Zen 101

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Websites

With respect


Good Morning Everyone,



Our two websites are now fully operational with the sole exception of the visitor blog option on the Engaged Zen site. We have additional content and graphics to add on each site,including an audio file of Matsuoka-roshi chanting the Hanya Shin Gyo, but in the main, they are complete. We will post scrolling announcements on each site frequently. The websites contain our Newcomer's Handbook, Registration Forms, and By-Laws. Copies of the Heart Sutra, Hsin Hsin Ming, and Sandokai are there as well as commentary on the Ten Ox-Herding pictures. These websites are well worth your viewing and we would very much like your feedback.



Click here: http://clearmindzen.org

and here: http://daihoroshi.org



Be well.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gratitude

With respect,


Good Morning All,



Student Jeff and I worked on the new site until late in the night. In fact, I am writing this at 1:00 AM. I just came in from a break where I sat out on the patio under the stars. It is 53 degrees under a starry night. I thought about the work we are doing.



The site has an enormous amount of information, from how we do things in the Order to pages about our Japanese founder, Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka. Jeff has worked tirelessly with and without me. We are in his debt.



During all of this I found out my son’s wife is pregnant again and, as a result, they may be moving back to New Mexico where he will likely need to establish another restaurant. And PayPal decided to request an enormous amount of documentation regarding our Non-Profit Organization. I have been working on scanning docs, editing and writing pages of text, and with Rev. Soku Shin’s able assistance, we are on the bright side of night.



None of us can accomplish things alone. The Order of Clear Mind Zen, while founded by me, is not me. It is everyone who enters the doors of its Zendos, who practices on the street, in the prisons, and in hospice. I am very pleased with our development as a Sangha. While we are small, we are a dynamic group.



My thanks to Rev. Kankin for driving up this evening from El Paso with his students, Shikan and Rob, to sit in with us to study the Genjo Koan. It is very good to have the company of sangha,.



Some of us are alone, like Ron Mitsugo Zacharski, in Virginia, who sits by himself and practices nearly monthly weekend retreats with a group from a different tradition. Others practice with little assistance from us, like Rev. John Shoji Sorenson, in California who travels great distances in his Buddhist Chaplaincy Program and every other week or so enters Folsom Prison to bring the dharma to the incarcerated.



Yes, I am pleased. We might be small, but we are walking the walk. This is a very good thing.



Monday, February 27, 2012

On Renunciation or the Lack of It

With respect,


Good Evening All,

Renunciation is a simple word, but in truth, quite terrifying. So much so that every religion known to have used it as its foundation for arising, has redefined it: Abraham taught it, Moses taught it, Buddha and Lao Tzu taught it, and Jesus and Mohammed taught it. Yet, here we are in a world filled with greed and avarice, with one religion after another competing for our dollars and our desires. Panderers all, I fear.



There are seven deadly sins according to Christian theology. What are they? Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Acedia (apathy, inaction), Wrath, Envy, Pride, and Vainglory (vanity). In Buddhism we have the Three Poisons: Greed, Hatred, and Delusion. In Judaism Solomon says there are seven things the Lord dislikes: pride, lying, murder, a heart that plots evil, feet that are “swift,” a deceitful witness, and someone who sows discord in a community.



What do you know? How are we doing? It’s not so bad. While we are a nation of lustful, overweight, angry and hateful people willing to wage war at the drop of a pin, and willing to double-talk our way out of pretty much anything. We smile. And if we are a people who sit all day long, then lounge in Lazy Boys at night falling asleep with beer and popcorn, well, we deserve it, right? I am not so sure. And even if we did, so what?



All of us, including myself, have excuses. We worry, we are afraid, we need this, we need that, and some of us just can’t live without that 900 inch color TV. Right.



We in the Clergy have been woefully inadequate or downright bad. We have not made America uncomfortable. In fact, we have done little to nothing to raise awareness, kick butt, and get people on the right track. Buddhist magazines are all smiles, slick and glossy and extremely expensive. One wonders who and what they need such sophistication, color, smiley faces, and pricey paper for: No Mother Earth news, no newsprint, no black and white, just plain slick. Zen Centers are no better, at least the Big Dynamic, We Are It centers with polished hardwood floors, mega gold statuary, and brocade dripping monks. There centers often boast teaching staffs that rival universities, and tuitions that, well, let’s just say, I am hard-pressed to afford a weekend, let alone a week’s sesshin.



Just where is that kyosaku when we need it?



Renunciation, the true Buddha Way, has us leaving what we know. It has us living with just enough, sharing, and walking the Middle way. American Express, I think, claims you cannot leave home without it. I claim, you cannot leave home with it. If you are stepping onto the path of the Bodhisattva, your path is the way of renunciation. Our path is the path of the uncomfortable, friends. So, I need to ask myself, “Do I really need that new this or that?” “ Can I still make my 18 year old car run? “ “What if I rode my bike more often?” Heavens, with gasoline hitting the $3.50 a gallon mark here in Las Cruces today, perhaps I should.



Be Free.

Morning Update

With respect,


Good Morning All,



This evening we will begin in earnest our study of Master Dogen’s Genjo Koan. Please consider joining us for this very important study. The Genjo Koan was Master Dogen’s most clear, yet challenging, statement regarding Zen as a complete way of life. If you have the text, “Realizing the Genjo Koan” please have read Chapters One and Two. Also, you should have read through the entire piece as presented in the text, as well as in the handout offered last week. I have copies of the handout at the Temple.



Our new website is progressing. We had a few minor server setbacks and our webmaster, Jeffery, had to take a break to move a piano, but otherwise we are on the fast track to completion of the essential site and its content. Please forward to us any websites you feel would be helpful to link to.



With one pending registration, our Zazenkai Zendo seating limit has been reached. If you are not registered, but think you would like to come, you must contact Rev Soku Shin by Tuesday. Her email is jiisha2abbot@gmail.com. We have two spaces in the foyer available.



We hope to see you soon

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Street Zen and Website Updates

With Respect,




Yesterday's Street Zen Practice at the Farmer's Market was quite wonderful. Thank you, Shikan and Rob for driving all the way from El Paso to join us! Thank you, John, for not only setting this event up, but also for creating those wonderful brochures that went like hotcakes as we sat Zazen in the open air.



We collected seven dollars in donations, enough for a new box of incense! But most importantly, we practiced together in an open space and offered a practice opportunity to the community! Good job!



Our new CMZ website is up, but still being revamped. We have decided to make it the Order of Clear Mind Zen's Home Page with a drop down menu for the Zendo. This just make a lot more sense.



We will be adding an open blog forum to the Engaged Zen Site so members may post their practice notes, questions, and (perhaps) notes about Zen itself. This should be operational soon. There will be a link to it on the CMZ page as well so people will not need to navigate between sites.



I am asking now for your assistance: If you have any Zen website links that you especially like or think are helpful, please send them to me. Also, please visit both sites as often as possible. Traffic to the sites raises the sites exposure on serch engines and makes it easier, then, for people to find us in searches.



Rev. Soku Shin and I will be heading down to our El Paso Sangha after Zazen this morning for their sangha potluck. We are looking forward to visiting with them.



Be well.

Friday, February 24, 2012

When All is One

With respect,




I woke this morning with these two thoughts sitting side by side. "When all is one, one ceases to exist." "You cannot kill that which was never born." We have been studying two foundational texts, my students and I, the Genjo Koan by Master Dogen, and the Diamond Sutra by the Buddha. Week after week for some years now, these and other teachings have been at my side, in my heart, and in my mind's eye. My practice guides my understanding of them and they guide my practice.



My sense is that the two thoughts I had when waking are invitations to living without fear. What I mean by that is this. Most of the time we live with a partially opened eye gazing toward the thoughts and feelings of others, especially as to how we are behaving. Are we behaving in socially acceptable ways? Moreover, when we see an injustice, we often hesitate to get involved due to a fear that to engage the injustice will somehow threaten us. To live like this is to live in a dualistic view, separating ourselves from Ourselves. As we practice we come to know that this separation is a fiction established by the function of our brain. We are not at all separate. We are We, not me, not you. Even further, when we are We, We ceases to have a reality and it is in this view, we see there is nothing to fear. We may engage an attacker without fear that our attacker's sword will cut off our head. Why? Because there is no sword, no head, no attacker and no attacked. All of these are manifestations of dualistic thinking.



When we are One we are free of the One and the Many. We cease. The Many ceases. What is left? We sip our coffee. We speak kindly. We embrace our lives and everything that arises. And when something arises that threatens life, we engage it in a way that will transform it. That which was never born cannot be killed, so what is there to fear?



As Ghandi said, "You may kill me, but all you will have is my dead body." When we let go of our attachments all things are possible because we are free to be bodhisattva warriors.



Tomorrow we will practice street Zen, bearing witness for peace, at 9:00 AM at the Farmer's Market in the downtown mall near the COAS bookstore. Please consider joining us.



Be well.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Invitation

With respect,


Good Morning All,



This morning I would like to invite anyone who, at 4:00 PM, can come to the Federal Building sidewalk on Church Street in Las Cruces, to practice street Zen with us. Bring a blanket, cushion and/or bench, a hat, water and sunscreen. Street Zen is an excellent practice. We simply sit and bear witness for serene reflection meditation which is peace at its deepest and most profoundly life changing manifestation.

We would like you to know that we have on-hand at our Zendo copies of our, “Newcomer Handbook.” These are guidelines for navigating the Zendo and our services there. We also have available copies of our “Retreat Guidelines,” and “Membership Frequently Asked Questions.” These documents will be available on our new Zendo website which is being constructed as we speak and are currently available on our new Engaged Zen" site at http://daihoroshi.org/. Your feedback is vitally important to us, so please, if you have a comment, thoughts or suggestions, please offer them to us. On our Engaged Zen site we have established a store which offers a booklet I wrote entitled “The Zen of Trauma.” You may get this booklet with a donation of $2.00. We will be adding other products such as t-shirts to this store as soon as we can get an agreement from our supplier.


Be well.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A few notes

With respect,


Good Evening Everyone,



We have experienced a few issues with the old CMZ website as a result of server problems. Student Jeffery and I will be revamping the CMZ site over the next 4-5 days. In the meantime we will put up a Temple Schedule with a contact email as a temporary fix. The Zendo schedule is on the Engaged Zen site, but you need to "roll over" the "Practice" button for a drawer to slide out. The Engaged Site is quite sophisticated with embedded videos, slide-out drawers on the menu, etc., and we will eventually have an interactive blog so people can post notes. The Clear Mind Zen site will focus on the Zendo, Zendo practice, ceremonials, etc. We will have pages addressing our forms, Zen applications to everyday life, and so on. I hope to have a copy of our "Shingi" (Standards for Preactice) on the site as a lock down, so that permission will need to be granted in order to access it. Only members will be able to do that.



In other matters, we will begin our study of Master Dogen's Genjo Koan tomorrow evening with a comparative translation handout. Before that, however, I would like us to take some time together to talk about where we are as an Order, Zendo, and Sangha. We will have several handouts in this regard. I am asking that if you plan to attend, that you have some ideas as to what you would like to see as Order projects.



If you have any questions, please forward them to me by return email so that I might consider how to best address them.



Lastly, we have Zazenkai coming on the 3rd. If you would like to attend, you must register with Rev. Soku Shin in advance with your donation. We have a few Oryoki sets in the Zendo for rent, if you do not have a set. We ask for a minimal $5.00 donation. This Zazenkai we will initiate a few changes to our Intensive Retreat guidelines. We will have a copy of those guidelines available tommorow.



I look forward to hearing from you.

In gassho,

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Revised Engaged Site

Our revised Engaged Site is now up.  It is still being "populated" with content, but the main features and design is there.

http://daihoroshi.org/

Be well.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Farmer's Market

With respect,


Good Morning Sangha,





I received an email from Student John Rivers indicating that he has secured a spot at the Farmer's Market for us to practice Street Zen one Saturday per month. The dates are:





· Sat., Feb. 25th



· Sat., Mar. 17th



· Sat., Apr. 14th







These are opportunities to offer to the public materials about our Zendo and our Engaged Practice, while at the same time, demostrating the practice of Zazen. We will meet in front of the COAS bookstore, as our spot is near there, at 9:00 AM. Please bring a cushion and blanket, as well as water, sunscreen and hat. We will have handouts prepared for distribution to those who request them. We will also position our Zendo dana bowl in front of us.



While this is an opportunity to share something about Zen, it is also an opportunity to share something about those projects and organizations we work with. I will try to get some Peace Village materials. I am asking Rev. Dai Shugyo to pick up some materials from Mesilla Valley Hospice. I hope one of our Order Friends, Rev. Dalene, will share materials from Ambercare Hospice. Our new Member, Student John Rivers, works with "Take Back the Night" so perhaps he will be able to bring materials from that organization. If any of you have "causes" you are working with and have access to materials, please bring them (or give them to either myself or John Rivers).



We are excited about these opportunities. Please consider joining us.

Yours,

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On the Street

With respect,

This afternoon we will practice serene reflection meditation on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Building in downtown Las Cruces, NM.Street practice is a marvelously liberating practice: just yourself and your cushion under the bright, open sky.  As I sit there I occasionally have the thought arise that this is exactly what the Buddha himself did.  All of his thoughts, fears, and dreams come to mind.  People walked past him as he practiced.  Maybe they spoke to him, maybe not.  Some friendly, some not.  Perhaps he even had encounters with town authorities as he stood begging for food or addressed the social concerns of his day.  Just so, me and you. Yes, its true.  Buddha is none other than Everyman. Because this is so, as we sit, stand, walk, or lay down, we are experiencing exactly the same world as Buddha did.  The face of that world may appear differently, but its true nature is the same.  So, as we sip our morning coffee, run to the bathroom, or eat out toast, please do so with a  mind as open as the sky and consider doing what you can do to make our world a better place.

Be well. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Street Zen

With respect,




This afternoon I will take a blanket and zafu and sit down on the sidewalk in front of the Federal Building in Las Cruces at 4:00 PM. This sitting is not just sitting, but is the practice of serene reflection as was done in the ancient times when monks walked, stood, sat, and taught only in public spaces. We call this practice today "street Zen" and we use it to bear witness for peace and serenity.



It is a fast and mindless life most of us live today. We live without real connection to our world, the actual world of the natural phases of the sun and processes of our world's plant and animal life. We become annoyed easily, frustrated, angry, and willing to not actually see the person in front of us, but rather, we see what they represent to us: a help, a hindrance, a friend, or a foe.



Our world is at war on many fronts: political, social, religious, and cultural. We easily use the overt violence of weapons or the covert violence of intimidation and manipulation to get what we want or need, but in the process do not realize what we are doing dismisses, disregards, or injures the person in front of us. It is time to make peace by practicing peace.



Our street practice invites both ourselves and others to stop, sit down, and look deeply. Zazen is a marvelous practice. Serene reflection meditation is a powerful image for our times. Consider establishing such a practice. Please write to me for details.



In gassho,



Daiho

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Occupy Zen

Street practice has been a hallmark of engaged Zen since the time of the Buddha himself. Sitting calmly, bearing witness to the suffering of the world, we invite awareness to arise. The “Occupy” movement has caught the imagination of many. With a diverse and disparate agenda, occupiers often simply bear witness.




Our mission at the Order of Clear Mind Zen is to bear witness to suffering especially as regards violence. Violence occurs on many levels and takes many forms. It is not simply the act of striking another with a fist or shooting someone with a firearm. Violence includes assault to the spirit, the heart, and the esteem of another. Our world is on the threshold of recognizing such violence must cease and that to end it we must practice mutual respect, inclusivity, and support. We begin this process with practices that bring about awareness. The next step is modeling practices that demonstrate acceptance, serenity, and the courage of vulnerability. These are the heart of street practice. They are Occupy Zen.



If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at harveyhilbert@yahoo.com



Be well.



Thursday, February 02, 2012

Bodhisattvas

With respect,


An elderly man came upon the stage last night at the Cattleman’s. Shaky and unsure of himself, as he was just learning to play his guitar, he began to strum. Straining to see his sheet music in the stage lighting, he lost his place several times, tweaked a string or two, and started over two or three times. The elder was clearly on the verge of tears.

Just then the organizer, who acted as stage manager, bolted out of his seat, grabbed his guitar out of its case, and nearly flew to the stage positioning himself behind the elder. The two finished the piece together. Then just as quickly, the organizer left the stage asking for a round of applause from the back. Bodhisattvas don’t think; they do.



Be well

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

February 1

With palms together


Good Morning Everyone,



Today is the last day of Soku Shin’s retreat at Upaya in Sante Few. She did very well, braving sub-freezing temperatures and seven days of intensive seated practice. She will be finished at 3:00 PM, but will stay the night in Albuquerque in order to visit a family member.

Intensive retreats are a foundation of our Zen practice. They are critical to our development, adding stamina and deep strength to our practice. Please consider joining us at our coming Zazenkai on Saturday the 4th from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Below is our schedule. You may enter and leave as necessary.

This afternoon at 4:00 PM I will practice Street Zen at the Federal Building in Las Cruces. You are welcome to join me. Bring your cushion and bear witness.

_____

Zazenkai Schedule

08:00-09:00 Zazen 2@25

09:00-10:00 Break/Samu

10:00 - 11:30 Opening Ceremony, Sanpai, Robe Verse, Verse of Atonement, Three Refuges, the Heart Sutra, Tea Service, Teisho, Zazen 3@25

11:30-12:00 Samu/Break

12:00-1:00 Lunch (Oryoki)

1:00-2:00 Study

2:00-3:30 Zazen 3@25

3:30-3:45 Closing Ceremonies: Hanya Shin Gyo, Four Vows, Incense Offering, Fueko

3:45- 4:00 Prep for Meeting

4:00- 6:00 Priest’s Meeting

_______

Be well