December & January 2020

Upcoming:
Year End Retreat — Village Zendo, Being Time — Virtual Winter Sesshin, December 26 – December 31

The Village Zendo’s annual Winter Retreat has always held special significance as we conclude one year and welcome the next.  This year, the invitation to a deeper letting go is all the more urgent when it is clear that big changes are in store for us.  More information here.

Oxbow Zen Sangha Meeting — Sunday, January 10th, 9:30 am – 11:00 am,

Study:  Sunday, January 24th, 9:30 am – 11:00 am, The Book of Householder Koans (also from your local book store) by Eve Myonen Marko and Wendy Egyoku Nakao.  The discussion will focus on one koan, to be announced.

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!

Change in Date: Study on Dec 15

Today, we enjoyed a wonderful sit with seven people in our new Zendo at the Friends Meeting House, including an opportunity for private interview with Soshin Hoshi. Settling in…  

Note the change in date for the next Study: It will take place on December 15, for about 1.5 hours after the boring sit.   We will focus on the great teacher Linji/Rinzai (Chapter 6 of the book “Making Zen Your Own” by Janet Abels).  

You are warmly invited to participate.  You don’t have to have participated in any of the prior study meetings. Just read and reflect on the chapter before the meeting, exploring its relationship to your own Zen Life today.

Painting of Linji / Rinzai
Source: Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linji_Yixuan#/media/File:RinzaiGigen.jpg

May 27 Council Circle

Bodhisattvas!    Fellow Dharma friends!   Dear Sangha community!

Our current Sunday morning lease at the Upstairs Studio completes at the end of the month.  Next Sunday, May 27, marks—for now—the last Oxbow Zen sit at the Upstairs Studio.  Come June the Sunday sit will move to Magna House.

The Upstairs Studio has been the home of our Sunday morning sit for a number of years.  On May 27 we’ll be setting aside some time for sitting in a Council Circle: speaking and listening together from the heart, as this particular outer form of the sitting location changes. Please consider participating, perhaps sharing brief appreciation, anecdotes, feelings, silence, questions, wonderings, …, as each arises in the moment.

Looking forward to coming together in Council!

The Upstairs Studio in Northampton.

Spring events

Starting in February we will be following this monthly schedule:

1st Sunday – Speaking Sunday (Dharma Talk and Study)
2nd Sunday – Service Sunday
3rd Sunday – Simple Sunday (seated Heart Sutra)
4th Sunday – Service Sunday
5th Sunday – Silent Sunday (no chanting)

Check out the online Calendar to confirm specific events on specific dates.

Falling Leaf Zazenkai 2017

Zazenkai with Ryotan Sensei Sep 30 2017

At the Sep 30 Zazenkai, Ryotan Sensei invoked Ryokan’s poem

Maple leaf
Falling down
Showing front
Showing back

as an invitation to look deeply into this mind.

Three full bows in gratitude to Ryotan Sensei for making the trip to share the teaching with the Oxbow Zen Sangha!

And, as always, many thanks to the many hands that create and maintain the container in which we can settle deeply into whole-hearted practice.  Very special thanks to Shokai and Mark for their hospitality!