A Seat at the Table
ACZC Happenings, 2/3 - 2/9
“Probably the best we can train for is to get a seat at the table where our decisions are made; which is not where we're usually hanging out. Usually we’re hanging out after the fact writing propaganda to justify what we just did.” - Dave Cuomo
And first, Happy (soon to be) Year of the Wood Dragon! It’s Lunar New Year next week (2/9), but some of your monkly friends were over at Sozenji Temple fanning sutras and shouting well wishes this last weekend, so we figured it was as good a time as any to start celebrating here. We are no experts on Chinese Astrology, but our archetypal intuitions are telling us it sounds like a year of power, but you know, the grounded and down to earth kind. Which sounds like a relaxed little power combo to us. Just the way we like it.
And to kick it off, our very own Dave Cuomo will be taking the hot seat tomorrow during the Half Day Sit (2/3, 10am-2:00pm) to regale us with an all time favorite and highly haunting koan (and Dogen chapter) about the ‘dragons singing through the hollow trees’ (see dragon above…). Spoiler/teaser: a monk asked "Can anyone hear the dragons singing?” Caoshan said, “There’s no one doesn’t hear them.” The monk said, “Does anyone know what they’re singing?” Caoshan said, “No one knows the words, but all who hear it grieve”. Whoa. As always feel free to join for as much or as little of the day as you’re able.
And 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 have them included in the Well Being Dedication.
Also this Sunday at 3pm is the return of Sara Campbell’s Book Club where we’ll be digging into the next five chapters (very quick reads, no sweat) of Shundo Aoyama’s Zen Seeds: 60 Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness.
But! We’re burying the lead here. Exciting news just announced! Our Spring Retreat this year will be Friday 3/1 - Sunday 3/3 and will be a commuter retreat held right here at ACZC in the city for easy attendance by all, which you are welcome to attend here, on zoom, or in whatever sort of hybrid of those you would like. We are offering it on a sliding scale based on your expected attendance, whether you’ll be in person or online, and what you can afford. Registration and more info here!
But speaking of meditation, this week on the podcast we are very excited to bring you A Seat at the Table (Meditation) w/ Dave Cuomo. In the penultimate episode to our paramita series, Dave takes on the big one for Zen - meditation (aka Zen). We all know it’s what we do, but maybe it’s time to peel back the curtain on all our cagey double speak and reveal the method behind the madness. How did we arrive at the somewhat sly ironic style that we (don’t so much) teach here? What was it traditionally supposed to accomplish, how was it supposed to work, and are we still accomplishing that here? Can we really learn contentment and does that actually lead to wisdom? Will we get the five magical powers and will we want them when we do?? Find out here!
Up now at http://aczc.org/aczcpodcast or on all your favorite podcast platforms.
And hey, here’s a koan for the week:
Case in point:
At the end of the Summer practice period, Cuiyan said to the assembly,
“I’ve been speaking to you this whole summer. Now tell me, are my eyebrows still there?”
Baofu said, “The thief’s heart is empty.”
Changqing said, “They’re growing!”
Yunmen said, “An obstacle!”
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 - 2/3, 10am - 2:00pm
Half Day Sit w/ Dave Cuomo - Our biggest day of the month! Two half hour rounds of zazen, one short and sweet Well being Ceremony, a talk with Dave, a short break for lunch, and then we’re back for two half hour rounds of that sweet sweet zazen. As always, feel free to join for as much or as little of the day as you’re able.
Sunday - 2/4, 3pm - 4pm
Book Club w/ Sara Campbell - Join us for the latest installment of Sara’s leisurely literary bi-weekly Book Club, an informal gathering where we’ll be digging into Shundo Aoyama’s Zen Seeds: 60 Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness. Join us!
Monday Evening - 2/5, 7:30pm - 9pm
Sit & Discussion w/ Jitsujo Gauthier - One half hour of zazen, and then our very good sangha friend Jitsujo, resident priest of ZCLA and chair of the UWest Buddhist Chaplaincy Department (nbd), is back in the hot seat to regale us with tales of the wider world of Zen. Come on out and help us give her a warm ACZC hello!
Wednesday - 2/7, 7:30pm - 9pm (Zoom Only)
Sit & Koan Discussion w/ Corey Warner - Cuiyan’s got something to say about having something to say, and his fellow monks seem to have a lot to say about it. Has he used his powers all summer for good? And if so, will it ultimately do us any good?? Let’s discuss.
Thursday - 2/8 at 7pm - 8:30pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - And Nina is back to help us wind down our weeks and loosen up our limbs with one blissful hour of Slow Flow Zen Yoga, followed by one half hour of the sweetest zazen you will sit all week. We’ll see y’all there.
Friday Early - 2/9 at 5am-6am
Rise and shine y’all, it’s the season 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 simple hour of sitting with an optional five minute stretch break offered in the middle.
Friday - 2/9 at 8am
Chanting & Zen Breakfast - This week! We chant the Heart Sutra in the holy language of English, followed by that bright shining jewel of a song matched only by the face shining out of it (yours!), the Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi. Poetry for the ages! And then stick around for ACZC’s fresh hot take on traditional Zen breakfast (house milled multi grain porridge - now with apples! 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!