The North London Zen group is pleased to welcome Jundo Cohen, author of “The Zen Master’s Dance” who will be speaking about Dogen Zenji and his new book as well as answering questions.

Join us (online) for Jundo’s 20 City, 4 Continent, Around the World Book Tour


On our regular, North London Zoom link: 

That’s number: 344964756    and passcode: 987654321


After Zazen on Sunday 22nd November

09:00 – 10:20 – zazen, kinhin, zazen, ceremony

10:30 – Jundo Cohen – Guest Speaker

Please, as always, try to “arrive” at least 5 minutes early  – and do participate as you are able – if you can come for Jundo’s talk, but not zazen – that’s fine! If the other way around,  also fine!


Jundo will be speaking about THIS passage from Shobogenzo Uji:

“Once, Yaoshan asked Mazu, “I have digested all the teachings [and] scriptures, but what was the ancestral master Bodhidharma’s intention in coming to China from India in the West?” Thus questioned, Mazu responded, “Sometimes I make him raise an eyebrow or wink an eye, and sometimes I do not make him raise an eyebrow or wink an eye. Sometimes to make him raise an eyebrow or wink an eye is what’s right, sometimes to make him raise an eyebrow or wink an eye is not right.” …

[Dōgen comments:] [Mazu’s] “eyebrows” and “eyes” are the mountains and oceans, because the mountains and oceans are his “eyebrows” and “eyes.” In his “make him raise an eyebrow” he is to see the mountains, and “make him wink” is to understand the seas. The “right” answer truly is his, and he is actualized by having him raise the eyebrows and wink. But neither does “not right” mean not having him raise the eyebrows and wink, and to not have him raise the eyebrows and wink does not mean “not right.” All are equally the being-time. The mountains are time, and the oceans are time. Without time, the mountains and oceans could never exist, so we should not deny that time is existing in the mountains and oceans right here and now. If time were annihilated, the mountains and oceans would be annihilated, but as time is not annihilated, thus are the mountains and oceans preserved. This being so, the morning star appears, the Buddha Tathāgata appears, the eye appears and raising up a flower appears. Each is time and, were there no time, it could not be thus.”

About Jundo:

Founder of Treeleaf Zendo (an online sangha), Jundo was born in New York in 1960, ordained and received Dharma Transmission from Gudo Wafu Nishijima. He is a member of the American-based Soto Zen Buddhist Association. Jundo began Zen practice in 1980, has lived in Japan for most years since that time, and was for many years a lay student of Azuma Ikuo Roshi at Soji-ji Dai-Honzan. He lives in Tsukuba, Japan with his wife and two small children, working as a translator of Japanese, and thus believes that the hard border between ordained priest and householder have long been vanishing in Soto Zen.

About “The Zen Master’s Dance”:

In Jundo’s words:

“I believe that many Soto practitioners, both the very new and the many years’ experienced, still struggle mightily sometimes to get a handle on Shobogenzo. That’s largely due, of course, to Master Dogen’s wild writing style and unique expressions of the Buddhist teachings. The result is that, sometimes, even dedicated Soto folks give up in frustration and confusion. Many newer practitioners are scared off by these texts. I believe that this has resulted in Master Dogen being less discussed in recent years, and even a bit neglected, because so many readers and practitioners have given up in the end, feeling that they just cannot get a taste for what Dogen was on about. For many, the Shobo is a “no go.”

To help remedy this situation, I have written a book that is being published by Wisdom Publications this month. I am trying to fill a special niche with my book as a first pathway into Dogen and Shobogenzo for those who struggle. I have somewhat simplified and modernized Dogen’s style, in several of his writings, to make them easier to follow and grasp for today’s readers. And I accompany this with digestible explanations of the likely meanings, all hopefully in a way that does Dogen justice and is faithful to his intent. I wanted to simplify, but not overly simplify. Further, I have tried to explain Dogen’s stylistic quirks in ways that readers will be able to relate to. So many remain befuddled by what Dogen was expressing in all his lyrical rambles, and I want to overcome that.”