Dear Friends,

Our Zazenkai next Sunday, 5/22, will be from 8:30 until 3:00 and the fee is $25. The day will include Zazen, liturgy, Dokusan, Teisho, and lunch. If you have not yet confirmed your participation please do so as soon as possible. Concentrated practice periods such as Zazenkai and Sesshin are essential to your Zen training and I highly encourage you to join these sangha events.

There is no need to reply to this email if you have responded to the previous email or confirmed in person.

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

Some of you have been asking for a list of Dharma names in our Shanga. The following list contains only names of active (mostly...) members. Over the years there were others who have taken Jukai with us but for different reasons are no longer associated with Eiryu-ji. Bear in mind that the meaning of each name is based on the characters used, and not the sound. Also, these names consist of two or three different Kanji characters that were put together specifically for the Jukai recipient, and in most cases will not correspond with any google search.

Unlike our ‘static' birth names, Dharma names must be dynamically practiced in everyday life. This means that we each have to keep studying the deep meaning of our names, and actualize them through the practice of the precepts. The names are of personal nature, but since they are born out of the absolute they act as a reminder for all of us to not get lost in the relative and express the fundamental in the midst of the ephemeral. Let’s try to use these names more often when we are interacting with each other.

Dharma Names

  • Junryu - Pure Hearted Flow (Eran)
  • Myogen - Luminous Source (Yvonne)
  • Keichi - Joyous Wisdom (Yves)
  • Seogyoku - Pure Jewel (Ellen)
  • Joriki - Quiet Energy (Gene)
  • Mitsugen - Intimate Presence (Ricardo)
  • Tetsuki - Wise Spirit (Bert)
  • Kyodo - Empty Path (Avi)
  • Taiken - Peaceful Sword (George)
  • Taishin - Great Trust (Akesha)
  • Meijo - Luminous Generosity (Ortencia)
  • Enyo - Wisdom of Suchness (Alena)
  • Shindai - Intimate Ground (Alex)
  • Yuji - Courageous Compassion (Caitlin)
  • Shokan - Authentic Insight (Jason)
  • Seisho - Essence of Creativity (Lilly)
  • Kyonin - Vast Patience (Robert)
  • Kaiju - Gentle Ocean (Amanda)
  • Seiku - Peaceful Sky (Claudia)
  • Eiji - Eternal Compassion (Tom)
  • Meishin - Luminous Heart (Leyla)

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

• Our revised schedule for Sundays is now 8:45 - 11:00. This will give us enough time for chanting one sutra, and begin three full  periods of Zazen at 9:00. 

• The fall Ango period will begin on Sunday, October 4th, following the Jukai ceremony for Akesha. The end of this Ango will be on Sunday, December 20th. At Eiryu-ji we hold two Ango periods a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. These training periods date back to the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, who instructed his disciples to gather for intensive training during the monsoon months. In the Zen tradition, each of us makes a personal commitment to ‘tighten up the slack’ in specific areas of our lives, and to deepen the commitment to Zazen and to the practice of the three treasures, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

The theme for this Ango will be a study of a specific Buddhist text (sutra). This training period will be facilitated by Keichi and I, and we will create a google email group so there can be an online discussions for the purpose of information exchange, and for enriching the training period for all of us. We will also try to schedule two group discussions at the dojo, which may be attended by Skype. Information about the text along with other details about this Ango will be emailed within a week. In the meantime, please contemplate what areas of your life require more attention in the form of deepening, enhancing, facing, or working through. 

On Sunday, 10/4 at 12:30, after the Jukai and entry ceremony, we will have a pot luck lunch at the dojo. Please plan ahead to allow time for this gathering. More details will follow.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Love to all,
Junryu

Dear Friends,

During the last dharma talk, I mentioned the odd nature of our scattered sangha, and encouraged everyone to open up and communicate through email, so we can strengthen the unity and support. One of our sangha friends, Cri, wanted to reach out to all, and share her experience of 

keeping the practice alive, and the role of sangha support while being away from what we call ‘home’. Please take a moment to read her email below, and feel free to respond or share with everyone any practice-related experiences.

Junryu

 

Sailing on a Boat

People say, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.” They might be right – at least from time to time. During my stay abroad, I experienced what it meant to practice Zen alone. Sitting without support, hearing no talks, working on no Koans and having no access to Junryu’s assistance to look at everyday uproars from a distance – for more than four months – changed my personal meaning of Sangha. I would like to share my thoughts on this matter with you.

Ultimately, Zazen meditation is a solitary practice. However, as social beings we are highly influenced by our surroundings – by the people we meet when we sit together (from receiving hugs and smiles when we enter the Dojo to being wished well when we leave it again), by the ideas put forward in the Dharma talks, by sharing personal experiences and thoughts in conversations with other Sangha members, and so on and so on. I assume all of us are somewhat familiar with encountering astonishment or (skeptical) surprise when talking about Zazen practice with non-practitioners. Even when we come into contact with open people and meet their curious interest about and admiration for meditation practice, their unexperienced affirmation cannot substitute the grounded support of fellow practitioners. It’s simply not the same to talk about sailing off to the sea or actually sitting together in the same boat.

When I went to South America to conduct my master thesis there, I suddenly sat alone in the boat. Being your own captain is another kind of “spiritual awakening” – although having received guidance from Junryu to keep the practice alive and having cultivated commitment to embrace the wide, open sea and explore its depth, I still felt a beforehand unknown responsibility to maneuver the ship completely alone. Of course, this should not mean that while you are part of the Sangha you neglect or give away your responsibilities and lean back to enjoy the wonderful view and let others do the work. The Sangha is about sailing together. Every single member contributes to the life on the boat. Each one of us plays his/her own part and shapes the Sangha and its course, creating a community with properties of a different quality. Ryunosuke Satoro said, “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

Above all, the Sangha is a place of dynamic interaction, deep connection and mutual exchange. For me personally, it is a birthplace of lived happiness and unique trust. It is a family built not on consanguinity but on an innermost dedication to walk the path of awakening. Sailing side by side does not render the sea’s depth any different but it adds joyfulness to the sailor’s journey.

Christina Vaccaro

Dear Friends,

  • Alex and Caitlin got engaged a few days ago!!! Congratulations to both of them on taking this step in their relationship, and a big hug from all of our Eiryu-ji members.
  • On Sunday, October 4th, we will hold a Jukai ceremony for Akesha Baron. The ceremony will take place at the dojo, and will begin at 11:30, following the regular Sunday morning Zazen. Please make plans to attend this special event, and to support Akesha in this important part of her practice.
  • Our Dai Bosatsu Sesshin is only five weeks away, and the balance for this event is due by September 10th. Please take care of this payment within the next week. You can ignore this reminder if you have paid the full amount, or spoken with me about it.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Love,
Junryu