Roshi Joan Halifax – BHNN Guest Podcast – Ep. 14 – The Roots of Practice with Wendy Johnson


Roshi Joan Halifax is joined by Wendy Johnson at Upaya Zen Center for a conversation about grounding ourselves in the roots of our practice.

Show Notes

What Am I Leaving Behind? (Opening) – In reflecting on the recent death of Satsang member, Roshi Joan has us ask ourselves what we will be leaving behind when it is our time to go. Roshi Joan and Wendy discuss the circle of life – from the roots of our ancestors that we stand on to the seeds we sow for future generations.

“Dharma for me is rooted in beginningless, endless roots.” – Wendy Johnson

The Roots of Practice (17:35) – With Wendy, we look at the need to ground ourselves in the roots of our practice. She reflects on the importance of grounding ourselves in uncertain times such as now.

“What we most need to hear now, within ourselves, is the sound of the earth calling.” – Thich Nhat Han

Circle of the Way (23:05) – Wendy shares an insightful story about the Zen lesson she received from Clark Strand, author and former monk, who reconnected with the earth and its ancestors by trying live as closely to the cycles of nature as he could.

“After a few months of this I was sitting quietly by myself at the edge of dark and I experienced continuous practice, the circle of the way. I experienced the earth opening up and Bodhisattvas pouring out of it.” – Clark Strand

Cultivating the Mind (29:30) – Roshi Joan speaks on the concept of Bhāvanā which refers to both the cultivation of the land and the mind. She also talks about the wild nature of the uncultivated mind which has retained its original form.

“I think it is important to plant trees, friends. As Wendy says, their roots go deep into the earth as our practice goes deep into the earth of our life. How do we uphold ourselves in the midst of the incredible conditions we are encountering in this time. We need strength and, in a way, we need to embody the quality of trees as we are planting them. Without this flowering tree, there is no air, no atmosphere for our lives. So plant trees, it’s like returning as Bodhisattvas to our original nature.” – Roshi Joan Halifax

Discover More: Krishna Das talks about planting the seeds of practice and cultivating the mind on Ep. 50 of the Pilgrim Heart Podcast
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