Mercy Center



Fr. Gregory Mayers, C.Ss.R., a Redemptorist priest and Zen Roshi, explores the intersection and tension between Christian and Zen traditions in talks given at Mercy Center Burlingame. Click the links in the right-hand column to listen. You may download these talks for personal use, but please do not repost.


Self... or No Self?
Language creates a gulf between Eastern and Western concepts of the Self. In silence, this chasm may be bridged.
   Self or No Self
Absence is the Evidence of Reality
A deep experience of God's absence is compelling evidence of His reality.
   Absence Evidence
Easter Season 2017 - Lazarus, Come Forth
What is the deeper meaning of the Gospel story of Lazarus? Can anything be lacking, if eternity is right now, this moment?
   Lazarus Come Forth
  The Discipline of Silence
Spring 2016 Zen Sesshin You are all right by Yourself
  Case 23: A Poetry Contest

           Talk 1
           Talk 2
           Talk 3
  The Master and His Emissary
Fall 2015 Zen Sesshin I Am Not That Story
  The Empty Cupboard
       Part 1    Part 2
       Part 1    Part 2
       Part 1    Part 2
  Real Teacher is Your Practice
Summer 2015 Retreat Origin of Self-Consciousness
  Resurrection is the Beginning

           Talk 1
           Talk 2
           Talk 3
  3 Doors of Experience
Spring 2015 Zen Sesshin Mu and the Primal Absence
  Zen: Life in the Raw

           Talk 1
           Talk 2
           Talk 3 
Redeeming Shame How our experience of shame forces us to confront chaos—and leads to the path of redemption.
   Redeeming Shame
A Crisis that Awakens Us  By confronting the inescapable reality of our death, we awaken to deeper Reality.
   Crisis That Awakens

2014 Year-End Retreat  Why the account of the woman taken in adultery can be understood as a Christmas story.

   Christmas Story
  Purposeless-Driven Practice
Spring 2014 Zen Sesshin Girard and the Primal Conflict
  A personal reflection on kensho
Part 1 Part 2
Part 1 Part 2
Part 1 Part 2
Scapegoating God  To contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus, we must first acknowledge the shame of scapegoating God.
    Part 1  Part 2
Fall 2013 Zen Sesshin Message is Determined by the Hearer
  Compassion is the Heart of Enlightenment


        Part 1  Part 2
        Part 1  Part 2 
Mine My Me  Let go of "mine, my, me."
       Mine My Me
Eye of the Hurricane  When we enter into unknowing, we find ourselves in the 'eye of the hurricane'.
  Eye of the Hurricane
The Composed Self What Jesus meant by the Kingdom of God, and what the Heart Sutra teaches, is that we can liberate ourselves from the unreality of the Composed Self.
  The Composed Self
Parable of the Fig Tree How did the followers of Jesus understand the parable of the fig tree?
  The Fig Tree
  The Default God
2012 Year-End Retreat Why I Know Nothing
  Illuminated by the Trinity
Part 1 Part 2
Part 1 Part 2
Part 1 Part 2
August 2012 Retreat A series of talks investigating the deeper meaning of the resurrected life.
 Day 1 Part 1  Part 2
 Day 2 Part 1  Part 2
 Day 3 Part 1  Part 2
 Day 4 Part 1  Part 2
New Light on Impermanence If awareness is "knowing that we know", how should we respond to the chaos that awareness reveals?
  A New Light
Why Jesus Died for Us Reflections from a Zen perspective on the death and Resurrection.
  Why Jesus Died
Summer 2012 Zen Sesshin Fr. Greg explores the paths and obstacles Zen practitioners confront.
 1 The Mu Koan
 2 Impermanence
 3 For Others
Three Degrees of Separation We are separated from reality by words, mental models and expectations.
  Part 1  Part 2
Freedom: That which we do not Want  Dostoevsky's famous parable illustrates our conflicted desire for freedom.
Resurrection and the 21st Century Mind How does the 21st century mind understand the bodily Resurrection of Jesus?
Who Am I? Am I just a bag of bones controlled by chemicals? How does Zen differ from science in approaching this question?
  Who Am I
The Showing Experiencing the Resurrection as a 'showing' can lead to a deeper understanding of selflessness.
  The Showing
Forgiveness Practice Forgiveness is the marriage of love and justice. Learning to forgive is lifelong spiritual practice.
Ash Wednesday Who is responsible for our suffering? How do we overcome the instinct to blame the Other?
  Ash Wednesday
Paul's Gospel The writings of Paul reveal a perspective that emerged after his experience of the Resurrection.
  Paul's Gospel
Envy In the moment of Envy, we are blind to our sense of insufficiency. How can we overcome the sin of envying God?
Your Primal Face Allowing false identies to drop away, we encounter our the Self-less self. A discussion of Koan Case 23.
  Part 1  Part 2
Mimetic Theory One  Contemporary Christian philosopher René Girard on the emergence of self-conscious beings.
  Part 1  Part 2
Mimetic Theory Two  René Girard's theory in relation to the development of Christianity.
  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3
Mimetic Theory Three  René Girard on understanding the Crucifixion and Resurrection as a path to forgiveness.
  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3
God is a Hole  Staring into the depths of abandonment, we confront the incomprehensibility of God.
  Part 1  Part 2
Arcanum The Trinity can be compared to an arcanum, a densely coded symbol. How are we called to decode this symbol?
  Part 1  Part 2
The Space Between What is the space between thoughts? Fr. Greg shares reflections on Self, happiness, and mortality.
  The Space Between
Living in Imagination  When reality collides with imagination, we glimpse ourselves—and others—as we actually are.

  Living in Imagination
After the Honeymoon  The experience of a spiritual high can feel like a honeymoon. What do we do when the honeymoon is over?

  After the Honeymoon
Unprofitable Servants The parable of the Unprofitable Servant offers insights into isolation, and restoring our connection to God.

  Part 1  Part 2
Bottoming Out on the Self Before we can fill the hole at the center of our being, we must end our addiction to the Self.

  Bottoming Out
Non-Duality and the Christ When something important is "not there", can that intimation lead to a deeper experience of reality?

  Part 1   Part 2
The Resurrection How can we understand the Resurrection, a story told in the 1st century, with our 21st century minds?
  Part 1  Part 2

A Lump of Sin Understanding the true meaning of sin allows us to experience the boundlessness of unconditional love.

  A Lump of Sin
The Fall Christians label themselves as Fallen. Meditation is a path of restoration from that broken, fragmented state.
  The Fall

The Face of Another What do we see when we look into the face of another? Is it the same as our own reflection?
  The Face of Another

  Defining the TriUne
From Non-Dual to TriUne One Essence or Two?
A series about the TriUne (Trinity). A Dynamic Reality
  Buddhism & Christianity
Part 1 Part 2
Part 1 Part 2
Part 1 Part 2
Part 1 Part 2
What is Kensho? Drawing on Zen, psychology, physics and cognitive science, Fr. Greg demystifies kensho.

  Pt1   Pt2   Pt3   Pt4
Praying for the Other  Praying for the Other can help us to a deeper awareness of ultimate reality.

  Praying for the Other
The Greatest Treason We can overcome moral self-righteousness through Christian and Buddhist insights.
  Part 1  Part 2
Enlightenment and Self-Less Love Fr. Greg reflects on his own struggle to express Self-less love.
  Part 1  Part 2

Emptiness and Love Exploring the Buddhist model of suffering and emptiness, and the Christian paradox of love and otherness.

  Part 1  Part 2