top of page

Polishing A Tile, Actualizing A Mirror

Receiving The Marrow

Sangaku Dan Joslyn, facilitator

Each month, I’ll take five-seven minutes to make opening comments. The remainder of the time I will facilitate a general discussion, as the Dharma moves us…

Chapter Seven: Polishing a Tile, Actualizing A Mirror -Josho Pat Phelan (photo on left)


The Chapel Hill Zen Center, in the Spring of 1991, asked the Abbots of the San Francisco Zen Center to send Taitaku Josho Patricia Phelan to lead the group. Pat was ordained in 1977 by the former Abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, Zentatsu Richard Baker, who was Suzuki Rōshi's successor. She has also studied with two of Suzuki Rōshi's other disciples, Sojun Mel Weitsman and Tenshin Reb Anderson.

Pat began sitting zazen in Oregon in 1969. She moved to San Francisco in 1971 and spent several years at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

Prior to her arrival in Chapel Hill in August, 1991, she was a Practice Leader and Director of Zen Center's residence facility in San Francisco.

In the Fall of 1995, she returned to Tassajara and completed her training by receiving Dharma Transmission from Abbot Sojun Weitsman. In October, 2000, Josho Sensei was officially installed as Abbess of the Chapel Hill Zen Center. In December, 2008, Josho Sensei traveled to Japan to participate in Zuise ceremonies at Eihei-ji and Soji-ji temples. She is married and has a daughter.

In 1996 Phelan-roshi offered a Dharma talk on being Buddha and as you will read below, she had already looked into realization as the underlying process.

Buddhism teaches that we are already Buddha whether we realize it or not. "Realize" means "to make real". In Buddhism the realization that is referred to is not something that happens just in our minds or to our perceptions. It is said that realization must penetrate every cell of our bodies, down to the marrow of our bones and out to each tip of our hair. This realization that penetrates our body and mind goes beyond our thinking process. When we practice zazen, our attitude shouldn't be to try to stop our thinking, but rather to set aside our belief in our thinking, or to set aside our belief that our point of view is right so our intention to practice can settle into our flesh and bones.

And here again on a similar topic of, zazen is not sitting, she explores actualization in a recorded talk, please take a look

Comments on the chapter

  1. If we are, why must we do… (p126-138)...potential vs. actualization

  2. To take the posture (being upright p.127)

  3. Authentication and accualiation of intent (p.128)

  4. Gap=Need is cultural (p.129) Immersion in conditions variables of moment…

  5. Polishing as cleaning verses mirror…polishing as expectation Huai-jang and Bass0/Ma-su (p.131)

  6. Practice is direct realization of mind (p.132)

  7. Sudden enlightenment (p.133)

  8. “Dogen taught that practice and realization are simultaneous that there is no realization outside of our moment to moment practice." (p.135)

  9. Total engagement is realization which is actualization…right effort (p.137)

Next Month: The True Human Body-Shinjingakudo, Shoshan Victoria Austin

Sangaku Dan Joslyn...bowing

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page