A Subtle Sober Magic
ACZC Happenings, 2/10 - 2/16
“There's some discomfort there, and there's some comfort there. And when you let that go… it's quite a revolution.” - Gyokei Yokoyama
First off, yes tomorrow (2/10) is the 2nd Saturday of the month which means our 10am session will be one hour of yoga with Nina Snow, followed by a half hour of zazen, and then a hearty and heartwarming discussion with Nina, accompanied by the awakening aroma of kava java(™) in our mugs. Join us!
Also - just announced! Coming up Saturday 2/17 at 1pm (following our usual sit & discussion) our own resident deep listening expert, Robert Holliday, will be hosting a Deep Listening Study Circle. The workshop will include sonic meditations, movement, and dream exercises all working together in a spirit of community, play and being here now. No experience or skills required! (more info on the idea here). This will be the first in a series of six classes (not all hosted at ACZC - no continuing commitment required for the curious).
But! Looking ahead, we got some big wild things to look forward to what with ACZC’s first ever Hossenshiki Dharma Combat coming up, and we just wanted to make sure you had the schedule of events so you can join in for the fun. All of these events should be hosted on our ACZC zoom channel, but if that changes for any reason, especially the events at Sozenji temple, we’ll let you know.
And what is Dharma Combat, you ask?? Good question! We’re still kinda figuring that out too, but traditionally it’s a slightly theatrical, somewhat bombastic, ancient ceremony of putting a head monk through the ringer - select sangha members challenge their dharma knowhow, while our head monk (this season: Dave Cuomo) has to fend off all challengers and prove he’s learned at least something with all that training we’ve been footing the bill for. Kind of like a Zen Thesis Defense with more shouting and chanting… And this season our favorite supporting teacher Gyokei Yokoyama will be hosting as Hodoshi for his first time (everyone gets a promotion)! The plan is to hold a traditional Sotoshu version of the event at Gyokei’s temple, Sozenji, and then follow that up with your ACZC sangha doing our own version the next evening here at ACZC so that more of us can participate and attend. We will then follow that up the next weekend with a commuter retreat here at ACZC to celebrate. So, all that said, here’s the schedule of events for that weekend (All are invited to all events!):
- Saturday 2/24, 4pm at Sozenji Temple (3020 W Beverly Blvd, Montebello, CA 90640):
Honsoku Haiyaku Gyocha - Hossenshiki roles will be formally announced and Akiba Roshi, Bishop of Sotoshu North America, will give a talk on the koan Dave selected for the Dharma Combat.
- Sunday 2/25, 10am at Sozenji Temple:
Formal Hossenshiki Dharma Combat - with Gyokei presiding, Dave defending, and priests from around California challenging Dave.
- Monday 2/26, 7:30pm at ACZC:
ACZC’s first ever Dharma Combat with Gyokei presiding, Dave defending, and your sangha friends doing the questioning.
- Friday 3/1 - Sunday 3/3 at ACZC:
Spring Commuter Retreat right here in the city for easy attendance by all, which you are welcome to attend in person, on zoom, or in whatever sort of hybrid of those you would like. Offered on a sliding scale based on your own expected attendance and what you can afford. Registration and more info here!
But speaking of getting a little wacky with our wisdom, this week on the podcast we are very excited to bring you A Subtle Sober Magic (Zazen) w/ Gyokei Yokoyama. Gyokei gives us fully fleshed out, bare bones explanations and instructions for zazen - body, breath, and mind. How does it work? How much should it hurt? Are Westerners doing it right? Is Japan doing it right?? Is Gyokei doing it enough? And did the monastery permanently screw up his zazen?? 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:
When Yangshan was first ordained, he went to thank his teacher Zhongyi. While they were talking Yangshan asked, “How can we see our true nature?”
Zhongyi said, “Imagine there’s a room with six windows and a monkey inside. Then someone outside calls out ‘Hey Monkey!’ The monkey immediately responds. And just like that, the six windows all call out and all respond.”
Yangshan bowed and thanked Zhongyi saying, “Thank you so much! I get it now. But wait, one more thing, what if the monkey inside is asleep but the one outside wants to meet? How will they meet??”
Zhongyi got down from his seat, grasped Yangshan by the hands, danced around and said, “My dear Monkey, at last we meet! - like an aphid nesting on the eyelash of a mosquito calling out at the crossroads, ‘The world is vast and people are few, to meet is rare indeed!’”
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 - 2/10, 10am - 12:30pm
Yoga, Sit, & Disucssion w/ Nina Snow - 2nd Saturday of the month means one hour of yoga with Nina Snow followed by a half hour of that sweet sweet zazen, then a little warm and welcoming discussion (and kava java(™)!) with Nina herself. See y’all there!
Monday - 2/12, 7:30pm - 9pm
Sit & Discussion w/ Heather Ross - One half hour of zazen and then Heather returns to open the pandora’s box of self discovery - aka what do we do when all the things we’ve been hiding from ourselves become all too apparent in zazen? Let’s find out.
Wednesday - 2/14, 7:30pm - 9pm (Zoom Only)
Sit & Koan Discussion w/ Leon Sandler - Calm down, Monkey! A young monk wants to know what’s up, while his kindly old teacher wants to cut a rug. But are they going to regret waking that monkey up?? Let’s discuss.
Thursday - 2/15 at 7pm - 8:30pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - And Nina is back for an evening of winding down while waking up with one hour of Slow Flow Zen Yoga, followed by one half hour of sweet sweet zazen. We’ll see y’all there.
Friday Early - 2/16 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 - 2/16 at 8am
Chanting & Zen Breakfast - This week! We chant the Heart Sutra in English followed by Hongzhi & Dogen’s great tag team of truth - Guidance for Zazen. 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!