Author

Cliff Isberg, the author, introduced this website in 1995 to express his understanding of Buddhism, and particularly of Zen and Zazen. The website has consequently evolved over the years from his reading, study, and practice. He met his core teacher Kobun Otogawa Roshi in 1970, and collected Kobun's Teachings about practice and life starting in the late 1990s. Cliff's Dharma Talks began in 2010. Life Story is his prospective obituary.

Acknowledgements and Sources

Buddhism, in a Nutshell attempts to clearly identify key tenets of Buddhism in a way that is not cut and dried, but not necessarily warm and fuzzy either. My "nutshell" evolved from a handwritten page, circa 1980, by Angie Boissevain, a teacher of Zen in the lineage of Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi.

Most of the information accessible from my links from "nutshell" is described further in my review of Right, According to Buddha, that roughly summarizes Thich Nhat Hahn's book "The Heart of Buddha's Teaching". It also reflects insights from related books that attempt to represent Buddhism, rather than teachings from one particular sect or or school within Buddhism. I used particularly "One Dharma", by Joeseph Goldstein, "Eight Mindful Steps to Happiness" by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, and "Being Upright" by Reb Anderson. My favorite basic books on Zen, and on meditation, are described in Favorite Authors.

Note that there is no central authority, and no particular beliefs or commandments in Buddhism. For any given aspect, you will find several alternative translations and, on the web, several hundred sometimes conflicting opinions. Buddhist practices are open to interpretation, teachings differ widely, and there many Buddhist schools and sects, but no single central Buddhist organization.

Web Resources

A few links to web sites that are relevant and/or local follow. (There are probably millions of related documents, and thousands of web sites relating to Buddhism.)


Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi was my Zen teacher for 30 years.
Kobun founded Jikoji, a zen retreat and teaching center on Skyline Boulevard, about Saratoga CA.
Talks by Kobun, and related teachings, are online.
Kobun's Discussions includes transcripts of his discussions with students in 1973.

Information, teachers, and locations for
San Francisco Zen Center includes news, contacts, schedules etc. for Zen Center as well as Tasajara monastery, Green Gulch Farm, and related practice centers in the Bay Area.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction describes the center that initiated MBSR classes in medical facilities, as well as its programs, and includes a locator for finding MBSR classes and programs in many other cities and states.
Insight Meditation Society describes the society including the Barre MA center and its programs, and provides capsule biographies of many noted teachers.
Vipassana Meditation describes the many centers and programs founded by S. N. Goenka.
Access to Insight describes Theravada readings and resources, with extensive libraries.
Buddhanet links people and teachings world-wide on a varied and stimulating multimedia site.
A Korean Buddhist center links dharma talks and books from a number of Korean masters.
A virtual library of Buddhist studies categorizes and links many sects and teachers.
Dharmanet International is an early and large site with extensive references, including an International Directory of Buddhist Associations, Monasteries, and Practice Centers.
Tibet House represents and links much of Tibetan teachings and culture.
Dzogchen Foundation describes the center and programs sponsored by Lama Surya Das.
Kodaiji Zen Site animates Zen.

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