Monday, May 28, 2007

Spring at the Four Seasons

Besides the beauty and wonder of sitting beside a brook's small waterfall and pool, nature has messages for us that are hard to find in civilization. Our Winter sitting (see the January archive) sent out a clear message that life can be hard and bone chilling.

At our March sitting, the pool still was in Winter's grasp. The path to the pool was as usual full of twists and turns and ever switching views. It sent us a message similar to Su Shih's poem about the mountains:
Regarding from one side, an entire range;
From another, a single peak.
Far, near, high, low, all its parts
Different from the others.
If the true face of Mt Lu
Cannot be known,
It is because the one looking at it,
Is standing in its midst.

At our May sitting, the pool was in Spring time. New life in vibrant green ferns and wildflowers surrounded the stream. This time we also observed that amidst all of this new life, there were also signs of death everywhere in all of the fallen branches and boulders. This provides a contrast that makes the new life even more precious. This message of death out of life and life out of death (which is covered up rather well in civilization) has something important to say about our standing in the midst of the time dimension (which also makes it difficult to know the true face of Mt Lu).

We thank Sherry for taking these pictures of the meditation. We also thank John and Laura ,who aren't in the picture, for treating us all to tea/coffee afterwards at Starbucks.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Agenda for upcoming events at OMZ

Here is a permanent listing of upcoming events at Ordinary Mind Zen, also linked in the menu to the right:

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Weekday evening zazen changes

Beginning in June, weekday evening zazen will move from Thursday to Wednesday. The Ordinary Mind calendar has been changed to reflect the new day. The times will stay the same. At 7:30 we will have an "instructional" sitting period, which may feature some guiding or introduce some meditation approaches or suggestions for sitting posture to assist practice. This is followed by a short period of walking meditation and another sitting period in the usual silent form. If you are joining us only for the second meditation period, you may enter during the walking meditation between periods. Please plan to arrive at 8:00, and find your seat following the walking meditation period. The first evening of the new Wednesday schedule will be June 6. If you are new to sitting practice and would like some orientation or instruction, please let me know, and I will be glad to assist you.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Feeling Buddha

Last Sunday, we began reading together David Brazier's The Feeling Buddha. Brazier is a psychotherapist and long time Zen practitioner and scholar. The book is a fresh look at the four noble truths, the Buddha's first teachings following his enlightenment. The four noble truths are the one core teaching shared by all Buddhists, from those who chant the name of Buddha to get rich to the most austere Zen monks. They are considered foundational, and so we return time and again to their profound message. But why are these simple truths "noble?" Sunday we read the first chapter, "No Pearl Without Grit." There's plenty of time to catch up if you would like to join us: it will be several weeks before we take it up again. Even if you believe you understand just what the four noble truths are all about, this book will challenge your assumptions and shake up your beliefs.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Inquiry Group meeting

Please mark your calendars for Tuesday evening, May 29, at 7:00 PM. Flint will offer an evening version of his highly successful inquiry group that meets regularly at AZC. This is an opportunity to ask practice questions in a supportive environment with a very engaging and accomplished teacher. In this intimate group setting, we can learn from and with each other by engaging the teacher in the questions and issues we are wrestling with in our practice of everyday living. It is customary to make a contribution as an offering for the teacher in these situations. Please be as generous as your means will allow. We would like to make this a regular offering, and if you are interested in that possibility, please let me know, even if you are not able to attend this time.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Upcoming events at Ordinary Mind

Would you like more opportunities to deepen your zazen practice?

The dates for the September Ordinary Mind practice intensive have been set. It will begin Friday evening September 21 and run through Sunday afternoon September 23. Please plan to follow the complete schedule. We will have more information about how to register for the intensive available shortly.

There will be two all-day sittings before the intensive to provide an opportunity to practice extending your zazen practice with a few additional sitting periods. The all-day sittings will be July 22 and August 19, as an extension of the regular Sunday morning program, and ending at 5 PM. There will be a break for lunch, so please bring a bag lunch. The schedule is designed to provide an introduction for those new to intensives. There will also be time for questions and answers.

There will be a sangha work day May 13 to help move and level some dirt on the grounds. If you can spare some time after zazen to help with this project, please wear or bring work clothes and a rake or shovel. It should not take long with enough help.

I am likely to be away July 9-17. During this time there will be no morning zazen on the weekdays. The regular Sunday morning program will still be held on July 15.