About

Tall Tree w Sunlight

Access to Zen

where the path is available to all

Welcome to A2Z! You have arrived!

The main intention of starting this site is to share ways of practicing which can be applied to our everyday lives. The site is called “Access to Zen” for several key reasons.*  First is my commitment and love for the teachings and intentions of the Zen practices I’ve been exposed to (see Teacher tab). Second is that while I have trust and faith in the Zen style, in my opinion, it has maintained more of its monastic vestiges (often seen and described as “forms”, “rules”, “rituals”, etc.) so can be harder to access; especially when starting out. Therefore, my teaching style is to incorporate what are typically considered Insight/Vipassana-emphasized techniques to help make Soto Zen practice more accessible.

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi is quoted as saying the style of teaching he established at San Francisco Zen Center is “”Hinayana practice with Mahayana mind.” I guess you could say I’m just a bit more overt about it.

Having said that: What is Zen **? What are the teachings that make up the “Zen” I will be sharing?

A famous saying in Zen is “A finger pointing at the moon.” This expresses one of its fundamental points:  all teachings, thoughts, comments, etc. about Zen are descriptors only. As Zen practice points us towards being in THIS very moment of Life, how can it be describable?

Still, fool that I am, as a way to engage with you on this site, I will be making some efforts to “point” at some aspects of Zen practice in upcoming posts. As the acronym for Access to Zen is “A2Z”, I thought a good place to start is by going thru each letter of the alphabet per post. As such, if you have a picture of any of the letters of the alphabet, please send them to me. You’ll be credited for the picture unless you ask not to be.

Again, welcome to the Path! May it be accessible to you wherever you are. May all beings benefit from this site and our interactions on it!

Warmly, Liên

* Please go to “C” post for more very key reasons for “Access to Zen.” It just didn’t seem to fit into this page initially but is fundamental to what I do and the purpose of this site.

**Note: I’m aware that there are many traditions of “Zen” practices. I have practice with two kinds myself (SFZC’s Soto Zen and the Vietnamese Truc Lam traditions). However, for brevity, on this site, “Zen” means “Soto Zen” unless otherwise noted.

photo: Anais Nguyen

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where the path is available to all