Baby Come Back
ACZC Happenings, 9/2 - 9/8
“What was really liberating for me was finding out who I am when leaving or getting kicked out aren’t an option for anyone. When not I’m worried about my own survival or earning my place in the community, when you can't fire or get rid of people or really even get away from them…. It was like, oh hey, we're actually family now.” - Dave Cuomo
And a happy blue moon week to you all. Yes, we too were all a little bummed to find out it wasn’t literally blue, but it was a spectacular moon no less and a great way to herald in this month’s Full Moon Ceremony this Sunday (9/3) at 7pm where we get to chant out all our best intentions in the oldest and some say loveliest ceremony in Buddhism. But speaking of great opportunities to put a little singing in your stillness, tomorrow, Saturday (9/2) is the first Saturday of the month which means we get to celebrate September with a full half day of Zen in our monthly Half Day Sit 10am - 2pm, including two rounds of zazen, a short Well Being Service to send out some well wishes to all who need them, talk & tea with your friendly caretaker Dave, a short break for lunch (lunch provided for those joining in person), all followed up by two more rounds of sweet sweet zazen. As always feel free to come for as much or as little of the day as you’re able.
If anyone (who you know personally) is in need of some good health well wishes, you can add their names here (form at the bottom of the page) to have them included in this month’s Well Being Dedication.
And if spending some quality time quietly communing is your thing, don’t forget registration is up for our Fall Mount Baldy Retreat (November 10th - 13th (Friday - Monday)) and we would be delighted if you could join us for a few days of immersive practice and letting your cares fall away into the natural rhythms of a Zen filled day. All the info is up on the website and feel free to reach out with any questions you have, and we’ll look forward to seeing y’all up on the slopes!
But speaking of suddenly finding yourself right back in the heights of the great bright welcoming unknown, this week on the podcast we are very pleased to bring you Baby Come Back (The Three Returns) w/ Dave Cuomo. Dave gets down to brass tacks basics with a deep dive into the Triple Treasures, aka the Three Returns, aka Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Can we get meaning out of a religion that isn’t willing to give us anything to believe in? How much is too much practice for lay practitioners, and how little is too little? How do we handle troubling truths, tricky teachings, and problematic people in the sangha? Can we ever actually be alone, and can we ever truly meet anyone else?? Find out here!
Up now at http://aczc.org/aczcpodcast or on all your favorite podcast platforms!
And hey, here’s a koan of the week. We get a whole story this time:
When Dongshan was leaving Yunyan’s, Yunyan asked him, “Where are you going?” Dongshan said, “I know I’m leaving, but not where I’ll end up.”
Yunyan said, “You’re not going to Hunan?”
Dongshan said, “No.”
Yunyan said, “You’re not going home?”
Dongshan said, “No.”
Yunyan said, “Will you ever return?”
Dongshan said, “When you have a place to live I’ll return at once.”
Yunyan said, “It will be difficult to see each other now.”
Dongshan said, “It will be difficult not to see each other.”
Dongshan went on to ask, “Yunyan, if someone were ever to ask me what you were like, what should I tell them?”
Yunyan said, “Just tell them I was like this.”
Yunyan said, “Promise me you’ll handle this with care.”
Dongshan still had his doubts.
Later, when he was crossing a river, he saw his reflection and completely understood what Yunyan meant. He wrote a poem:
Don’t look for it in others,
or it will only fly further away.
I walk alone now
and meet it everywhere.
It’s just me,
I am not it.
It has to be understood like this,
this is the way to find harmony with suchness.
Some time later, he was making offerings to a likeness of Yunyan when a monk asked, “Didn’t your teacher say, ‘It’s only this’?”
Dongshan said, “Yes.”
The monk asked, “What did he mean?”
Dongshan said, “At the time I almost misunderstood his words.”
The monk said, “I don’t get it, did he even understand it?”
Dongshan said, “If he didn’t understand it, how could he have expressed it like that? But if he did understand it, how could he have let himself?”
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 - 9/2 at 10am
Half Day Sit w/ Dave Cuomo - Our biggest day of the month! Two half hour rounds of zazen, a little light chanting, talk & tea with Dave, a short break for lunch, all followed up with two more rounds of sitting around realizing the simple silence of what it’s all about. As always feel free to join for as much or as little of the day as you’re able. See y’all there.
Sunday - 9/3 at 7pm
Full Moon Ceremony - Join us for a short and sweet half hour of zazen before we open our throats and slough off our regrets with the lyrical and melodious Ryaku Fusatsu, where we chant our vows and remember why they were such good advice in the first place. Word on the street is there are some serious bangers in this one. All are welcome (no vows or precept commitment required)!
Monday - 9/3 at 7:30pm
Sit & Talk w/ Mota Mynttinen - Mota takes the hot seat with a special assignment: in the spirit of our ongoing Buddhist Basics focus this season, we asked him if he wouldn’t mind giving us an engaging talk on the 12 Fold Chain of Dependent Origination. No big deal. No pressure. But it just might be the key to everything (in all its inelegant glory) and luckily Mota’s here to guide us through this wheel of suffering like it’s a ferris wheel of earthly delights. Join us!
Wednesday - 9/5 at 7:30pm (Zoom Only)
Sit & Koan Discussion w/ Corey Warner - This week! Dongshan has a nice moment by a river and a confused monk misquotes his grand teacher to coin a phrase that will inspire and beguile us for a thousand years (and counting!). It’s the most worthy thing one could choose to study, and possibly the only thing one might study - only this. Let’s discuss!
Thursday - 9/6 at 7pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - And Nina returns for one full hour of yoga plus one half hour of zazen to wind down our weeks, open up those limbs, and prepare us perfectly for all that still still dancing we get to do in our seats. We’ll see y’all there.
Friday - 9/7 at 8am
Chanting & Zen Breakfast - This week! We chant the Heart Sutra in English followed by Shitou’s harmonious ode to the darkness inside that just wants to shine like a light, The Harmony of Difference and Equality. Poetry for the ages! And then stick around for ACZC’s own hot take on traditional Zen breakfast (fresh 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!