You are invited! Sangha Gathering (Sept 29)

Sunny days Cool nights Hint of fall

Hello everybody:
We had a wonderful deep and quiet morning sit with six people today.  And then an intimate study circle, checking in; exploring Shitou’s life and our own.

Next Sunday, Sept 29, you are warmly invited to share your voice in our fall Sangha Gathering.  We meet right after the morning sit, starting around 9:45 / 10 AM, usually around 11:30 AM or noon.  Snacks are welcome!

It’s a time when we connect with our voices and hearts to explore how we’d like to shape our Zen practice together throughout the next season or two.  If you’d like to join remotely via video let me know.

Some opportunities for discussion might include: weekday sits, Zazenkai (day-long sits), private interviews, monthly study, shared road trips to the Village Zendo or retreats, Dharma hikes, locations for sits, connections to other groups, etc.


Please bring your ideas and suggestions!

Hydrangeas in the fall
Flowers with a blush of fall …

Soshin empowered as Dharma Holder

Roshi Enkyo writes:

On Thursday, August 1st, Soshin was given the role of Dharma Holder (Hōshi). A Dharma Holder is an Assistant Teacher, empowered to give informal interview. Soshin will now be available to help in the teaching here and with her sangha in the Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts. 

Hōshi translates as “teacher of dharma.” In our line, Maezumi Roshi began to use this term for a person who had completed koan study. Here at the Village Zendo, the title is given to one who is well-versed in the teachings, embodies them, and can share them. Hoshis continue their training while also offering interview to others. 

Soshin began her studies at the Village Zendo in the early 2000s; she took Jukai in 2005 with the Dharma name 瑞Zuisho (Auspicious Happiness). In 2009 she ordained and received the Dharma name 窓真 SOSHIN (window of truth)

Soshin has studied with Roshi and the Village Zendo teachers, with Anraku Sensei in Northampton, and most recently with Ryotan Sensei both online and on his visits to the Pioneer Valley sangha. Thus, Ryotan joined Roshi in the empowerment.

Congratulations to Soshin Hoshi!

圓教 / Enkyo

Summer! Sits resume (intermittently)

Jo-Ei and I have returned from the West Coast. Starting in July, the Sunday sits are resuming somewhat intermittently for the summer, because people are away on retreat etc. Check the Calendar Page for up-to-date information, or send email to double-check.

Looking forward to practicing with you!!

Pictorial impression from the West Coast
Santa Barbara bay with mountains in the evening light.

Study: Huineng (Chapter 2)

Earlier today, we had a warm online video meeting to connect and check in with each other, and to explore together our reflections on the “Bodhidharma” chapter from our study text.

The next chapter we’ll read focuses on “Huineng.” By March 3 please add your reflections to our shared document, so we all have a week to read them and comment. We will connect again via Google Hangout video link on Sunday March 17, 4 PM (EST).

Details, video links, etc. will be shared through the email list, as usual. If you have questions about the technical aspects for this study group, please contact us at oxbowzensangha@gmail.com .

Nor’easter Rain Fall Zazenkai

Zazenkai Impressions
Impressions from the Fall Zazenkai

Dear Oxbow Zen Sangha:

Stormy wind, sheets of rain, dark and drifting clouds, deep community practice.  Warm thanks for everybody’s practice effort and giving hands at the October Zazenkai today.  Deep gratitude to Ryotan Sensei for sharing the teaching so freely and generously!   Three bows!

Zazenkai Photo Oct 2018
Conclusion of the day-long sit with Ryotan Sensei, Oct 27, 2018.

Weekday evening sits resume

Weekday evening sits resume on Thursday evenings from 6:00-7:30 PM. At Magna House, as usual … please bring cushions and arrive a few minutes early to set up your seat. Chairs are available. Looking forward to practicing with you!

A small stone Buddha flanked by a small summer bouquet of flowers and a tealight candle inside a rough glass container.
Late summer altar …

Spring Reading / Writing / Inquiry

 In spring 2019 we plan to have a monthly reading/writing/study group — online or in person. That way we can stay connected and practice together in the spring while Jo-Ei and Kenko are on the West Coast.  Initial ideas might be similar to a monthly book study:

  • read a chapter,
  • write one page of reflections into a shared Google Doc,
  • read some of the other participants’ writings before the meeting,
  • then deepen the reflection together during the meeting (online or in person).
  • Maybe a “Final Presentation” such as a poem, song, dance, painting, …

“Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” was mentioned as one possible reading. Open to additional ideas. Let’s let this ferment a little while longer and come together to settle on a plan later this year. If you’re interested, let’s make sure we keep you in the loop, whether you’re in town or at a distance.