Law Dharma

Practice For Lawyers
Sunday, October 20
1:00 p.m.

We are on for October 20, next Sunday, at IDEO. Please bring something vegetarian to share for brunch. We will provide coffee and tea. Note the Tassajara dates for next year are May 7-11. In December I will provide whatever I know about signing up.

In the meantime, This wisdom from one of my favorite modern Zen Masters, Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, as interpreted by his translator/student, Tom Wright: The point of Dogen’s “Instructions for the Zen Cook,” is not simply to train the Tenzo (Head Cook); it is for all of us. Uchiyama Roshi wrote a commentary he called “How to Cook Your Life.” The real point is to encourage us to ask ourselves what it is to be a true adult in the world.

What is it to be a true adult in practice? Are there lawyers that you admire and see as true adults? Do you think it matters? Is it something that resonates with you?

Last time at Tassajara, we considered an ancient poem, the Hsin Hsin Ming, aka Trust in Mind. It is about not picking and choosing, not judging, not being for or against. Difficult practice for an advocate. It is not possible to not pick and choose given every word we utter is a choice. But, we can work on our attachment to our views, an attachment that often causes problems and inhibits our ability to see or hear what others may offer. But, recently, I’ve also been thinking about it in terms of not judging myself so much. Our ideas about who we are or what kind of person we are can really get in the way. “I should be able to get this client to open up. I should be able to get this witness to spill the beans.” and…”If I don’t get the result I ‘should’ get, I’m a failure.” This judging mind inhibits our ability to see ourselves as well.

When I used to put on my suit, I also put on a persona. It was a kind of armor. My question is whether we really need such an armor when we go into court or deposition or whatever. Could we represent our clients, even zealously, without becoming some idea of who we are or are supposed to be? What would it be like?

Law Dharma offers lawyers meditation-based programs intended to deepen their practice of law. Too often we are so entangled in our emotions or our view of a case that we cannot see clearly. We cause ourselves and others to suffer when we lash out in anger or we fail to see opportunities because we are so blinded by our own attachments to emotions or views. The meditative perspective helps to keep us grounded and able to see clearly.

Law Dharma founder Mary Mocine studied law at Hastings College of the Law. She was admitted to the California bar in 1971. Ms. Mocine practiced legal service, litigation and labor law for 18 years. In 1989 she left the practice of law to become a Buddhist monk.

Law Dharma offers a monthly meditation/discussion group. We meet at 9:30 for a half-hour meditation then have a discussion of a topic of interest for about an hour then have a potluck brunch.

There is an MCLE retreat led by Mary Mocine held at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Details can be found below and registration information at www.sfzc.org.

Articles by Mary Mocine


Dharma Group for Lawyers

One Sunday per month, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Meetings will be held at Rochael Soper’s office at Ideo, 501 The Embarcadero in San Francisco. Metered and lot parking in the area and near BART and other public transportation. Folks are asked to bring their own cushions or benches if they do not want to sit in a chair. After the discussion, we have a vegetarian brunch. Coffee and tea are provided.

Meditation instruction will be offered. A teaching donation will be requested.

Schedule 2019

January: 27
February: 24
March: 17
April: 21  
May:  Tassajara 2-6
June: 9 
July: 13 (Saturday)
August: 11  
September: 22 
October: 20 
November: 10 
Holiday Brunch: December 8


Finding Stillness Amid the Storm Of Legal Practice
When we can find our still point in the middle of what feels chaotic, we can enjoy our work.
Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
May 2-6, 2019
4 Hours MCLE
(2 hours ethics, 1 hour Competence Issues and
1 hour Recognition and Elimination of Bias)

Often, law practice does feel stormy, given the many demands from clients, judges, opposing counsel, colleagues, and particularly from ourselves. Where is the ground? What is truly important here? We ignore emotions or attachments at our peril. Mindful awareness of our inner experience is key to being useful to the clients we serve and finding true balance in our practice lives. From that clarity, joy can arise and simple enjoyment from our work.

Lawyers are healers, at base, after all. In this workshop we will meditate and talk together. There will be time to meet individually with the teacher and plenty of time to enjoy the grounds and surroundings of Tassajara.