Dear Friends,

Due to the storm warning and expected snow accumulation, the dojo will be closed tomorrow, Sunday, February 18. The Wyckoff area is expected to have about 6-7 inches of snow by tomorrow morning, and the roads may not be cleared by the time we travel to the dojo. Let’s all keep supporting each other’s practice by making a commitment to to sit  at home in the morning. 

The dojo will be closed this Monday, February 19, for Presidents' Day. 

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

Our next Zazenkai is scheduled for Sunday, February 25, 2018, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 

The event will include Zazen, Liturgy, Dokusan, Teisho, and a traditional Jihatsu-style lunch. The fee for the day is $25. 

Please confirm your participation by responding via email within the next couple of days.

Love to all,
Junryu

censing the rakusu

Jukai: Receiving The 16 Bodhisattva Precepts

The 16 Bodhisattva Precepts are at the core of Buddhist practice. They outline a clear road map by which a practitioner can navigate through everyday life, and they provide a seamless link between the cultivation of wisdom and its application.

A complete and all-encompassing practice in the Zen tradition is comprised of three essential elements: Dhyana Paramita, Prajna Paramita, and Sila Paramita. Dhyana Paramita is the perfection of Zazen, Prajna Paramita is the perfection of wisdom, and Sila Paramita is the perfection of morality. These elements are inseparable, mutually penetrating, and need to be viewed as different facets of one diamond. The practice of Zazen gives rise to wisdom, and wisdom manifests through the cultivation of morality and ethical conduct. Embracing  the precepts and learning how to work with them, deepens our understanding of actionable wisdom, and strengthens our resolve in Zazen. As practitioners of The Way, our task is to realize the Fundamental Point, to actualize it in our everyday life, and to further realize. This is an ongoing process that must continue endlessly.

Our next Jukai study session will begin in April, and will culminate in a ceremony on 10/21/2018, at the end of the fall Sesshin at Dai Bosatsu Monastery.

The process involves reading, personal study, group study, and sewing a Rakusu. Please contact me if you would like to find out more information, and examine the possibility of taking Jukai this year. All committed practitioners are encouraged to go through the study and embrace the precepts as an integrated part of practice.

Junryu

Dear Friends,

This Sunday, 1/14, we will hold the fourth book study session. We will begin with the chapter "Wake Up Sermon" and will attempt to conclude the discussion of this book, but due to time constraints will only focus on the important paragraphs. The session will be from 10:15 until about 11:45. The morning schedule of liturgy and Zazen will be as usual. Please make plans to join us for the entire morning.

For those who are new to the Sangha, the book we are currently discussing is "The Zen Teaching Of Bodhidharma" translated by Red Pine. It is available in hard copy and digital publication. 

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Love to all,

Junryu

January 12-14: Sesshin at the NY Zendo, Shobo-ji (Shinge Roshi)
January 28: Zazenkai
February 25: Zazenkai
March 25: Zazenkai; Spring Ango opening
April 22: Zazenkai
May 17-20: Spring Sesshin at Dai Bosatsu Monastery
July 1: Zazenkai; Spring Ango closing and Shuso Hossen
August: TBA
September 23: Zazenkai; Fall Ango opening
October 18-21: Fall Sesshin and Jukai Ceremony at Dai Bosatsu Monastery
November 18: Zazenkai
December 16: Zazenkai; Fall Ango closing

Dear Friends,

As we flow from the old to the new, and welcome a fresh beginning, it is utterly important that we each take a deep breath, and check the pulse of our spiritual practice. We may go through the motions, but do we truly understand how to look at the old and the stale while being rooted in the new and the fresh? Without sincere examination we can all fall into the trap of pseudo-practice, spin our wheels, and keep dragging the old into the new. Practicing this way can create a sense of heavy burden that will not only hinder our everyday lives, but will also curtail the deepening of our understanding. As this is a common issue for every practitioner, it will be good to look at this together and understand how to proceed more freely.

On Sunday, December 31, 2017, we will hold a Mondo-style discussion to explore the actual meaning of determination in relation to spiritual practice. The aspects we will look at may include the following:

  • Sustenance needed for spiritual practice
  • Right effort; as in "Don't take it lightly, don’t give it weight"
  • The issue of abnegating responsibility for maintaining the vitality of practice
  • Knowing how to be a student; knowing how to work with a teacher
  • What is "The Sangha" for you?
  • Understanding seamless practice
  • What are "Living Vows", and how do we maintain them?
  • The cultivation of emotional resiliency

Please do your best to be there. If you are a remote student you can join by Skype/FaceTime. Just let me know ahead of time so we can make the arrangements. The schedule is as usual, 8:30-11:00. The Mondo will begin at 10:00.

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

We will be closed on the following dates: December 23-24-25, and January 1st. The schedule for Sunday, December 31st will be as usual, 8:30-11:00. Amid the endless flow of the continuum, this will be the last group Zazen for 2017. Please do your best to join us if you are in town.

Love to all,
Junryu

Due to our fall Sesshin, there will be no Zazen at the dojo on the following dates: Thursday, October 19 through Sunday, October 22.

Dear Friends,

Our first group study is scheduled for Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 10:15 a.m. In preparation for this study, please read the following chapters: The Introduction, Outline of Practice, and Bloodstream Sermon. Take notes as you go through these chapters and bring the book with you to the meeting.

This is a good opportunity to be reminded that while all teachings are given as an offering, it is imperative to maintain financial contributions in support of the continuing efforts. This is a vital aspect of your practice and needs to be addressed whether you are practicing regularly at our Wyckoff location, or studying remotely. We are all a part of one Sangha. Dana Paramita is considered to be among the first teachings of the Buddha, as "Giving Freely" is one of the most profound ways to express selflessness, and deepen the realization of unity.

Let me know if you have any questions. 

Love,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

The Fall Ango ceremony will be held at the upcoming Zazenkai, on Sunday, September 17. The schedule is 8:30 - 4:00. The fee is $25 (lunch included). Please confirm your Zazenkai participation by the end of this week.

Below are two documents: the Ango commitment form and a letter from the head trainee, Mitsugen. The commitment form includes seven practical ways to help you strengthen your resolve and keep the practice alive. These are the points we used during the Spring Ango. Please read both documents and thoroughly reflect on what you need to strengthen, and how you are planning to do it during the next three months. You need to print the commitment form, fill it out, and bring it to the Zazenkai on the 17th. Your first commitment is to not leave the form at home!

If you are unable to join the opening event you can drop off your commitment form, or email it to me. It will be read by one of the Sangha member and you will a part of the Fall Ango.

Love,
Junryu