moment.

Its All About Sangha (37:15)

Raghu and Norman reflect on the importance of community along our spiritual path. Norman expresses the need for us to extend our community and cooperation to the world at large.

“Humanity has got to stop being a bunch of atomized individuals and atomized cultures and atomized nation-states. There has to be a bigger sense of cooperating, within not only the species but the entire Earth’s community.” – Zoketsu Norman Fischer

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Images via Everyday Zen