Zen 101

Saturday, February 09, 2013


With palms together,

Good Morning Everyone,

It’s a Saturday morning and we will practice Zazen together tomorrow morning in our Zendo. I am concerned that our numbers are dwindling. Zen practice as a Sangha is very important to our development as followers of the Great Way laid out by the Buddha himself. Just as we take refuge in the Buddha and the Dharma, so too, we take refuge in the Sangha.

Over the years I have noticed how practicing Sanghas increase and decrease in terms of Zendo participation. I have noticed how Study Groups come and go and in this I am often caught by the question, “What’s this?” I look at myself. Is there something I am doing or not doing that would account for the dwindling numbers? In truth, I doubt it. I think it is the practice itself and the relative centrality of the practice that is the root cause. Zazen is very difficult and we come to the Zendo often hoping that the practice will make ourselves or our lives better and when it does not or we fail to see any real change, we easily abandon it.

As abbot of our Order I feel Zazen with the Sangha should be at the center, or near center, of our lives as Refuge Holders or Precept Holders. Through our practice together we have the benefit of the group’s energy. We have the benefit of the teaching by a teacher. More importantly, however, we derive the benefit of commitment and a resolve to surrender to that commitment. I am therefore encouraging each of my readers to find the resolve to attend a formal Zen Service in your community. If none exists, create a Sitting Group. There are guidelines for this on our website at http://clearmindzen.org.

For those of you in Las Cruces, please consider joining us tomorrow as we sit down, shut up, and practice together. I won’t promise cookies and coffee afterwards, but I will promise that honoring a commitment to take refuge in the Sangha will strengthen you.

Be well

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