A Long Loving Look Into the Darkness
ACZC Happenings, 1/6 - 1/12
“All the philosophies I grew up on were always trying to take me toward the light - be a good person, know what's going on, know how to handle things… It was only about happiness and positivity. That’s what led me here. That was the problem. It could only ever be half true.” - Dave Cuomo
Well happy 2024 y’all and a big hearty thank you and shoutout to all who came out to celebrate and sit up straight with us through the booms and bells to raise a toast with us on Sunday night. And a big hearty shoutout to everyone who celebrated however you did! Even if it was from behind your eyelids curled up in bed. We celebrate that too.
But speaking of wide eyed excitement for the great brand new, this Sunday (1/7) at 3pm, is the first round of Sara Campbell’s Biweekly Book Club (Zoom only) - an informal hour long discussion group on Shundo Aoyama’s Zen Seeds: 60 Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness (first five chapters, estimated read - 10 minutes). And in an ACZC first there will be no zazen! (whoa) But there will be good friends. And if you didn’t do the reading, everyone’s gonna still be glad you came. We’ll see y’all there.
And not to be outdone by Sunday’s fun, this Saturday (tomorrow 1/6 - 10am) is the first Saturday of the month which means it’s our Half Day Sit! Join us for some zazen, a short Well Being Dedication for anyone sick or in need of some well wishes, a great little discussion with Dave (we can only assume), a healthy whole grain pizza brunch, all followed by a couple more rounds of that sweet sweet zazen.
If anyone (who you know personally) is sick or otherwise in need of good health well wishes, you can add their names to the form you see here (bottom of the page) to include them in our Well Being Dedication.
But speaking of saying kind things whether or not we know how they work or what they mean, this week on the podcast we are very pleased to bring you A Long Loving Look Into the Darkness w/ Dave Cuomo. Dave rings in the New Year with an unflinching dive into darkness - what it means in Zen, why it’s nothing to be scared of, and why the light isn’t always as illuminating as we’ve been led to believe; including a bonus cameo from everyone’s favorite angry farmer poet, Wendell Berry, plus a fresh original translation of the Zazenshin (the Point of Zazen). Are we content with half truths or are we ready for the dark ones? Have we been lied to about the Point of Zazen? Can we procrastinate our way into productivity?? Find out here!
Up now at http://aczc.org/aczcpodcast or on all your favorite podcast platforms.
And speaking of beginnings in an ending, here’s a koan for the week:
Case in point:
The Flower Garland Sutra says, “It’s become clear to me that all beings everywhere have the same heart and mind as the Buddha. But then they get confused, and stuck, and never even notice.”
This Week in Zen! All times posted in Pacific time zone, all sessions hosted in person and on Zoom unless otherwise marked (email us for quick and easy Zoom access info):
Saturday - 1/6 at 10am - 2:10pm
Half Day Sit - Our biggest day of the month! Two rounds of sweet sweet zazen, one walking meditation in the middle, a short Well Being Chanting Service, and then Dave Cuomo takes the hot seat to spin a few classic yarns from the Golden Age of Zen into one epic tale of a monk turning his back on his teacher and having to answer for his wayward betrayal (dharma? Sounds more like some drraaaama to us…). Along the way we finally get some explanation on how exactly these old koans work, why they’re not as confusing as we think they are, or why maybe a little confusion is exactly the answer we’ve been looking for. Follow up the talk with a short break for lunch (did someone say homemade whole grain pizza..???), and then we’re back for two more rounds of sweet sweet zazen. As always feel free to join for as much or as little of the day as you’re able.
Sunday - 1/7, 3pm - 4pm (Zoom Only)
Book Club w/ Sara Campbell - Join us for the first installment of Sara’s leisurely literary bi-weekly Book Club, an informal gathering where we’ll be digging into the first five chapters (don’t worry, they’re short, can knock ‘em out in 10 minutes we’re told) of Shundo Aoyama’s Zen Seeds: 60 Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness. Join us!
Monday Evening - 1/8, 7:30pm - 9pm
Sit & Discussion w/ Patrick Carroll - “What Am I Doing Here??”
One half hour of zazen, then long time sangha friend Patrick takes the hot seat to regale us with the story of what he’s doing and why he’s here, while we just maybe learn something about those things for ourselves. Come on out and show some sangha love!
Wednesday - 1/10 at 7:30pm - 9pm (Zoom Only)
Sit & Koan Discussion w/ Dave Cuomo - You’re so dang perfect, you’re just too stupid to notice it. Or so we’re told? Is this inherent Buddha Nature deal really as optimistic as it sounds? If we’re so great why do they always say we’re doing life wrong? Are we actually doing life wrong? Or is the lesson that the Buddhas are more like us than anyone cares to admit?? Let’s discuss.
Thursday - 1/11 at 7pm - 8:30pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - Nina returns for one blissful hour of Slow Flow Zen Yoga to round out the evening and wind down our week, capped off with one half hour of that sweet sweet zazen. We’ll see y’all there.
Friday Early - 1/12 at 5am-6am
Rise and shine y’all. Join us for a little zazen before our zazen. Especially a good opportunity for those who work early, or live in an earlier time zone. In person and on zoom! Same format as our usual morning sits - one hour of unbridled zazen with an optional five minute stretch break offered in the middle.
Friday - 1/12 at 8am
Chanting & Zen Breakfast - This week! We chant the Heart Sutra in English followed by Shitou’s lazy and lyrical ode to waking up with the power of a big fat nap. Poetry for the ages! And then stick around for ACZC’s fresh hot take on traditional Zen breakfast (house milled multi grain porridge! mmm…). A nutritious (and delicious) part of this complete practice. Let’s dig in.
Tuesday - Friday, 7am - 8am
Morning Sit - One simple hour of what we do best - just sitting. Optional five minute stretch break offered in the middle.
See y’all soon!