Law Dharma

To consider for November, 2017

Practice For Lawyers

Please consider the following:

This is from a Zen teacher, Nomon Tim Burnett, from Bellingham Washington: One of the most powerful ideas I’ve learned from the practice over the years has been really helpful to me lately: it’s the idea of holding opposites.

The idea here is that our minds are strongly conditioned to divide things into two opposite possibilities and decide that one of the two is the correct option. It’s good or it’s bad; I like it or I don’t; it’s black or it’s white: Conservative or Liberal. The conditioned mind is so dualistic, always busy dividing things up, constantly trying to make sense of a complex world  that’s beyond sense making.

It’s hard for us to accept that often both options often have validity. That both can be right.

And yet the mind is capable of doing exactly that. It can deeply accept and allow apparent opposites to exist. We can develop          a mind that’s more inclusive and flexible and this can really help us to be present for the joys and sorrows of life. We can                  learn to hold opposites. Things can be both good and bad. Black and white. Happy and sad.

What if we said “Yes and” rather than “but?” We do seem to be rather hard-wired to make distinctions, constantly picking and choosing. This tendency severely limits our ability to see nuance. Usually, we do not need to choose “sides.” What would it be like if lawyers instead listened and considered what is being said by clients and/or opponents and/or judges? This openness is possible if we can let go of our need to protect ourselves/our views. This doesn’t mean that we must abdicate. Just listen with openness.

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 2017

January 22
February 19
March 19
April 23
May 10-14  Tassajara Retreat
June 11
July 16
August 13
September 17
October 15
November 12
December 10 (holiday brunch)

2017 Law Dharma (pdf)


Finding Stillness Amid the Storm Of Legal Practice

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center
May 10-14 2017
4 Hours MCLE
(2 hours ethics, 1 hour Competence Issues and
1 hour Recognition and Elimination of Bias)

One response to “Law Dharma”

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