The Best of the Worst
ACZC Happenings, 9/10 - 9/16
“Maybe we think we're the best partner, the best parent, the best friend, the best Zen practitioner we could possibly be. But maybe that just means there are some flaws underneath we’re ignoring or purposely not looking at. While the person that’s very self critical, who thinks they're the worst partner, the worst parent, the worst friend, the worst Zen practitioner, might be the person constantly trying to improve - looking at their flaws and imperfections with clear eyes and constantly doing better…” - Emily Eslami
ZEN CENTER HAPPENINGS - WEEK OF 9/10 - 9/16
First, the big news (drumroll……) our Fall Mount Baldy Retreat is booked and registration is now up! As we hoped, it will be the weekend of November 11th - 14th (Friday 12pm - Monday 2pm). If you’re new to the center or this list, the retreats are where it all comes together - four days of silence, sitting, and community, plus yoga and discussions (including opportunities for one on one practice discussion) to help remind our bodies and minds what we’re doing here before we forget all about such concerns facing the wall. It wouldn’t be fair to say that Zen ever really makes sense, but after immersing yourself in the full version for a few days, it tends to not make so little. Registration and info is posted up here, yes there is a Zoom option for those who can’t make the trip, yes we organize carpool for everyone to get up the mountain, yes there are scholarship opportunities, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all. We look forward to seeing everyone up on the mountain!
Also! If you want to get in the mood for all the fun of Zen forms and remember what we do it all for, this Sunday at 7pm is the Full Moon Ceremony including one half hour of a perfect evening’s zazen followed by some of the loveliest chanting to be found in the Zen cannon - the Rayaku Fusatsu Repentance Ceremony where we chant the precepts along with some other good intentions to clean our collective karma of some of those pesky defilements that keep popping out of the woodwork and clinging on to us.
But hey, speaking of taking the time to find out that everything wrong is what makes everything right, this week on the podcast we are very pleased to bring you Emily Eslami with “The Worst Horse.” Is it possible to be good at this practice? It is possible to be good at life? Would we really be better off if we were?? Emily continues her deep dive into Shunryu Suzuki’s foundational “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” with the classic parable of the four horses of Zen - the best, the best of the worst, and all those in between. Which one are we? Why are these Zen masters always so excited about making mistakes? What’s so good about being bad?? Find out here!
Up now at http://aczc.org/aczcpodcast or on all your favorite podcast platforms
This Week in Zen! All sessions hosted in person and on Zoom unless otherwise marked (email us for quick and easy Zoom access info):
Saturday, 9/10 at 10am
Yoga, Sit, & Discussion w/ Nina Snow - 2nd Saturday means Nina is here with one hour of her patented brand of Slow Flow Zen Yoga™ (patent pending) to chill us out and limber up our limbs for one half hour of a perfect morning’s zazen. All experience levels welcome and encouraged. And then! Nina leads us in what is certain to be a warm and welcoming discussion. We’ll see y'all there.
Sunday, 7/10 at 7 pm
Full Moon Repentence Ceremony - One half hour of evening zazen followed by the oldest (and some say most beautiful) ceremony in Buddhism - The Rayaku Fusatsu, aka let’s chant the precepts and remember why they were such good advice in the first place. Join us!
Monday 9/12 at 7:30pm
Sit & Talk w/ Dave Cuomo - Dave take the hot seat to talk about burnout. Are our energies as inexhaustible as this “source” they’re always going on about? Does continuous practice allow for breaks now and then?? What motivates us to keep going, and what do we when the spirit is boundless but the body needs boundaries?? Let’s discuss.
Wednesday 9/14 at 7:30pm (Zoom Only)
Koan Night - This week! Y’all. Y’all. No, but seriously. This is it folks. The LAST KOAN IN THE BOOK. What does it all mean? What have been learning here for six years?? Linji wants to know if it’s sacred or mundane. So do we… Let’s find out!
Thursday, 9/15 at 7pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow- And Nina is back for a perfect wind down hour of yoga followed by a quick half hour sit to send us all to bed right. See y’all there.
Friday, 9/16 at 8am
Join us for the Heart Sutra Chanting Service! This week we chant the Heart Sutra in English and then we welcome a brand new piece to our ACZC cannon - Sengcan’s classic “Trusting the Mind.” As translated by the great Red Pine. Poetry for the ages! Come on out and lend us your voice.
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!
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