Links to YouTube Lectures

Reading Dogen

Posted by on Jan 20, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

Shinshu’s lecture on Saturday January 16th 2021 was on how to read Dogen’s texts. This is part tips and part Dharma talk on the difficulty and pitfalls of how we approach studying Dogen Zenji’s Way. The audio is on this website under Dharma Talks and the YouTube link to the video is 

Daijaku Talks about Sojun Roshi’s Passage

Posted by on Jan 12, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

Sojun Weitsman Roshi passed away on January 7th at 5:30 p.m. Daijaku talks about Sojun’s teachings in this talk given the Saturday after his death at Ocean Gate. Both Jaku and Shinshu are Sojun Roshi disciples, having received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Roshi in 2005. The lecture can be seen on YouTube at

On 2020’s Passage

Posted by on Jan 5, 2021 in Blog | 0 comments

On 2020’s Passage

Link to YouTube lecture Saturday January 2nd 2020 by Shinshu Roberts

2020 was a master class in Buddhist practice, specifically sanboin or the three marks of impermanence, no-self and nirvana.

(photo by Ron Davis)

Reflecting on Our Life: Winter Solstice 2020

Posted by on Dec 23, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Rev. Kinst’s most recent lecture is called “Reflecting on Our Life: Winter Solstice 2020.” The YouTube video is available at this link:

The photo below was taken by Ron Davis an Ocean Gate Sangha Member at dusk on the solstice in Aptos, CA. 

YouTube Lectures on Ryaku Fusatsu by Shinshu

Posted by on Nov 24, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

YouTube Lectures on Ryaku Fusatsu by Shinshu

Shinshu has been lecturing on the meaning and practice of the Full Moon Ceremony.

Talk 1 covered the Title and Repentance Verse

Talk 2 discusses the Homages to Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Ancestors


Eihei Koso Hotsuganmon 1 of 4

Posted by on Nov 22, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Eihei Koso Hotsuganmon 1 of 4

Link to YouTube Videos of talks 1 – 4 of Rev. Kinst’s teachings on Eihei Koso Hotsuganmon by Dogen Zenji

Link to talk 1:

Link to talk 2:

Link to talk 3:

Link to talk 4:

George Floyd’s Death and our Sahaworld

Posted by on Jun 3, 2020 in Blog | 0 comments

Shinshu recently gave a talk (May 30th) on how, as Buddhist, we may practice and respond to George Floyd’s death. Here is a link to Shinshu’s lecture on YouTube.

Entering Another Country

Posted by on Feb 12, 2018 in Blog | 0 comments

Entering Another Country

“Bodhidharma was going to an unknown country: ordinary beings who value their body and life could never conceive of such a journey.”

Dogen Zenji, Shobogenzo Gyoji, part 2.

Shinshu’s Commentary:

This quotation, on its face, is about Bodhidharma making a sea voyage from India to China to transmit his Buddhist understanding. It is also an acknowledgement of the difficulties of making the leap from a selfish life to compassionate response.

When we let go of our desires to control and include the other, this can seem like entering another country. We have to set aside our fears, set aside our likes and dislikes. This journey can be difficult and perilous. Who knows what the other person will do? Can we trust them? It can be like stepping off the 100 foot pole and we are afraid. Yet, we go forth, we trust in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. We place our toe on the edge of the platform. Before the Dharma was transmitted to us, we may not have had this vision, mustered the faith, and taken the leap. Practice takes courage. It’s good to remember that we are doing a difficult thing. Please remember this when facing yourself and facing another. Let us be kind to each other and see each other’s brave effort.

All the best, Shinshu

Erecting a Temple Here

Posted by on Sep 30, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Attention! As the World Honored One was walking with his disciples, he pointed to the ground and said, “It would be good to erect a temple here.” The god Indra took a blade of grass and stuck it in the ground and said, “The temple has been erected.” The World Honored One smiled. [from The Book of Equanimity, trans. by Gerry Shishin Wick]

Shinshu’s Commentary

The Buddha is walking along a familiar path, he points to the ground and says “Why not build a temple here?” Indra, a powerful Hindu god, sticks a blade of grass in the ground and says “Here it is.” Is Indra mocking  the Buddha? Is the Buddha suggesting his donors should get busy and build a grand temple in his name? What exactly is happening here?

A commentarial verse to this koan is “Everywhere life is sufficient in its way – No matter if one is not as clever as the other.” It is often said in Zen that our ability to practice is not predicated upon a dull or sharp mind. We may not be as clever as Indra who was quick to point out that even a common blade of grass, stuck in the ground, right where we are, is a temple. Furthermore, we may not be famous or working to find a cure for cancer.

This very life is sufficient . . . in its way. What is its way? I would suggest it is the way of all beings practicing together in one Buddha field, building a sanctuary called everyday life. This is the Bodhisattva Path. Yet, it doesn’t feel like enough . . . sometimes. In Zen we say “this very life is Buddha.” Our work is a temple, our home is a temple, our mistakes are a temple: everything you can call something is a temple and a teacher. Dogen writes it is the song of the valley stream. Can you hear it? Nothing special. When we can’t hear it, can we still change our view based upon our faith in the truth of practice? Can we make our best effort to nurture, respect, and honor each moment as a temple?

Try to remember this teaching when you are fed up, tired, and feeling shabby. One blade of grass. Has it occurred to you that this one blade of grass might look dried, dead, and limp? Is this a temple? Yup! Please come on in . . . the door is always open.

What Place Could Not Be a Buddha-land?

Posted by on Jul 17, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

“What place could not be a Buddha-land? Therefore, when we want to circulate the truth of the Buddhist ancestors, it is not always necessary to select a perfect place or to wait for fortunate circumstances. Shall we just consider today to be a starting point?” Dogen Zenji, the Founder of Japanese Soto Zen

Shinshu Commentary:

Every place is a Buddha-land. Buddha-lands are places where Buddha’s live. Who is a Buddha? We are all the embodiment of a Buddha’s nature, although we may not always respond as such. Dogen is encouraging us to remember that in this Buddha-land, filled with our joys and sorrows, practice happens here. It happens wherever you are standing, sitting, walking or lying down. Moment-by-moment we say “why not start now?” Even thought we might resist practice, we make our best effort.

One day Zen Master Dogen asked his students: “Shall we just consider today to be a starting point?”

“Yes!” the assembly responded.

Dogen held up his whisk, making a circle in the air.



Napa Valley web design and development