Dear Friends,

Today we concluded our fall Ango with a Zazenkai and a closing circle. The candid sharing was very helpful to all who attended, and it also revealed practice-deepening on an individual level and the for Sangha as a whole. As we move forward, let’s take a little time to contemplate the way we each dealt with our Ango commitments over the past three months, skillfully apply what we have learned, and note that it is to be continued…

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

Due to low registration we are changing Sunday's Zazenkai schedule from a full-day to half-day format. It is now from 8:30 until 12:30. December is a busy month for many, so a half-day event may be more doable. Please respond to this email today and let me know if you are planning to be there.

This is our Ango closing and it is important for us to get together to share our experience and conclude it with vigor as we move forward.

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

The dojo will be closed for the holiday on Thursday, 11/24, and on Saturday, 11/26. The schedule on Friday and Sunday will be as usual.

Let’s take this opportunity to contemplate the deep meaning of gratitude, and to express appreciation for all the people in our lives and for all the simple and unnoticed gifts life is showering us in abundance. Gifts we usually take for granted. When we stop for a moment and look around, we can see how fortunate we are, and how thankful we need to be.

During one of our visits to Dai Bosatsu I saw a poem posted on the bulletin board and I would like to share it here as a way to direct our attention to the simple and unnoticed:


The Patience of Ordinary Things
by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes, or toes.
How soles of feet know
Where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?


Thank you for your dedication to the practice and for being a part of my life.

Love,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

Myogen and I will be away this weekend for an Aikido seminar. Sunday Zazen will be from 8:30 until 10:00. Please keep up with your practice and come in to support the Sangha sit. On the following Sunday, 11/20, we have a half-day sit from 8:30 until 12:30, and we'll hold a Fusatsu ceremony.

Love,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

"One day, Kuei-Shan was attending to his teacher, Pai-Chang; the latter asked him to poke the stove and see whether there was any fire left in it. Kuei-Shan poked but found no fire. Pai-Chang rose to poke it himself, and succeeded in discovering a little spark. Showing it to his disciple, he asked, "Is this not fire?"

We woke up this morning with heavy hearts and disbelief, shockingly staring at the outcome of fear, anger, and divisiveness. Many of us feel unmotivated and confused, unable to locate the light switch that can illuminate this grim reality. Suddenly, the words "Delusions are inexhaustible" have taken on a most tangible meaning that have penetrated our homes and lives, and we may want to just crawl under a rock for the next four years. How did we get there? Where do we go from here?

As much as we want to believe otherwise, the dark forces of fear, anger, and divisiveness are inherent in each of us, side by side with the bright forces of wisdom and compassion. We woke up this morning to a piercing reminder that whichever forces we feed will prevail. The potential for wisdom is as deep as the potential for stupidity, and the responsibility to actualize wisdom is on us!!! This is no time for self-pity and self indulgence; this is no time for lament and denial. As practitioners of the way, we need to muster up the spirit of true warriors and bring out the spark of wisdom, so it can ignite much needed love and compassion at times of darkness. This is the time to renew the commitment to practice in all its aspects, and to connect with all people without discrimination, as challenging as this may seem.

In the above short dialogue, Kuei-Shan gave up on finding a spark of light within the heap of ashes, but his teacher, Pai-Chang, took charge with an unwavering trust and found a spark. Our task is to do the same. Delusions are indeed, inexhaustible, but we need to transform them by igniting the spark within us and sharing it with the world.

Let's recommit, remain focused and determined, and take on this important task.

Love to all,
Junryu

Our spring Sesshin dates at The Grail Center (Cornwall NY) are now set for April 20-23, 2017. Please mark your calendars! Further details will follow.

Dear Friends,

We will be going back to The Grail Center (Cornwall NY) for our 2017 spring Sesshin. There are currently two weekends available in April and we need to reserve one of them soon: April 20-23, and April 27-30. Please check you calendars and let me know if you have a preferred weekend or are indifferent regarding which dates are chosen. I would like to book one of these options by the end of the week.

The dates of our 2017 fall Sesshin at Dai Bosatsu are already set for October 19-22.

Have a wonderful day,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

Last Sunday we concluded a four-day Sesshin at Dai Bosatsu monastery. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all who attended and contributed their time and efforts to make this profound experience happen. Keep in mind that Sesshins and Zazenkais act as essential catalysts for individual spiritual growth, and for strengthening the cohesiveness of the Sangha.

Our next intensified event is on Sunday, November 20: half-day sit from 8:30 until 12:30. On that day we will also hold a Fusatsu, a ceremony for renewing the vows. This is open to all practitioners, those who took Jukai and those who have not.

Please renew your commitment to the practice and to the Sangha on a regular basis and show up for scheduled Zazen as often as you can. Remember that our Sunday schedule is 8:30-11:00, and it begins with 30 minutes of liturgy.

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

Please remember that during Ango the schedule for Sundays is 8:30 - 11:00. This will allow time to incorporate liturgy on a weekly basis.

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

During the Fall Ango I invite you to dive into an exploration and manifestation of the fundamental teachings in our tradition. These basic teachings refer to the universal in a most personal way, and are at once ancient and relevant. Please read, study, and do your best to embody them.

Love,
Junryu