ACZC happenings, 5/20 - 5/26
“Sometimes I would sit there and focus on one plant and give it good intentions and try to feel whatever it was going through, like a nurse, like a plant nurse. Other times I would step back and feel like the whole garden was one thing. To me it represented this whole enterprise of zen, that we have to take care of it and nurture it just like you would a garden.” - Helena Harvilicz
The breaking news this week is that the writer of this here missive had a brief conversation with our caretaker Dave this week! (For those not aware, he has been in Japan for ango at Sōji-ji since early April.) The headlines? He’s doing great, he misses us terribly, monastic life is challenging, and he feels more like himself than he has in years. He also mentioned something about making his own juggling clubs and sneaking out to a cemetery before dawn. So! Make of that what you will. We can’t wait for his talks when he gets back to see what he makes of it.
And speaking of making stuff, this week on the podcast we have Blooming Buddhas (Zen Gardening) w/ Helena Harvilicz.
Crowd favorite Helena returns with all the dharma she dug up in her time as ACZC’s gardener, along with some words of wisdom from Dogen’s “Insentient Preach the Dharma.” Are our plants and inanimate objects really whispering sweet truths to us like they did to Buddha under that tree? Is this a classic tale of setbacks in practice that lead to enlightening revelation? Or is it the story of a feeble-minded woman facing the horrors of old age and death who gets tricked into paying to do yard work by a somewhat boring cult (her words not ours…)?? Find out here!
Up now at http://aczc.org/aczcpodcast or on all your favorite podcast platforms!
Your koan for the week!
Case in point: Fengxue and the Single Speck of Dust
Fengxue said, “If a single speck of dust is allowed to exist, the nation will flourish while the villagers scowl and knit their brows.
If a single speck of dust is not allowed to exist, the nation will perish while the villagers all rest easy.
Seen in this light, everything is a teacher and the world is a monk.
Not seen in this light, monks are the teachers.
Although a teacher and a monk can enlighten the whole world, they can also blind the whole world. Do you want to know who the teacher and the monk are?”
He slapped his knees twice and said, “Here is the teacher and here is the monk.”
This Week in Zen! All times are in Pacific time zone and all sessions are hosted in person and on Zoom unless otherwise marked (email us for quick and easy Zoom access info):
Saturday - 5/20 at 10am
Yoga, Sit, & Discussion w/ Erik Andersen - We’ll sit two 30 minute rounds of zazen with a five minute walking meditation in the middle. After that, our favorite Zen nerd/practicing psychiatrist returns to the hotseat with a talk combining a reading from the Book of Serenity and what’s been bouncing around in his head lately. See you there.
Monday - 5/22 at 7:30pm
Sit & Talk w/ Mota Mynttinen - We’ll sit one half hour of zazen and then Mota is back to regale us with his latest and greatest musings on the dharma. Join us!
Wednesday - 5/24 at 7:30pm (Zoom Only)
Sit & Koan Discussion w/ Henry Zander - Looks like we’re doing kind of a ‘who’s on first’ bit this week. Who is the teacher, who is the monk, and what can be done about the speck of dust?? Let’s find out.
Thursday - 5/25 at 7pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - Nina leads us in our favorite wind down evening with one hour of beginner-friendly slow flow yoga, followed of course by one half hour of that sweet sweet zazen. We’ll see y’all there.
Friday - 5/26 at 8am
Heart Sutra Chanting Service - This week! We chant the Heart Sutra in English followed by Shitou’s wonderful Straw Hut Song. Poetry for the ages! See you there.
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!