Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Day of Zen August 19, 2017

Dearest Sangha, 

I am happy to announce our first Day of Zen Retreat, which will be held Saturday, August 19. The day will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 4:30. I will send a full outline of the schedule in the coming weeks. The retreat is an opportunity to deepen your Zen practice through longer meditation time, shared meals, and one-on-one instruction. We will be introducing new elements to the Zen experience at Monju-do, including: 

-Intensive zazen practice 
-Traditional Monastic breakfast (genmai) and vegetarian lunch
-Ceremony/chanting practice (and training for those interested)
-Samu (mindful work practice)
-Yoga for Meditators

Zen retreats (called Sesshin) are incredibly important for the life and health of our Zen group. The word sesshin means "to touch the mind." In a powerful way, the day long experience of sesshin transforms individual practice and community life in an intensive, though natural way. The time practitioners spend with one another breathes life into the spaces of practice (the dojo). It sanctifies the practice space and solidifies the individual practitioner's resolve to practice because there are others present to share the "one mind" of zazen. During sesshin/retreat, more than any other time, the experience of being one with the cosmic order of reality occurs in shared zazen. In an intensely personal (though shared) way, sesshin is a time when zazen does the teaching and provides the motivation to further pursue the infinite merits of zazen practice. 

The minimum donation is $35 to cover building costs and food.

*** We ask that you please let us know that you can attend by August 15. No matter what, no one will be the turned down, but we do need to know to account for the cost of food and proper planning.
Sign up by replying to this email monjuzenbk@gmail.com 

*** We also ask if anyone is interested in chanting/ceremony training or Dharma instruction to please be in touch with me at hokyu.bodhi@gmail.com

Beginners are welcome, so spread the word. We hope to see you there! 

Below you will find some food for thought regarding preparation for the retreat:

Reflection by a Zen master about Sesshin/retreat: Our Time Together- Kusen by Robert Livingston Roshi

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

With hands palm to palm, 

Malik Hokyu
Lead Monk

Being Human is a Team Sport

(courtesy:  blas from https://leakeyfoundation.org/about/)

Malik is down in New Orleans for the Summer sesshin this weekend.  We'll be meeting today at 4:30 as usual, holding up the room as the folks in New Orleans complete their 4 day retreat.  

If you're interested in longer sessions, be on the look-out for an email from Malik regarding our first day-long sit, scheduled for Saturday August 19th.  More on that later.  
Wanted to mention briefly a podcast/project I think may be of interest to everyone and how it applies to our practice, and our community. 
Douglas Rushkoff author, early internet utopian, New Yorker has started a project called Team Human.  In Douglas' own words:

being human is a team sport. We cannot be fully human, alone. Anything that brings us together fosters our humanity. Likewise, anything that separates us makes us less human, and less able to exercise our will.
In the most recent episode of the podcast, Douglas speaks with his old friend Walter Kirn as they discuss 'disempowering technologies' and humans training their replacements. 
How does this apply to zazen?  Our modern world doesn't run at a human speed, it operates at a clip and we're told we're supposed to keep up.  We're told to adapt to the pace, against our instinct, not questioning how it got this way in the first place. 
Zazen allows a correction to the narrative, the schedule.  To take back time. To sit, detached from distractions, in our natural human state, for any amount we can - seems passive, but it is a powerful thumb in the eye of the forces that hold influence on the rest of our waking hours.