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Showing posts from April, 2011

Clear Mind Zen

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



The sun has not yet come up this morning and we are waddling around the apartment doing our morning things. I am very sore. Yesterday I dug a bunch of holes in what felt like concrete for soil outside our back door so that we could plant flowers and a few vegetables. I do not have solid shoes and wore my running shoes to pound on the shovel. Big mistake. Yesterday afternoon my knee began to ache. I tried a short run to loosen it up. Another big mistake. I stopped mid first interval repeat and walked gingerly back to my car. This morning I used Aspercreme and am favoring it considerably. No scheduled March for Babies for me this morning!



Later this morning, though, we are scheduled to offer a meditation period to children at a “mini peace camp” in Anthony, NM. I am, as always, looking forward to this experience. Children are usually a delight to work with.



We have sold the remaining texts for the Zen 101 Class and I ordered two more copies. T…

Stewardship

With palms together,




The morning opened like a flower today. The sky is clear and the sun has risen over the mountains. Our mountains here are rarely blue. Instead they are often magenta. I love this color. It is so warm and passionate. I see these mountains as warm and passionate, yet know, when deep inside them, they are brilliant, active, and often forbidding.



Life exists in these mountains, as one behind the other, they rise into the New Mexican sky offering cover and safety for those creatures who reside in them. We have an obligation, it seems to me, to care for them.



A local Representative, Steve Pearce, has decided to introduce a bill in the House that would ease or eliminate many of the protections of our delicate desert and mountain areas. We must ask, where is his mind? Ranchers and Four Wheeler enthusiasts love him. After all, the land is for us to use, is it not?



No, Steve, it isn’t. It is there of its own, with its own life and we are its enemies or its stewards. The ch…

Practice Peace

With palms together,


Good Afternoon Everyone,



Peace and joy to the world. Would that it were so. Unfortunately, we are fighting on many, many fronts and there is great discord in the world at large. There is fighting in nearly every land and if not fighting, great suffering. Sometimes to consider this truth is enough to make a sane person crazy.



We have this month: Hanamatsuri, Passover, and Easter. Each celebrates the hope of liberation. Yet, it is clear to me that this sort of thing is a person by person thing. Groups are so often discordant. Mass liberation is a delusional hope.



So, rather than ask for, or to pray for, world peace, I will chose instead to practice peace.



Homeless Kodo once said it’s all about practice. He said it’s about Zazen. If it is raining and the roof leaks, try to fix it, but if you cannot fix it, move to where there is no drip and practice Zazen. He said religion is not a concept, but a practice.



So, we do not believe in world peace, we become world peac…

Team Zen

Team Zen completed the Iron Bunny 5k today in support of ALS disease research.  Thanks to Student Kanu and Jiisha Soku Shin for running with me.

Be well.

Announcements for the Order of Clear Mind Zen

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



So, I am not a Christian and have no TV or radio. I don’t really look that closely at the little notes above my calendar. I did not know this Sunday was Easter. Goodness. So, I think it is wise to postpone our Annual Membership Meeting for a week. We will still hold Zen services at 9:00 AM this Sunday.



So, Annual Meeting is set for May 1st at 11:00 AM



Team Zen will race the Iron Bunny 5k Charity race tomorrow morning at Ponder Park in El Paso (start time is 8:00 AM). Team Zen will also walk the March for Babies on April 30 at Young Park at 7:30. This will be followed by Clear Mind Zen assisting at Peace Village’s Mini Peace Camp in Anthony NM at 9:35.



We will host May Zazenkai from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM on Saturday, May 7th. Please consider joining us and reserve your space soon.



May you each be a blessing in the universe.



Yours,

Daiho

Life is Short

With palms together


Good Evening Everyone,



Sometimes thing get away from me. Today I had an appointment with my attorney to discuss a will, power of attorney, and an advanced directive. Unfortunately, it was scheduled at the same time as several of my weekly Dokusan’s. My apologies to all.



It is important to keep ahead of things. Dying is one of them. Not that I plan to expire anytime soon, but life is short and unpredictable, so being prepared is always a good idea.



When I do die, I would like to make the library I have collected over the years the Order’s. I would like all items related to Zen and the practice of Zen to be in the hands of my able disciples and my Jiisha. This Order should not be dependent on my living.



I am, however, 64 years old and have had some rather serious, life threatening traumas. There is only so long a bunny can hop. It was time to get things in order.



Be well,

Jiisha and Volunteer Opportunities

With respect,




Hello Everyone, As you know now, Kathryn Soku Shin has formally become my "jiisha." A jiisha is the personal attendant of the abbot. She will be responsible for fielding my calls, scheduling, and a variety of other tasks at the Order. Please give her your complete cooperation and assistance as needed.



We are a growing organization. I want to keep it as flat an organizational structure as is possible. To accomplish this we need people willing to offer their services to the Order. Sewing tasks include zafus and zabutans. Marketing tasks include press releases, attending community meetings on behalf of the Order, seeking out free advertising wherever possible, and being willing to talk to friends and new acquaintences about our Order and the various services we offer. Social engagement would include writing letters to editors, bearing witness for peace, voluntering at the soup kitchen, peace village, hospice, or other social service agencies. We are planning to o…

On Flagpoles and Snow Globes

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



Zazen at the Veteran’s park was very serene this morning. The breeze was steady and refreshing in light of a blazing, but beautiful, morning sun. I had ridden my bicycle to the park, a distance of about 2.7 miles of mostly steep hills and welcomed the opportunity to sit still under the rotunda. Colette sat with me. It was very peaceful.



My mind was at work intermittently, though. I had re-read some of the very famous text, The Three Pillars of Zen, last night and was swirling in Yasutani-roshi’s words regarding his understanding of practice. The other day I read a piece of the commentary Daido-roshi had written on the Mountains and Rivers Sutra. Things seemed to coalesce in the stillness in front of the flag pole.



Both of these sages had views on our practice. Both had decidedly strong views on Soto and Rinzai schools. We would do well to pay attention to them. Our practice, however, must drive us. It is both our anchor and our wheel.



When…

On Zen

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



Zen is Zen. It is not American, Asian, or European. It is the authentic practice of the buddhas and ancestors. No one, not one group, organization, temple, body of experts, blogger, website, web directory or nation has the authority to determine the authenticity of a lineage. Only our practice itself does that. Let me be clear (and maybe just a tad radical here): it is our practice, not our thoughts, feelings or pedigree that determines our authenticity in Zen.



Zen is alive. It is the living manifestation of the buddha-dharma. Authenticity is revealed in Zen’s practice, not in a piece of paper, chop, whisk, or shaved head. The questions, “where’s my mind?” in my activity, “who am I?” through in each moment, and “what is my next step?” as I encounter the world are fundamental questions and how I manifest their answers determines my authenticity.



My Teacher and his Teacher before him gave me a great gift: the opportunity to practice the dharma…

Karma Is

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



Reading a quote about karma on Facebook this morning pinched me. The quote, appearing on Adam Tebbe’s Sweeping Zen said the following:



“Karma is of body, speech and mind. Thoughts have karmic results. Speech has karmic results. Bodily actions have karmic results. That’s why it’s important to think, speak, and act properly.”



This is a common view, understandable given how things are so often taught, yet incorrect. While we often consider karma to be cause and effect, it is actually cause-effect, one, not two. People perceiving with Small Mind see a linearity, when seeing with a Big Mind, no linearity.



If we focus our attention on the “effect” of a “cause” we are separating one from the other, thus eviscerating a living, continuous and dynamic reality, and, in effect, killing it. We are no longer seeing karma, but instead examining a carcass.



Karma is one, not two. It is a continuum (cause-effect-cause-effect-cause, etc.), a complete, total …

A Local Newspaper Story

A local newspaper story.

Chicken Little

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



Yesterday I was invited to offer a lecture on Zen Buddhism at Dona Ana Community College. The lecture was part of their Cultural Awareness Week. It was good to be on a college campus again. I enjoyed the relaxed nature of the venue very much. I sat on my travelling zafu in the center of a small stage in an open interior food court. They set me up with a microphone and I began by telling the story of Siddhartha.



As I spoke, working my way through the history of Zen and into its practices, I noticed people were actually listening. Students, faculty, and college staff sat at the tables and paid attention. How wonderful to be heard. I think each of us should be offered a similar opportunity. We each have very important things to say. We should each be heard.



A society that fails to listen to its members fails its members and in the end silences them through such a failure. We each have a story to tell and that story is the mosaic of our humanity…

Fearless Bodhisattvas?

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



This morning I woke thinking about the six people standing around a small stand in a park on the left side of Las Cruces’ City Hall. They were witnessing for peace. On the other side of the Hall was a much larger group of people standing around listening to the newly elected governor of New Mexico give a speech. We were sitting Zazen on a small rise in between.



I was thinking about the six people as heroes. These were six people out of the thousands who live in southern New Mexico who thought enough about peace to actually get off their asses and show themselves. While I disagree politically with those on the right side of City Hall, those standing there were are also heroes. They were citizens who cared enough about their government to also get off their butts.



Here is the thing: we get what we deserve. Always. It’s the truth, plain and simple. Our apathy at the fact that we are at war on three fronts is astounding. The fact that we are …

Notes

With respect,












Last night was a delight at Rev. Kankin's Sangha. We sat two periods, did walking meditation, and had tea as I delivered a Dharma Talk on the Essentials of Zazen practice. Before all this, though, we had a wonderful meal of Bobby's Wonderful Beans, salad, and bread. We stoppd for a snack at an El Paso Starbucks on the way home.











This morning we did desert sand hill repeats of about a tenth of a mile each. The grade was varying but about 6%. We first walked to the hill through a sandy road, then did four repeats (me) five repeats (Kathryn). We then hiked back to the car. All tolled we did 1.5 miles. Heart rates were maxed out on the last two repeats, I believe (I forgot to put on my HR monitor this morning). Earlier this morning I caught up on my weights by doing a shortened version of Tuesday's chest and back workout. I did do the Wednesday leg workout, though, of squats and calf raises. I also carted my forty pound dumbbells up the flight of stairs to the wei…

Notes

With respect,












Last night was a delight at Rev. Kankin's Sangha. We sat two periods, did walking meditation, and had tea as I delivered a Dharma Talk on the Essentials of Zazen practice. Before all this, though, we had a wonderful meal of Bobby's Wonderful Beans, salad, and bread. We stoppd for a snack at an El Paso Starbucks on the way home.











This morning we did desert sand hill repeats of about a tenth of a mile each. The grade was varying but about 6%. We first walked to the hill through a sandy road, then did four repeats (me) five repeats (Kathryn). We then hiked back to the car. All tolled we did 1.5 miles. Heart rates were maxed out on the last two repeats, I believe (I forgot to put on my HR monitor this morning). Earlier this morning I caught up on my weights by doing a shortened version of Tuesday's chest and back workout. I did do the Wednesday leg workout, though, of squats and calf raises. I also carted my forty pound dumbbells up the flight of stairs to the wei…

Tuesday

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



This morning Kathryn and I went out for a nice hike with Mike GoZen LaTorra, my old student, former disciple, and abbot of the Zen Center of Las Cruces. We have a lot in common and it was good walking with him. Altogether in the desert with lots of sand and hills, we did 2.5 miles. We committed to doing this at least once a week. Alright!



Last night a photographer dropped by the Temple a took some pictures of us in practice to go with an article about Clear Mind Zen Temple that will be coming out this weekend, we think. It was a very good evening with lots of Zensters sitting upright.



This evening Kathryn and I are traveling to El Paso to sit with Both Sides/No Sides Zen Sangha. I am to deliver a teisho. I am looking forward to seeing our El Paso friends and, hopefully, those from Juarez, as well.



In my absence, Student Alice will facilitate the Zen 101 group this evening. Alice is a dedicated practitioner with a sharp eye and clear mind.…

Announcements for the Order of Clear Mind Zen

With palms together,


Good Morning Everyone,



Be advised: What follows is a short update on our Order’s activities and a request for dana.



This morning we have a few important announcements. First, this coming weekend we will be offering April’s Hanamatsuri Sesshin beginning at 7:00 PM Friday evening and extending through until noon on Sunday. John Shoji Sorenson, our acting American River Sangha leader, is flying in from California and will be taking the precepts as a novitiate priest. Please reply with your reservation so that we might prepare our food budget. Suggested donation is $25.00.



Second, this month we have a few additional expenses that we need to address. Our website domain name needs to be renewed, we have to order new t-shirts for Team Zen (the set up fee is $25.00), and we need to complete and ship an order for wagessas placed some time ago by Claude Anshin Thomas, author of “At Hell’s Gate.”



If it is at all possible, please make an additional donation to the Order soo…