Roshi Ken (ICS President Ken Byalin) says: "I’m not a typical Zen teacher. My Zen practice manifests as social action. Integration Charter Schools is a manifestation of the practice."

Words Fail: Strategy

In Zen, we say, “The past is gone; the future does not exist.” There is only the present. The rest is an illusion.  Ram Dass, a friend of my beloved mentor, Bernie Glassman, wrote a book titled Be Here Now. Bernie Glassman was my teacher. He challenged me to breathe, to be present. In true […]

Words Fail: Mission

Nothing stays the same. Nothing is forever. Everything changes. One Zen Truth. Another truth? Words are illusory, a finger pointing at the moon. The words are not the moon. Then, why speak? Because when someone points to the moon and says, “Look, the moon,” sometimes we see the moon. Ultimately, words always fail. As the Zen […]

Motivation

I am the one who keeps people’s spirits up when we face difficult challenges, not necessarily with cheerful “rah-rah!” but rather by embracing the unexpected. It is inevitable that our schools are going to develop in ways which we hadn’t anticipated. The world that actually arrives is never the world we expected. The challenge is […]

Delegation

“There are STILL too many meetings. “I’m still not able to get my job done.” I grew up on folk music, rediscovered and revived in the 1930s by balladeers like Woody Guthrie (Arlo’s dad) and Pete Seeger — enriched with songs of the dust bowl and the labor movement. My father played guitar and sang. […]

Great Schools for Teachers and Students

I’ve been reluctant to say this out loud or in public. Embarrassment. Like it or not, might it be that schools exist to benefit and serve teachers as well as students? As if that is something to be ashamed of. There is an ethos of service (in my mind at least) that service is a […]

There Are Too Many Meetings

Attention! Master Jizo asked Hogen, “Where have you come from?”  “I pilgrimage aimlessly,” replied Hogen.  “What is the matter of your pilgrimage?” asked Jizo.  “I don’t know,” replied Hogen.  “Not knowing is the most intimate,” remarked Jizo.  At that, Hogen experienced great enlightenment.  — Case 20, from the Shōyō Roku (The Book of Equanimity). Good […]

Our Hedgehog (Again)

Last year, in one of the first blogs, I wrote about Our Hedgehog. Waiting for my daughter, Jamie, to finish something she was writing at Barnes and Noble, I stumbled upon Jim Collins’ Good to Great. His Hedgehog concept helped us crystallize the core of our success. Collins explained that the Hedgehog resides at the […]

Monastery of the Mind

When I was in my junior or senior year of high school, I read an article about Carleton College, probably sent to me by Carleton, in Look (a now-defunct competitor and alternative to Life, which is pretty much defunct now too.) It described the college as a co-ed monastery. I was intrigued by the image […]

Succession

When I had only just begun to study with Bernie, even before he had formally agreed to be my teacher, I asked him how to infuse my Zen practice into my practice of psychotherapy. He thought for a moment, suggested a book I might read, but then added, “But really, just do your Zen practice; […]

The Three Tenets: Loving Action

In the mid-’90s, I was part of a small group that worked with Roshi Bernie in giving shape to the three tenets of the Zen Peacemaker Order: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness, Loving Action. All these years later, I am aware of my anxiety in writing about them. I know there are others in our community […]