Embracing the Suck
ACZC Happenings, 12/23 - 12/29
“A person with cloudy eyes is a person of fundamental enlightenment, a person of subtle enlightenment.” - Dogen
Ok, so maybe that's not the most festive title/quote we could’ve gone with today, but hey, what is Zen if not rolling with the dharmas we’re given. Or maybe your holiday week is looking a little dicey for any number of potential reasons and it’s exactly the message you wanted to hear right now… Either way, happy freakin holidays! Whatever that means to you. And to celebrate, we got you flowers. In space!
But speaking of reasons to celebrate, a huge shout out and thank you to everyone who came out to help with our packing party last weekend. Not only did we knock out what we thought was days of work in just a few hours, but if we’re not mistaken, a good time was had by all. It may have even gotten a little silly. Y’all are just the best! And now it looks like we have a brand new year end tradition on our hands…
But ok, a couple of important bulletins for this week:
First, yes it is a holiday week and things are a little wonky, so be sure to check the schedule below for closures and special events, but the brief version is we have Full Moon Ceremony this Sunday 12/24, a Christmas morning sit at 7am, and we’ll be CLOSED Monday evening 12/25 to give our center staff a little holiday break.
Also yes! We will be hosting our annual New Year’s Eve Sit & Celebration (12/31, 8pm-12am) this year including the traditional ringing of 108 bells. And we’d be delighted to see you there.
Also! Today marked the first official day of our Winter Ango Period (12/22 - 3/15) with a brief installation ceremony led by our favorite supporting teacher Gyokei. And we’re even starting to figure out what that actually means. The two main themes for the ango are that it’s a time to buckle down and get a bit diligent on practice, so we have added a few things to the schedule for the season. And also the theme this year is that we’re promoting more a of a shared stewardship ideal for the center overall. And speaking of which, our favorite board president Sara has put together a little write up on the details. Here’s what she tells us:
We are adding a 5:00 am zazen on Fridays only. This will be offered in person and on Zoom.
I [Sara] will be leading a Book Club on Zoom once every two weeks to discuss Zen Seeds: 60 Essential Buddhist Teachings on Effort, Gratitude, and Happiness by Shundo Aoyama. We are planning to do this on Sundays at 3:00 pm PT beginning on 1/7, but if you would like to participate and you would prefer Tuesday at 7:00 PT, please reply and let us know! Right now there's a slight preference for Sunday but it could change down the road.
We will be hosting samu (work practice) at 6:00 pm Mondays and 9:00 am on Saturdays. No need to register, you can just show up to participate.
We’ll begin hosting the stewards committee meetings on Zoom at 8:00 pm after the monthly Full Moon Ceremonies starting on Sunday, 1/28. The intention of these is to begin to form some community leadership for the sangha so that we’re not relying entirely on any one person for everything. These are open to anyone for now, although may morph into a more official committee later.
All of these new events will be added to the ACZC calendar (thanks, Chris Arnett!), so you can go there anytime to see what's happening.
Finally, we are looking to fill out the schedule for bottom lining at ACZC in 2024. Many of you are familiar with the process, but basically the job is to open up shop and prepare the center for guests. You can sign up here to bottom line a sit, and we will train you if you haven’t done it before. Thanks to Tanya for overseeing this schedule!
So much happening and so much to look forward to! Happy holidays indeed.
But speaking of beautiful things proceeding swimmingly, this week on the podcast we are very pleased to bring you Embracing the Suck (Flowers in Space) w/ Jason Dodge. Jason dives into Dogen’s treatise on the flowery delights of delusion - ‘Space Flowers,’ while discussing the inspiration behind his recent benefit print for ACZC. Along the way we get a bonus peek behind the creative curtain and a constellation of poetic ponderings on the nature of what we see and whether or not we can accurately call that reality. Can we stop seeing delusions? Should we? And if not, what should we do with them? And will we ever wise up enough to be satisfied with the unsatisfying answers of Zen? 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. Short and sweet:
Case in Point:
A monk asked Shoushan, “What is Buddha?”
Shoushan said, “A new bride rides a donkey, while her mother in law holds the reins.”
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 - 12/23 at 10am - 12:30pm
Sit & Talk w/ Emily Eslami - Two rounds of sweet sweet zazen and then Emily returns to the hot seat with another thrilling installment of her fond look into Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind. Know it or not, it’s brand new every time… Join us!
Sunday - 12/24 at 7pm
Full Moon Ceremony - Like caroling, but, you know, Buddhist. 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. All are welcome (no prior precept commitment required)!
Monday Morning - 12/25 at 7am - 8am
Christmas Morning Sit - In what’s become an annual tradition around here, we will be hosting one hour of morning zazen for anyone who wants to kick off the holiday with a quiet celebration with your friends and/or get a little settled before whatever trouble you see yourself getting into. (In person and on zoom)
Monday Evening - 12/25 - CLOSED
Forgive our staff! But we’re giving them the evening off to do with what they will. Happy holidays!
Wednesday - 12/27 at 7:30pm - 9pm (Zoom Only)
Sit & Koan Discussion w/ Corey Warner - The world has turned upside down! Everything’s going backwards! Or so our commentaries tell us… Honestly we’re not 100% versed on the politics of donkey riding and in law relations in medieval China. But you know what? We can’t wait to find out. (No pressure, Corey…) Let’s discuss!
Thursday - 12/28 at 7pm - 8:30pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - Nina is back for one perfect hour of Slow Flow Zen Yoga to help us round our week and wind down the evening before a little sweet sweet zazen, (likely) followed by some super sweet dreams . We’ll see y’all there.
Friday Early - 12/29 at 5am
Early morning sit! Rise and shine y’all. Join us for the newest addition to our schedule with a little zazen before our zazen. Especially a good opportunity for those who work early, or 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 - 12/29 at 8am
Chanting & Zen Breakfast - This week! We chant the Heart Sutra in English and then rumor has it wooden men will sing, stone women might get up dancing, and herons will hide like Waldos in the moonlight. What is this garden of poetic delights?? It’s 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!