Sunday, August 19, 2007

One-day sitting at Ordinary Mind

Today Ordinary Mind offered a one-day sitting. We began with the regular Sunday morning program of two zazen periods with walking meditation between, and then engaged in a group inquiry around the topic of generosity. In our group inquiry, a topic is given, and we sit in mindfulness together for a while, exploring the relationship of the topic to our practice. We sit in silence in a circle until the first person is ready to speak. Each person in turn speaks about this topic while the rest of the group listens with compassionate attention. In this way we learn from each other and also about each other, deepening our connections in the sangha. Finally, Peg draws some of the common threads together in a few summarizing remarks and then there is general discussion about the topic.

The folks who were staying for the day had a tea break before returning to zazen. There was a short work period, followed by lunch and a break. After the break we returned to the zendo for zazen. Peg read the poem “Lost,” by David Wagoner during this sitting period. Then Peg gave a dharma talk on Bodhisattva’s Vow, a poem by Torei Zenji, a Japanese Zen master who lived from 1621 to 1692, and who was dharma heir of Hakuin Ekaku. We read this beautiful poem together, and then discussed its meaning in our practice. Here is the poem, in the version from Joko’s group:

Bodhisattva’s Vow

When I, a student of the Way
look at the real form of the universe,
all is the never-failing manifestation
of the mysterious truth of the Awakened Life.

In any event, in any moment, and in any place,
None can be other than the marvelous revelation
of its glorious light.

This realization made our ancestors and teachers
extend tender care, with respectful hearts
even to such beings as birds and beasts.

This realization teaches us
that our daily food, drink, clothes,
and protections of life
are the warm flesh and blood,
the merciful incarnation of the Awakened One.
Who can be ungrateful or not respectful
even to senseless things,
not to speak of humans?
Even though they may be fools,
be warm and compassionate toward them.
If by any chance they should turn against us,
become sworn enemies and persecute us,
we should sincerely bow down with humble language
in the reverent understanding
that they are the merciful messengers of the Awakened One,
who use devices to emancipate us from blind tendencies,
produced and accumulated upon ourselves
by our own egoistic delusion and attachment
through countless cycles of space and time.

Then on each moment’s flash of our thought
there will grow a lotus flower
and on each lotus flower will be revealed Perfection,
unceasingly manifest as our life,
just as it is,
right here and right now.

May we extend this mind to all beings
so that we and the world together
may attain maturity in the wisdom of the Awakened Life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

September Practice Intensive

The application forms for the September 21-23 practice intensive (sesshin) with Flint and Peg are now available. The application form is based on Joko Beck's model. Please review the application and fill it out completely, then return it to me. I have attached a copy to this email, but the application can also be found at:

Because we have very limited accommodations, for this intensive we do not expect local sangha members to stay here overnight. We can provide a few spaces for folks from out of town. If you are able to accommodate an out-of-town guest, please let me know.

Also, if you have any questions about the application form or about the intensive, please let me know. The schedule will be available shortly.

When we allow ourselves simply to have this time and space, in mindfulness and curiosity, practice intensives can be enormously clarifying for our practice and our sangha. I am looking forward to this opportunity to deepen our practice together!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Inquiry Groups with Flint

Flint will offer additional inquiry groups at the Crossings once a month for the next few months, on Thursday evenings. The first one is Thursday this week, and the others are September 13, October 18, and November 15. There is no cost; dana for the teacher is requested. These dates are also listed on the Ordinary Mind calendar. Here are the forthcoming topics:

Entering the Infinite Mystery (Aug. 16)
All spiritual practices invite us into a profound mystery, which is infinitely spacious, infinitely loving, and infinitely wise. Upon entering fully, we recognize ourselves as that mystery – that space, that love, and that wisdom.

Loving Presence and Transformation of the Heart (September 13)
There is a state of mind – a state of being – which all the great wisdom traditions describe as the foundation for true intimacy and healing care. This is a natural state, full of mutual inspiration, loving attention, and gentle nourishment.

Communion with the Divine and Identity with Truth (October 18)
We often embark on the spiritual journey with a sense that we are far from the Divine, seeking communion. The startling discovery is that through communion we naturally merge into union with that which we sought. In the wordless intimacy of union we ultimately find identity as Truth.

Gratitude as the Source of Spiritual Nourishment (November 15)
When we can relax the contraction of our self-centered perspective, gratitude begins to flow into that liberated space. As our conventional attachment to body and mind fall away, we tap a spring of spiritual nourishment, full of grace.

Flint's new blog can be found at

Warmth of the Second Season

Those who were there, please comment to this Blog to share with everyone what you saw or heard or felt during our sitting (despite the fact that your eyes were cast downward and unfocused).

For my part, I saw a leaf slowly, very slowly traveling alongside the Sunyata opening, looking for the resting place of companionship described in Joso's Haiku:
"Under the water,
On the rock resting,
The fallen leaves."

Also, radiating from the left side of the pool near the falls, when the sun rose, the beam hitting the waves causing ribbons of light to dance away along the bottom.

(My picture of Dave on the Rock did not turn out, so I have here sadly posted only a picture of the Rock without Dave.)