Outdoor service, kinhin, study

A handful of Oxbow Zen practitioners practicing outdoor kinhin among fall foliage.
Outdoor kinhin in the Fall.

The Oxbow Zen Sangha met for our (masked and distanced) second outdoor event. Zazen, a chanting service, and a long outdoor kinhin period were followed by group study of “White Fragility” and what it might suggest for our practice. Bows to all!

*Online* Zazenkai Sunday April 5 2020

Dear Oxbow Zen friends,
Here is the schedule for this coming Sunday’s half-day Zazenkai.  
You are warmly invited to participate in all, or as much of the day as is possible for you.  The regular Sunday morning sit from 8-9:35 AM is folded into the schedule (bonus: with talk!).   The timing after the Dharma talk is a little tentative and may shift. The Zoom link will be sent through our email list.

Please mute yourself during Zazen and during the chants.   You’ll hear the Ino and Doan.  Chant along in your own home.

Right now, interviews are planned during Zazen after the talk and before Open Sozan.  If you want to request interview during the day, please let Soshin Hoshi know (e.g. via email).  

Questions?  Don’t hesitate to be in touch. Looking forward to practicing with you,



7:45 Connect your tech, connect with folks, settle into your seat
8:00 Zazen (Jikido) 8:30 Verse of the Kesa (Doan)
8:35 Stretching/Break
8:40 Zazen
9:10 Stretching/Break

9:15 Dharma Talk 
9:35 Stretching/Break

9:40     Zazen
10:10 Stretching/Break
10:15 Zazen
10:45  Stretching/Break

10:50 Seated Heart Sutra (Ino, Doan)11:00 Open Sozan
11:30 Good Byes

Oxbow Zen Sits Now **Online**

Hello everybody,
We hope this message finds you well.  As part of the recommended efforts at social distancing, the Friends Meeting House has closed until at least the end of March.  
Starting immediately and continuing until at least the end of March, the Oxbow Zen Sunday morning meetings will connect us all *online* for meditation using a video platform.  (We just did a quick test-run. A few technical recommendations below.)

Remember: Times of upheaval can be important times for practice.  Let’s stay connected!

Sunday schedule for tomorrow:

  • 8:00 AM:  A link to a Google Hangouts video room will be emailed to this list.   Connect early if you want to test your tech.  You can point your camera wherever you like.  It might be nice to get a visual sense of all the people sitting together.
  • 8:15 AM:  The Jikido (time keeper) will start the sit.  
  • 8:45 AM:  The sit will end with Four Vows and Three Bows.  (We can see how the chanting together works over video 😉  )

Right after this sit (8:50’ish), there’s an opportunity to connect for a check-in, to hear what’s going on with everybody.  It’s a chance for connection in this time of social distancing.  And also an opportunity to brainstorm opportunities for practicing together; e.g. additional evening sits, connect the online sits with sangha members at other Zendos, e.g. at the Hyannis Zendo or the New Paltz Zendo or the Village Zendo, etc. etc.   
Everybody is invited to participate! 

We can figure out a schedule for future Sunday sits at the check-in.

This email list can also serve as a path of connection.  Every person on the list can post.  If you have ideas, suggestions, concerns, etc. related to our evolving practice together, don’t hesitate to post and reach out!

Looking forward to practicing with all of you,

Tech recommendations:

  • For now, we’re using Google Hangouts (https://hangouts.google.com/).  I suspect you might need some kind of Google login …
  • The video link can open in a browser on your PC.  There is also a “Google Hangouts” app for your phone.
  • Connect early to test your tech.
  • After connecting, you can mute/activate your microphone and your video camera using the controls that appear below the center of the screen.  (Both start set to ON, I think.)
  • For loudspeakers & microphones, make sure they are turned up just right and not redirected to a smart speaker somewhere.  (e.g. turn off Bluetooth)
  • For the conversation, please use head-phones to cut down on echo and feedback for everybody.  I don’t think they are needed for the silent sit.
  • … and a space for the traditional unexpected tech mishap … 
Prepare and take your seat, wherever you are.

Feb & Mar 2020 Events

Dear Oxbow Zen Community:

Just a quick note about upcoming events with the Oxbow Zen Sangha!

Zazen:  Our regular Sunday morning Zazen continues.  Let’s meet at 8:05 AM as usual to set up our Zendo space at the Friends Meeting House for community Zazen.  We are fortunate that Soshin Hoshi may now offer private interview (“daisan”) during the Sunday sits.  Please consider taking advantage of this important pillar of Zen practice.

Study:  On Sunday, March 1, from 9:45-11:30 after the sit you are warmly invited to Magna House (#201, 26 Crescent St, Northampton) for our monthly Zen Study with coffee, snacks, and fellowship (http://oxbowzen.org/study-group/).  We’ll be discussing the connection to our lives of the reading on Dongshan in Janet Abels’ book “Making Zen Your Own.”   All are invited!  

Talk:  When Jo-Ei/Roger and I were on the West Coast, we learned about Flora Eko Courtois, a Co-Founder of ZCLA and the Santa Barbara Zen Group. On Sunday March 1, Roger will be sharing with us some of what he found out in his research about Flora’s life and practice.  A quote from Flora:

Every moment lived in absorbed attention is simultaneously a beginning and an end, at once a birth and a death. In such attention we are radically open to the unexpected, to letting life live us. Any event, however small or seemingly trivial, properly attended, opens the door to infinity.

Register for the Day-long sit (Zazenkai):  On Saturday March 21 you are invited to an all-day sit (8AM-5PM, *) with Ryotan Sensei from the Village Zendo.  Many thanks to Ryotan Sensei for supporting our practice.  And special thanks to Shokai and Mark for hosting the Sangha in their beautiful home in Southampton!    

(*) If you are unable to join for the full day, consider participating in just the morning portion. That way we can all start and settle in together.

Register here (please indicate a potluck item you will bring):

Happy to be practicing with all of you!

Small altar at the Friends Meeting House
Small altar at the Friends Meeting House

2020 Events

Dear Oxbow Zen Community:

Happy New Year 2020! Just a quick note about upcoming events!

Zazen:  This coming Sunday, Feb 2, we’ll meet at 8:05 AM as usual to set up our Zendo space at the Friends Meeting House for community Zazen.

Study:  After the sit, from 9:45-11:30 you’re invited to Magna House (#201) for our monthly Zen Study with coffee, snacks, and fellowship (http://oxbowzen.org/study-group/).  We’ll be discussing the connection to our lives of the reading on “Zhaozhou” in Janet Abels’ book “Making Zen Your Own.”   All are invited to share their experience with the reading!

Day-long sit (Zazenkai):  Mark your calendars for the Saturday March 21 all-day sit with Ryotan Sensei from the Village Zendo.  Many thanks to Shokai and Mark for hosting the Sangha in their beautiful home in Southampton!

Happy to be practicing with all of you!

Image of snow couple on Paradise Pond
Winter on Paradise Pond