Dogen’s Explorations of Reality

Sky Flowers, Deep Time, and Flowing Mountains

A Three-part Telecourse

With Taigen Dan Leighton
Author of Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry

Hosted by Diane Musho Hamilton
co-founder Two Arrows Zen, Salt Lake City, Utah

Saturdays, 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. MDT via Maestroconference — June 22, June 29, July 6

You are warmly invited to join Buddhist scholar, translator, and Zen Dharma Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton for an intimate exploration of five profound and illuminating essays by Eihei Dōgen (1200-1253 C.E.), a world figure in the history of spiritual literature and founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan.

Taigen’s host for this series is Diane Musho Hamilton, whose love of the Dharma, Buddha, and Sangha have inspired this offering.

This mini telecourse will meet three times, on successive Saturday mornings for a one-hour presentation followed by an opportunity for questions.

Members of Two Arrows Zen and Ancient Dragon Zen Gate are welcome to extend this invitation far and wide to all beings in the Dharma World.

The point of Zen forms and guidelines is not to follow them slavishly, but to use them as lattices around which to entwine our wild true hearts, love, and creativity, at the service of the world of which we are expressions. Such a path is available to us all.
—Taigen Dan Leighton

What I like most essentially is the idea that you come to the cushion to meet your life. To meet your life as fully as you possibly can with all of its complexity, with all of its error, with all of its beauty, with all the radical ways you love what you love in the world, and who you care for. When you come to the cushion and you sit down, it’s basically a gesture of showing up to your entire life. That’s it.
—Diane Musho Hamilton

Dogen Painting
flowing mountains

Course Reading

Your participation will be enhanced by thorough preparation for each class, which is required readings from two books. Both texts are available through on-line and independent book-sellers.

zen-questionsZen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry by Taigen Dan Leighton

Preparation for Class 1 on June 22:

  • The Practice of Genjōkōan (PDF*)
  • Reflections on Translating Dōgen (PDF*)

*Right-click to save files to your computer.


To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, body and mind as well as the body and mind of others drop away.
—Dogen Zenji

shobogenzoShobogenzo: Zen Essays by Dogen, Thomas Cleary, translator

Required reading for the course (in order of presentation):

  • The Four Integrative Methods of Bodhisattvas
  • The Issue at Hand
  • Flowers in the Sky
  • Being Time
  • Scripture of Mountains and Waters

Course Recordings

Lightly edited course recordings will be sent to all participants during the week, in time for review before the next class meeting.

Zazen is the posture and attitude in which we actually meet the totality of our true life.
—Taigen Dan Leighton

Virtual Temple

Diane Musho Hamilton will lead a Virtual Temple consisting of periods of Zazen as a shared practice in virtual space before and after the telecourse call. More information about the Virtual Temple practice will be sent to all course registrants.

Zen practice is your life. Some things just have to be lived out.
—Diane Musho Hamilton


Taigen Dan Leighton

Taigen Dan Leighton is a Soto Zen priest and teacher, scholar, and author. He is an authorized lineage holder and Zen teacher in the tradition of Shunryu Suzuki, and is the founder and Guiding Teacher of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago, Illinois.

He began his Zen practice in 1975 at the New York Zen Center, training under Kando Nakajima Roshi. After a move to California, Leighton practiced in residence at the San Francisco Zen Center, and in 1986 was ordained as a priest by Tenshin Reb Anderson.

Leighton lived in Japan from 1990–1992, translating Dōgen texts with Shohaku Okumura and training under various masters. In 1994, he founded the Mountain Source Sangha in Bolinas, San Rafael, and San Francisco, California (of which Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is a sister temple).

In 2000, Taigen Dan Leighton received shiho, or Dharma transmission, from Tenshin Anderson. He taught at Loyola University, Chicago and has taught since 1994 at the Institute of Buddhist Studies, part of the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, from which Leighton has a Ph.D. degree.

He is author of several books including Zen Questions; Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry and Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression, and is editor and co-translator of many books including Dogen’s Extensive Record and Cultivating the Empty Field.

Zen Questions equally introduces and expands our American understanding of Buddhist teachings, and of the many possibilities in navigating our own lives.
—Jane Hirshfield

Diane Musho Hamilton

Diane Musho Hamilton is a gifted mediator, facilitator, and teacher of Zen and Integral Spirituality. She has been a practitioner of meditation for more than 25 years.

Diane began her studies at Naropa University in 1983 with Choygam Trungpa Rinpoche, and became a Zen student of Genpo Merzel Roshi in 1997. In 2003, she received ordination as a Zen monk with her husband Michael Zimmerman, and received dharma transmission from Roshi in 2006. Diane facilitates Big Mind Big Heart, a process developed by Genpo Merzel Roshi to help elicit the insights of Zen in Western audiences. She has worked with Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute in Denver, Colorado, since 2004.

In 2007, Diane co-founded Two Arrows Zen, with a zendo in Salt Lake City and a summer practice in Torrey, Utah. Two Arrows Zen serves a growing community of Integral Zen practitioners locally and worldwide.

For Diane, Zen practice is a fundamental commitment to experiencing reality as it is – beautiful, ungraspable and seamless, nothing other than your own life.

Diane is featured in the book The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women. (November, 2013. Wisdom Publications, Zenshin Florence Caplow, Editor). She is also the author of a forthcoming book Everything is Workable (November, 2013. Shambhala Publications) which applies Zen meditation practice to conflict resolution.

Diane is a very special person, compassionate, caring and wise. Her facilitation and teaching skills are beyond question. I very much appreciated and recommend her timeless and timely integral zen work.
—Lama Surya Das


$75 for members of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate and Two Arrows Zen
$100 for non-members

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