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In this Issue:
- Year-End Appeal Final Results
- Tuesday Evening Meeting On Dogen's Way
- New Offering: Sunday Morning Sanzen
- First "Community Circle" Meeting
- Organizational Structure Update
- The Practice Life: Anyu Savelle
- Organizational Structure Update
Year-End Appeal Final Results
On January 1, our final count showed an incredible total of $26,673 in donations for our year-end drive of December 2016, surpassing our total fundraising goal by almost 3,000 dollars! The generosity of our community and friends continues to impress and to inspire all of us who practice here at Buddha Eye Temple. We hope that as the year goes on, we can express the depth of our gratitude through our sincere practice and diligent stewardship of this hall of the Way. Many bows to everyone who contributed both financially and in spirit to the drive, and to everyone whose ongoing support makes possible all that we do here.
Tuesday Evening Meeting on Community Engagement (Feb 7) + Classes on "Dogen's Way"
Tuesday evening programming for February begins on the 7th with a sanghawide meeting on Buddha Eye Temple’s concrete engagement with our broader community, particularly related to the issues of social justice we’ve been exploring. The meeting is an opportunity to discuss and explore possible responses to current social justice issues. Zazen begins as usual at 7 p.m. and the meeting will begin around 7:45.
On Tuesdays beginning February 14 and continuing through March 7, we will host a series of Tuesday evening classes outlining the practice and teachings of Eihei Dogen, the founder of Japanese Soto Zen. We will begin by situating Dogen and Zen itself in the larger context of Mahayana Buddhism, delving into some of the core teachings and historical movements that form the tradition’s backdrop. Throughout the remaining three classes, we will explore key teachings from texts such as “Genjo Koan,” “Instructions to the Tenzo,” “Zuimonki,” “Bendowa,” and others. Collaborative study will be emphasized—how can we understand and encounter both the breadth and the specificity of Dogen’s teachings in our own lives and practice?
The classes begin at approximately 7:45 p.m., following evening zazen. Study packets will be available shortly at the temple. For more information, please contact the facilitator, Sogaku Neal: firstname.lastname@example.org .
New Offering: Sunday Morning Sanzen
Beginning in February, Ejo will offer sanzen one Sunday morning each month. Sanzen is an opportunity to meet with a Zen teacher to pose questions or discuss issues related to practice. Newcomers are more than welcome to participate. In February, we will offer sanzen on Sunday, February 12th.
Three slots are available by sign-up at 8:10 a.m., 8:25 a.m, and 8:40 a.m. Please sign up beforehand on the front room bulletin board and strike the sanzen bell twice at your scheduled time. Sanzen is also available during zazen from 9:00 to 9:40. There are three seats marked “Sanzen” 1, 2, or 3; sit in the first open seat and go to Ejo’s office in order when you hear his bell. Do a full prostration in front of his altar, be seated, then do a standing bow in front of the altar before you leave.
We recognize that these instructions may be confusing and encourage you to ask a resident trainee if you are in doubt about the form for sanzen.
First "Community Circle" Meeting
The Buddha's long-time personal attendant, Ananda, asked his teacher: "Is it true that good spiritual friends are fully half of the holy life?" The Buddha replied, "No, Ananda, good spiritual friends are the whole of the holy life. Take refuge in the Sangha community."
Finding ourselves among good spiritual friends is a great blessing; our new monthly offering, which we are calling Community Circle, will facilitate space for us to see and hear each other more fully as sangha, as fellow travelers on the path. Anyone is welcome to attend with tea and cookie in hand. We will hold these meetings once a month, with our our first gathering after the Sunday program on the 5th, beginning a few minutes after refreshments are served. The meeting will be structured much like a sharing circle and last no longer than an hour. After hearing the guidelines for the session, we'll answer these questions: "What is the overall shape of your life" and "what is the edge of your practice". If that wording doesn't make complete sense to you, don't worry: we'll flesh them out more at the meeting. Hope to see you there.
Organizational Structure Update
In the past few months, the Board and Advisory Council have worked extensively to clarify Buddha Eye’s organizational structure, identifying the different facets of our operations and creating various committees to steer each of these. Our main goals in this process is to facilitate broad sangha involvement in the stewardship of our temple. Each committee has a designated head, and these heads are available for your feedback. We also hope that sangha members will lend their energy and expertise by becoming part of one or more committees. Toward these ends, we’ve posted a document in the front room displaying the names of committees and their members, including contact information for the heads. We encourage everyone to see how you might personally plug into this larger picture!
The Practice Life: Anyu Savelle
From the beginning all beings are Buddha.
Like water and ice, without water no ice,
Outside us no Buddhas.
How near the truth, yet how far we seek.
Like one in water crying "I thirst.”
Thus begins one of my favorite sutras, Hakuin Zenji’s Chant in Praise of Zazen. As I was biking home this evening, embracing the cold and dark and wondering what on earth I could offer to you, my mind eventually wandered to this sutra.
Like the son of a rich man
wandering poor on this earth,
we endlessly circle the six worlds.
The cause of our sorrow is ego delusion.
From dark path to dark path we've wandered in darkness,
How can we be free from the wheel of samsara?
It is this search for freedom, the call to wake up, that drove me to zazen. I had attended one day of a weekend sesshin in January 1994 at the old Larch Mountain Zen Center, (now Great Vow Zen Monastery). I had done it to appease a friend, but I knew at some level that my life was a mess and something had to change. That one day in the small zendo, snow on the ground, freezing, with chickens singing in the background a door mysteriously opened for me..
How can we be free from the wheel of samsara?
And now, almost 23 years later to the day, I work as a chaplain at Sacred Heart Hospital University District. Three times a week I offer a meditation group to the psychiatric patients. It is here that I meet unimaginable suffering, seemingly shattered lives, and where freedom from the wheel of samsara seems unattainable. And yet, and yet, I offer meditation as a gateway, a tiny door that may open to other possibilities, other ways for these patients to hold their suffering.
The practice life then is that my mind and body have become stable and settled enough that I can offer practice to others. My practice is no longer only about me and my awakening; sitting each week with psychiatric patients, their suffering becomes my suffering and we can heed the call to awakening together. As my practice has unfolded, I have come to see suffering as less an individual burden and more of a shared experience.
The Board of Directors met January 17, discussing 2017 budgeting, invitations for the Mountain Seat Ceremony, possibilities for improving our Sunday childcare program, and a proposal for a light remodel of the front room to expand shoe space and create a separation between the north and south sides of the room. The Board also approved the publication of a small book on the temple’s history to be distributed at the Mountain Seat Ceremony. The Board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, February 7 at 3:30 p.m.