Norman Fischer

Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a poet, essayist, and Soto Zen Buddhist priest who has published more than thirty volumes of poetry and prose, including most recently When You Greet Me I Bow. He is the founder of Everyday Zen, a community based in the San Francisco Bay area, as well as former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. He and his wife, Kathie Fischer, also a Soto Zen priest, have two children and three grandchildren and live in Muir Beach, California.


Recent Articles

How to Be a Mindful Bodhisattva

Mindfulness is more than just a meditation practice. Mindfulness is life, and life is love. That’s why it’s the whole path of the bodhisattva, says Zen teacher Norman Fischer.

The Eightfold Path: Right Mindfulness

Norman Fischer on why mindfulness is not always “right.”

Meditation cushion

How to Start a Home Meditation Practice

Zen teacher Norman Fischer proposes a two-week trial run to get your meditation practice started and looks at how to deal with some of the obstacles you may encounter.

Presentes unos con otros

Cuando una pareja ve su relación como práctica, su amor se fundamenta en un conocimiento más profundo del otro. Aunque haya momentos difíciles, afirma Norman Fischer, la práctica les hace recuperar el aprecio y el afecto.

The Treasure of the Teacher

“You do the practice, you realize the way,” writes Norman Fischer. “And yet you must begin by finding a teacher you can have faith in.”

The Boundless Energy of No-Self

Zoketsu Norman Fischer on his deep love for Shantideva and how the great teacher’s insights lead us unavoidably to a path of vigorous service to the world.

No hay maestro de Zen

En el Zen, la sabiduría proviene de la experiencia personal. Todo el mundo es estudiante, incluso los maestros.

What Is Zen Buddhism and How Do You Practice It?

Zen teacher Norman Fischer takes you through the principles and practices of the major schools of Zen. Includes specially selected articles for further reading.

Cómo empezar una práctica de meditación en casa

El maestro Zen, Norman Fischer propone una prueba de dos semanas para arrancar con el pie derecho en tu práctica de meditación. Él nos hace ver el modo de enfrentarnos con los posibles obstáculos.

Compassion Without Calculation

How do we practice ethical conduct, or sila, without falling into judgment, and without ignoring the complexity of each moment? According to Norman Fischer, the way has always been there.

Man staring in the mirror.

What Is Your Body?

It’s less than we think. It’s far more than we know. It’s who we are but it’s not. Contemplate the deeper reality of the body.

An Economy Based on Caring

Farmers, grocery store clerks, garbage collectors, teachers—we’re not just interdependent with essential workers such as these; we’re dependent. Norman Fischer on fair wages for all.

Buddha: The Great Physician

The Buddha is compared to a doctor because he treated the suffering that ails all of us. His diagnosis and cure, says Zen teacher Norman Fischer, is called the four noble truths.

Buddhanature Impermanence Norman Fischer Shambhala Sun - May '12 Zen

Impermanence is Buddha Nature

Change isn’t just a fact of life we have to accept and work with, says Norman Fischer.

La impermanencia es Naturaleza Búdica

El cambio no es sólo un hecho de la vida que tenemos que aceptar, y con el cual tenemos que trabajar, dice Norman Fischer. Sentir el dolor de la impermanencia y la pérdida puede ser un recordatorio profundamente hermoso de lo que significa existir.

Life is Tough. Here Are Six Ways to Deal With It

These classic Buddhist slogans offer six powerful techniques to transform obstacles into awakening and benefit.

¿Qué es el budismo zen y cómo se practica?

El maestro zen Norman Fischer nos lleva a través de los principios y prácticas de las escuelas principales del budismo zen.

Beautiful Snowflakes

Norman Fischer on the joy in realizing that we and our world are as passing as falling snowflakes.

Joyful Giving Shambhala Sun January 2014 Norman Fischer Buddha

Nothing to Give, No One to Receive It

For December, we're celebrating compassion on Lion's Roar and in Shambhala Sun. Here, Norman Fischer says giving is the Buddha way.

Falling in Love

Norman Fischer on sex, family, love and liberation: "The oceanic impulse toward enlightenment not only for ourselves but for all beings."

The Bodhisattva Attitude

We all have an attitude, says Zen teacher Norman Fischer, our own way of approaching life. You can start to take a bodhisattva’s attitude toward life by practicing generosity and appreciation.

No Teacher of Zen

In Zen, wisdom comes from personal experience. Everyone is a student – even the teachers.

Everything’s Made of Mind

All that we are and experience is mind, explains Zen teacher Norman Fischer. That mind is original enlightenment itself.

Destroyed Not Destroyed

Norman Fischer looks at the koan “Dasui’s Aeonic Fire" and takes on the end of the world. It’s happening right now, he says, but probably not in the way that you think. 

Ego Is the Real Culprit

No matter what the conflict appears to be about, says Zen teacher Norman Fischer, it always come down to defending our shaky sense of self.

5 Surprising Slogans to Help You Handle Anger

Zen teacher Norman Fischer applies five mind-training slogans to anger and other emotions.

Calligraphy of a man cutting a cat.

Quick! Who Can Save This Cat?

Zoketsu Norman Fischer's commentary on Mumonkan Case 14: Nanchuan's Cat.

Buddhism’s New Pioneers

It’s possible that most Western Buddhists are “unaffiliated.” There is therefore no record of their activity. They practice off the books.

Statue of the deity tara.

Four Reflections That Strengthen Your Intention to Practice

If you contemplate these traditional contemplations, the "four great reflections," you will strengthen your intention to practice.

Photo by Gary King.

Topsy-Turvy World

The strength of mind that comes from meditation, says Norman Fischer, can help us end the denial that keeps a world of problems spinning.

Illustration of dancing monks.

Making Friends on the Buddhist Path

Zen teacher Norman Fischer extols the beauty and benefit of spiritual friendship on the Buddhist path.