Householder Koans

Our next study group will be taking place on January 24, 2021 following our usual sit. We’ll be looking at “The Book of Householder Koans” by Eve Myonen Marko and Wendy Egyoku Nakao, beginning with the section on Loss, Illness, Old Age and Death and the koan: Karen: The Old Woman Meets a Fish. We’ll be exploring various ways to engage with this and other koans. Is there another koan in this section that resonates with you? If so, go ahead and bookmark the page, as we may explore other koans, time permitting.

Study: Three Step Zen Mindfulness Method by Ryodo Roshi

Regarding Ryodo Roshi’s chapter, you can find a one-page overview that summarizes the realms of the mind he names, along with some of their qualities.
Here’s a link to the entry point I would suggest, into the Cloudbook, namely the section on the “Realms of the Mind.”
I think the following few short consecutive sections would be helpful to read for our December 6 study meeting:
As you read the sections, you are invited to explore:
  • How do you experience each of these “Realms” and “Steps?”
  • What are their qualities, for you?
  • Are there specific practices that support you in taking particular “Steps”?
  • What words or images do you find helpful in communicating the qualities of each “Realm”?
For an overview of his overall online writings, here’s the Table of Contents at https://zenmindfulness.org/cloudbook.php?page=TOC
To help identify possible future study texts, Shokai suggested we take a look at Suggested Readings from the Village Zendo:
Looking forward to studying with you!

Walking Meditation

Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary with Fall Colors
Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary with Fall Colors

Practice at Oxbow Zen continues online.  Study will continue on October 25.  Several folks also sit with the Village Zendo on some mornings during the week — and the monthly Zazenkais offered by our mothership.

During this beautiful fall season, please also take the opportunity to experience the changing world in your own surroundings.  Hugs and warm wishes!

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!

June Study

Our study of Janet Abels’ book “Making Zen Your Own” will continue on Sunday June 28, after the regular sit, from 9:30-11:00 AM. We will be discussing the relationship to our lives of Chapter 11, which is on Yunmen.

Study Sunday May 17 2020

Study:  On Sunday, May 17, from 9:30-11:00 after the sit you are warmly invited to participate online in 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 “Xuefeng,” which is Chapter 10 in Janet Abels’ book “Making Zen Your Own.”   All are invited!  

Study Sunday April 12 2020

Study:  On Sunday, April 12, from 9:45-11:30 after the sit you are warmly invited to participate online in 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 “Deshan/Tokusan” which is Chapter 9 in Janet Abels’ book “Making Zen Your Own.”   All are invited!  

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):
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0C4BABAB29A0FB6-zazenkai3

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!
Kenko.

Image of snow couple on Paradise Pond
Winter on Paradise Pond

December Event Schedule

Fri Dec 6 – Sat Dec 7: Rohatsu: All-night sit to commemorate the Buddha’s awakening. All are welcome! Arrive between 8:10-8:20 PM when the building doors are open. We will conclude on Saturday morning at 7 AM.

Thu Dec 12: Fusatsu: Evening ceremony of atonement, awakening, and renewal. Starts at 5:30 PM, ends around 7:00 PM. Please arrive a few minutes early to set up the space, and settle in.

Sun Dec 15: Study at Magna House from 10AM – 11:30 AM, after the regular morning sit. Read the chapter on Linji/Rinzai in the study text “Making Zen Your Own” and share your reflections when we meet.

Year-end Retreat, Dec 26-Jan 1: Enter deep silence and stillness with this Zen retreat hosted by the Village Zendo at the Garrison Institute. Learn more and register!

Rohatsu

We’re excited to announce a very special event, namely an all night sit to celebrate the Buddha’s Enlightenment, called “Rohatsu” in our Japanese Zen tradition.  It will take place in our new home at the Friends Meeting House!   All are welcome!!  
On Rohatsu we commemorate the Budda’s enlightenment by doing as he did — sitting Zazen all night.
Start: Friday December 6 evening (~ 8:15 PM)
Ends: Saturday December 7 in the morning (~7 AM)

There will be a Dharma Talk by Soshin Hoshi.
Short breaks for rest are included and a light meal will be served around the halfway point.  Please join us!  Help us celebrate this most important date on the Buddhist calendar.   Please note that you may leave the building at any time, but there is no entry or re-entry after 8:15 PM

Fusatsu

Fusatsu is an ancient ceremony of atonement, awakening, and new beginnings — recognizing and celebrating the circle of the year nearing its completion, and a new circle beginning.  Making all fresh and new!

All are invited to throw themselves fully into it 😉