Mary Oliver - The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?


Kwan Um School of Zen Weekly Teaching Piece 


Life and Death, José Ramírez

bodhidharma (2).jpg

In Zen we talk a lot about life and death and sometimes we may take this literally. But life and death happen in this moment, right in front of our eyes. Life and death point to the never-ending appearance and disappearance of phenomena. If you pay attention when you are sitting in meditation, and even sometimes in your daily life, you will notice that thoughts appear and thoughts disappear, that feelings appear and feelings disappear, that impulses appear and impulses disappear, that sounds appear and sounds disappear.

In the Wake-Up sermon Bodhidharma said, Sages don't consider the past. And they don't worry about the future. At some level we understand that yes, the past is gone and the future is not yet here, and that all we have is the present, or so we think. Bodhidharma continues, Nor do they cling to the present.  That is a very interesting point: we have to let go even of the present. How do we not cling to the present? He concludes, And from moment to moment they follow the Way. Moment to moment; sounds familiar? If we keep a clear mind then each moment is enough, each action is complete. Moment by moment there is no life, no death. Moment by moment just like this is the truth.



About DVZC

Founded in 1999, Delaware Valley Zen Center (DVZC) offers to the community an environment for Zen practice. Our weekly practice includes chanting, sitting meditation and walking meditation. DVZC is one of more than sixty centers and groups worldwide affiliated with the Kwan Um School of Zen, an international organization founded by Zen Master Seung Sahn.

Our guiding teacher is José Ramírez, JDPSN, who received Inka in April 2009.

 The Delaware Valley Zen Center (DVZC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit religious corporation of the State of Delaware. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. DVZC is supported, administered and maintained by its members.


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Practice Schedule

Practice is held every Thursday evening at the New Ark United Church of Christ, 300 E. Main St, Newark, DE 19711.


Practice begins at 7:00pm with a short orientation for beginners, followed by chanting. We then have two 25 minute periods of sitting meditation with a 10 minute period of walking meditation in between.

Beginners are encouraged to attend the free Meditation Instruction session offered the first Thursday of each month at 7:00pm

There is no fee to attend our practice, you do not have to be a member.


Monkey Mind Zen,

is a new DVZC satellite.

The group meets in Philadelphia.

For information about their practice visit: