ACZC Happenings, 9/17 - 9/23
“Don't try to improve at all. Just try to understand what a nut you are. Be patient with it. Marvel at it; ‘What a dummy I am, it’s unbelievable that I still do this, and it's perfect the way I do it because I've been conditioned so perfectly, so exquisitely. My mother and father were so perfect in making me as neurotic as I am.’” - Norman Fischer
ZEN CENTER HAPPENINGS - WEEK OF 9/17 - 9/23
Speaking of quietly momentous moments, as we finished up the last of the Shinji Shobogenzo’s 300 koans last week (in a lovely discussion as always), we did the math on what 300 weeks of koan nights means and realized that this week also marks the Sixth Anniversary of ACZC’s existence as a Zen Center! So hey, happy anniversary to all of you, our true center and sangha. On Zen timescales we are barely yet born, but down here on the human level it’s a lot to be grateful for. As Dogen sort of almost once said, it’s been a dream within a dream come true. And it’s all thanks to you! Y’all are the best, and I for one couldn’t think of a better fate than getting to sit with you for at least six kalpas more. See y’all there.
And if you’re looking for ways to celebrate and sink into great thunderclaps of silence, registration for our Fall Mount Baldy Retreat is now up! (November 11th - 14th). Three nights and four days of sweet sweet zazen, yoga, delicious food, good community, sweet silence, deep dharma talks, and so much more that, like most things around here, does not like to be confined to words. Registration and info is posted up here, and Zoom option is available. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions at all.
But if that sounds like too long to wait to jump into some community gathering opportunities this weekend on Saturday (9/17) at 1pm we have the Zen Writing Workshop and then Sunday (9/18) at 5:30pm we have the Gather Vegetarian Potluck (details for both below). And then next weekend on Sunday 9/25 at 7pm we have the return of Salon 17 where this month Danny will sit us down for a serious talk about Time Travel (off site! 1922 Baxter St, 90026. All are welcome!). Whoa.
Also! Long time sangha friend Matthew Sherling recently hosted our own Dave Cuomo on his fantastic podcast, The Infinite Weird, to talk Zen history, personal spiritual biography, and the joys of being one individual in an infinite inseparable sea. Check out the episode “The Ghost, the Host, & the Dust” here!
But hey, speaking of shushing the void that shouts a shush right back, this week on the podcast we are very pleased to bring you Dave Cuomo with “Thunderous Silence” (Vimalakirti Ch 9 - Non Duality). Birth & death, blame or blessings, life or liberation?? In this epic stand alone chapter of the Vimalakirti Sutra, Dave takes us on a walk through Non Duality in Buddhism, as poetically described by the great Bodhisattvas (with a little commentary help from the also great Norman Fischer). Is everything really all one? What does it even mean to say that? Can us puny mortals experience such a thing? Is Non Duality just another heady philosophical wormhole or is there something to it that can actually transform our lives in this mundane workaday world we all know and love? 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, 9/17 at 10am
Sit & Discussion w/ Erik Andersen - Our biggest day of the week! Two half hour rounds of zazen and then Erik takes the hot seat to regale us with the wild wisdom of Wangsong’s Book of Serenity. And of course whatever else happens to be on Erik’s mind. Which, if history is any indicator, is always an equally entertaining and enlightening time. We’ll see y'all there.
Saturday, 9/17 at 1 pm
Zen Writing Workshop - Join us for a little poetry and play designed to awaken the inner artist in all of us. All (including no) experience levels welcome, no pre-written work required, no judgements allowed: it’s a self contained afternoon of zazen, free writing, personal reflections, and on the spot found poetry waiting to be plucked from the air in front of our eyes. We can't wait to hear what you have to say.
Sunday, 9/18 at 5:30 pm
Gather Vegetarian Potluck - Cook up (or round up) your favorite dish and join us for a little low key community dinner. All are welcome! Email us here to let us know you’re coming and what you might be bringing.
Monday 9/19 at 7:30pm
Sit & Talk w/ Leon Sandler - One half hour of zazen and then our long time friend and sangha mate Leon takes the hot seat for ‘Into the Dharma Verse’ a bit of a meta deep dive into the opening dharma verse we chant before talks (with a little help from the expert commentary of Okumura Roshi). Why is this human birth so precious? Are we pronouncing Tathagata right, and what is it supposed to mean? Will this talk be as unsurpassed and perfect as advertised?? (Guaranteed!) Let’s discuss.
Wednesday 9/21 at 7:30pm (Zoom Only)
Koan Night - This week! We enter a brave new Buddha World with Case 1 of The Book of Serenity. Manjushri bangs us in with a gavel and announces the arrival of the Dharma King. The Buddha himself takes the high seat and… what will we see?? What will he say? How will we respond??? Let’s find out.
Thursday, 9/23 at 7pm (Zoom Only)
Yoga & Zazen w/ Nina Snow - Nina returns for one hour of that zazen in motion we call Slow Flow Zen Yoga, followed by one half hour of that one posture perfect yoga we call zazen. See y’all there!
Friday, 9/24 at 8am
Heart Sutra Chanting Service - This week in thanks and homage to everyone who not only kept the Zen alive for the last 1000 years, but then were kind and motivated enough to bring it to our shores, we will be chanting the Heart Sutra in traditional Japanese followed by the Daihishin Dharani (no Japanese speaking skill required…) 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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