ACZC Happenings, 10/28 - 11/3
“If we don’t let our mind and thoughts interfere with our actions, it creates a fluidity. It creates a seamlessness. But, that still leaves a deep question for me - yes, you can be perfectly fluid and smooth, but does that make you a kind person?
But kindness is a tricky word. It triggers us and makes us dwell in our thoughts, and that prevents our actions from being in accord with what needs to happen in a situation.
Actually, that's probably why I'm here. I’m still exploring this.” - Gyokei Yokoyama
And Happy Halloween everyone! And special thanks to Gyokei for giving our graphics department the perfect excuse to draw you the scariest Boo-ddha we could muster. And in the spirit of the season, there have been some behind the scenes discussions about how Oban, the traditional Japanese festival of the dead, is one of the biggest days of the year for Japanese Zen, and maybe if we were clever Westerners we could do something special like that with Halloween around here. Which sounds like a great idea that is still only half formed. But hey, we got another year to think about what that might mean. And if that intrigues you, we are now accepting applications to be on the 2024 ACZC Halloween Festival of the Dead Committee.
Also! Speaking of special days to celebrate, this Sunday at 7pm we’ll be celebrating the Full Moon with one half hour of zazen followed by the Ryan Fusatsu Full Moon Ceremony. Join us for the oldest (and some say most beautiful) ceremony in Buddhism as we chant out some atonements along with some good ideas for making ourselves and the world a better place.
And we are now just two weeks away from our Fall Retreat (November 10th - 13th at Mount Baldy Zen Center). To everyone who’s signed up, we can’t wait to see you and info packs we’ll be sent out in the morning. Can you still register this week if you haven’t already? Yes of course, we are happy to have you. But also, hey, get those registrations in or let us know you’re coming as soon as you can so we can get our final headcount and get this thing properly organized.
But speaking of the call of the great wild wise wafting to you through misty mountain passes, this week on the podcast we are very pleased to bring you Fierce Compassion (The Magic Hour) w/ Gyokei Yokoyama. Gyokei talks us through the spirit (and specifics) of… ‘Dhaaarmaaa Commbaaat!’, from the lion’s roar, to the three foot long venomous viper of truth, to how to wield the swift and silent sword of compassion ourselves. Can we learn to intuitively be what the moment needs without having to satisfy our own emotional appetites? Is compassion always kind? Is it ok to feel good when we sit?? And wait, why does Zen always get up so early and is that a hard and fast rule??? 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:
Yanyang asked Zhaozhou, “When we’re no longer carrying a single thing, what then?
Zhaozhou said, “Put it down.”
Yanyang said, “But if we're no longer carrying a single thing, what is there to put down?”
Zhaozhou said, “Then take it with you.”
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 - 10/28 at 10am
Sit & Talk w/ Emily Eslami - Our biggest day of the week! Two half hour rounds of zazen, one walking meditation in the middle, and then Emily Eslami takes the hot seat with another installment on her ever illuminating dive into Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. This month! “The Practice of One Thing.” Because hey, in our experience, that’s always been more than enough to keep us busy. We’ll see y’all there.
Sunday - 10/29 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. Rumor is there are some serious bangers in this one. All are welcome (no prior precept commitment required)!
Monday - 10/29 at 7:30pm
Sit & Talk w/ Sara Campbell - One half hour of zazen and then ACZC’s own resident emeritus joins us to talk about the Three Doors of Liberation (because you can never have just one) aka, emptiness, signlessness, and aimlessness. What the heck is signlessness, and more important, are these really the types of teachings that empower us to be our best assertive selves? Or does the negativism of Zen philosophy make a convenient doorway to hide behind with all our insecurities intact?? Why are they always telling us to shut up if we’re supposed to be warming up our vocal cords for our own lion’s roar?? Let’s find out.
Wednesday - 10/25 at 7:30pm (Zoom Only)
Sit & Koan Discussion - This week! Let’s talk about baggage. Can we really aspire to not have any? Can we put down the baggage we have?? And if we do, who’ll carry it for us?? Let’s discuss.
Thursday - 10/26 at 7pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - Nina returns to lead us in one hour of Slow Flow Zen Yoga perfectly designed to open up our hips and hearts to help make the following one half hour of zazen that much sweeter (and quite likely, a whole lot easier). Join us!
Friday - 10/27 at 8am
Chanting & Zen Breakfast - This week! We chant the Heart Sutra in English followed by Dogen and Hongzhi’s epic collaboration where they finally reveal the point of all this (hint fish swim like fish, birds fly like birds) - The Zazenshin. 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 persimmons! 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!