November 23, 2014

Turbid Revelations


Merry Whatever

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Dec 16, 2002

Christmas is a strange season for the American Buddhist. No matter how long you've been on the Path, Christmas still feels like Christmas. And everybody actslike it's Christmas. And some part of you wants it to be Christmas-precepts or no precepts. Jesus was, by anyone's reckoning, a great Bodhisattva. And... Read more

Why I Am Not a Zen Master

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Nov 30, 2002

Recently my congregation assembled to ask me how an ordinary Zen guy gets to be a Zen Master. "So, Rev," she said, "What's up with the whole 'Zen Master' deal, anyway" Patiently ignoring the single quotes in her voice, I explained that only a Zen Master knows how to become... Read more

Dubious Transactions

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Nov 09, 2002

Most people don't know it, but Zen guys love Zen knick-knacks. It's not enough to have a simple altar with a Buddha statue, some flowers, incense burner, altar cloth and a nice cushion to sit on. Eventually, we just have to have that geniune brass gong (made in Mexico) which... Read more

Vested Interests

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Oct 23, 2002

If you've watched the old Kung Fu series on television, you might have the impression that becoming a Zen priest requires passing some kind of test-and you'd be correct. The real test, though, is nothing so exotic as walking on rice paper, hefting a tureen full of red-hot scorpions, or... Read more

Among Other Things

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Jun 12, 2002

Among other things, 9/11 turned me into a news junkie. It's all my fault. From September to May, every day started with a quick look at the Associated Press web site, followed by visits to CNN, the Washington Post, the BBC, and that black sheep of journalism, the Drudge Report.... Read more

That Sinking Feeling

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Jan 31, 2002

Zen teaches us swamp-dwellers to value simplicity, austerity. That must be why karma dictated that I should now live in a hut. My home was built in 1948, at the height of Washington D.C.'s post-WWII housing boom. It's tiny and white, with a little crooked chimney and a little plugged... Read more

Lhasa Apsos

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published May 01, 2001

I had a Zen moment this morning. Walking to the train station, I saw a little dog get clipped by a car. There wasn't much to hit: the dog weighed less than a pigeon and looked like it hadn't seen the inside of a house or a feeding bowl in... Read more

Zen and the Dharmakaya Cadillac

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Apr 02, 2001

Every Buddhist biker knows that "when the student is ready, the master appears." Last week I was the student, and Sensei manifested himself in the form of a 1981 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, white, with Maryland tags and an appetite for Lesser Vehicles.The lesson began about five minutes before I was... Read more

Zen and the Boxer Rebellion

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Oct 12, 2000

In China at the close of the 19th century, a secret society called the Fists of Righteous Harmony started a movement to expel all foreigners from their homeland. History knows these rebels as the Boxers.But never mind them. This is about underwear. Big underwear. Zen underwear.A while ago, a kind... Read more

The Eighty-Fourth Problem

by Yin Yao, OHY

Published Sep 05, 2000

This essay is about problems - the kind we all share. Big ones and little ones, problems that we cause ourselves and problems that the world inflicts upon us.A man once came to see the Buddha because he heard that the Buddha knew how to solve problems. The man had... Read more