2021-07-18

Summer Week 5 & 6

Now meeting BOTH in person AND on zoom.

Join the BoWZ-Westchester Sangha on Saturday mornings:
(Times: US Eastern)
9:45-10:00 -- Informal conversation
10:00 -- Opening Dedication, Readings, Zazen, Kinhin, Zazen
11:00 -- Sutra Service
11:15 -- Dharma Talk and Conversation
12:00 -- Closing Readings

IN PERSON (only if you are fully vaccinated, please)
Room 43 at
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation
468 Rosedale Ave
White Plains, NY

ON ZOOM
https://zoom.us/j/2898507899
Audio Only: telephone 646-876-9923 & Enter Meeting ID: 289 850 7899

Passcode: 468468

Sat Jul 24: Practice to be led by Meredith Hotetsu Garmon

Zoom with Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, MA at any of these times:
Mon-Fri, 7-8am
Tue, Thu, Sun, 7-8pm
Zoom link: CLICK HERE

For Summer Week 5:
Mon Jul 19 - Sun Jul 25

Reading

for Sat Jul 24
  • Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness, "Ordinary or Special?" pp. 46-49.
Reading Schedule HERE

Week 5 Raven Tale

Week 5 Sutras

Dedication
  • For odd-numbered days, begins with Gatha of Atonement (AUDIO)
  • For even-numbered days, begins with The Three Refuges (AUDIO)
Opening Verse for 5th Fourweek (Mon Jul 12 - Sun Aug 8) (AUDIO)
  • The Five Remembrances, p. 4
Sutra Service for Week 5 (AUDIO)
  • The Compassionate Heart of Wisdom, p. 16
  • Harmony of Relative and Absolute, p. 17
  • Hakuin's Song of Zazen, p. 17
Closing Verse for 5th Fourweek (Mon Jul 12 - Sun Aug 8) (AUDIO)
  • The Way of Tenderness, p. 40
  • The Four Bodhisattva Vows, p. 42

For Summer Week 6:
Mon Jul 26 - Sun Aug 1

Reading

for Sat Jul 31
  • Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness, "Psychological versus Spiritual Insight," pp. 49-52.
Reading Schedule HERE

Week 6 Raven Tale

  • "Last Will and Testament"

Week 6 Sutras

Dedication
  • For odd-numbered days, begins with Gatha of Atonement (AUDIO)
  • For even-numbered days, begins with The Three Refuges (AUDIO)
Opening Verse for 5th Fourweek (Mon Jul 12 - Sun Aug 8) (AUDIO)
  • The Five Remembrances, p. 4
Sutra Service for Week 6.B. (AUDIO)
  • Hakuin's Great Doubt, p. 19
  • Guidance in Zazen, p. 20
Closing Verse for 5th Fourweek (Mon Jul 12 - Sun Aug 8) (AUDIO)
  • The Way of Tenderness, p. 40
  • The Four Bodhisattva Vows, p. 42

Upcoming

Next Boundless Way Sesshin

Thu Jul 29, 7:00pm through Mon Aug 2, 12:30pm
Online Practice periods include Zazen (seated meditation), kinhin (walking meditation), dharma talk, dharma dialogue, and dokusan (interview with teacher).
See the flyer HERE.
Register for the Sesshin HERE.

Sutra Book

For printing (double-columned pages):CLICK HERE. (Page references are to this double-column version.)

For reading on your computer screen (single-column pages):CLICK HERE.

Chant Along with these Audio Files: CLICK HERE.

Home Practice

Practicing every day, or nearly every day, is a crucial aspect of the Zen path. Other central aspects include sangha (meeting weekly or so to practice with a group), and sesshin (going on occasional week-end or week-long Zen retreats).

Home practice ideally includes Zazen, study of zen text (or listening to a recording or podcast of a dharma talk), and chanting/reciting some of Zen's central texts.

Recommended:
  • Sitting supplies: A zabuton (mat) and either a zafu (round cushion, usually of kapok or buckwheat hulls), or a seiza bench (kneeling bench); or a chair that is your meditation chair
  • A dedicated space: A corner of a room that is used only for Zen practice, where your sitting supplies and a small altar reside
  • An altar: a small table with a Buddha statue and maybe an incense holder, candle, or sacred items.
There are many ways to structure home practice. Here's one:
  • Light a candle, stick of incense, or both, on your altar.
  • Standing in front of altar, facing it, make three bows (prostrations or standing bows) to Buddha.
  • Recite "Gatha of Atonement" (odd-numbered dates) or "The Three Refuges" (even-numbered dates);
  • Recite Dedication and Opening Verse (see Sutra Book)
  • Zazen (25 mins)
  • Recite the Sutra Service Readings for the week (see Sutra Book)
  • Dharma Study time: reading a dharma book or listening to a dharma talk recording (15-30 mins). (Check out "A Quarterly Study Plan" on the Reading/Videos page.)
  • Recite Closing Verses (see Sutra Book)

Additional Practice Opportunities

White Plains Zen Center:
Tue evenings: 7:30 PM
https://zoom.us/j/122286388

Hudson River Zen Center:
http://hudsonriverzencenter.org/

Insight Meditation with Nina Nagy
Mon evenings: 6 PM
https://www.awakeabiding.com/

2021-07-05

Raven 179: Last Will and Testament

Case:
Mole and Woodpecker came together to see Raven one afternoon.
Mole said, "Woodpecker and I have been noticing that you're getting on in years, and wondering -- have you made your last will and testament?"
Raven said, "Thank you."
The three of them sat together silently for a while.
Then Woodpecker asked, "Looking back, is there anything you would like to have done differently?"
Raven said, "How could I?"
Mole asked, "Each time you decided which way to go. Are you sorry about any of those decisions?"
Raven said, "How could I?"

2021-06-28

Raven 178: Zazen for the Young Ones

One evening Badger asked, "Do you encourage the young ones to do zazen?"
Raven asked, "What happens when they see you sit down to practice?"
Badger said, "They go out to play."
Raven said, "Well?"
Badger said, "Maybe I can do something now, and later they will remember and take up the practice."
Raven said, "Bow."
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2021-06-21

Raven 177: Confidence

Zazen is the universal solvent. It's not that problems dissolve away in the sustained abiding in silence, but the problematicity of every problem dissolves.
Grouse came by one day for a private talk with Raven. She said, "My problem is that I have no confidence."
Raven said, "Aren't you quieter these days?"
Grouse said, "Yes. I guess I am."
Raven said, "There you go."
Grouse said, "I guess I can do it."
Raven said, "It's total silence that removes all doubt."
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2021-06-14

Raven 176: The Memorial Service

Death has to happen, and we have to mourn when it does. Do we need to blame? Sometimes it's functional. What about blaming (self or others) for blaming?
Badger's little daughter Furry was caught by Cougar and eaten. The Badger family went into mourning, and the community held a memorial service. Folks came forward and offered flowers at the altar and spoke. Cougar did not attend.
While folks were eating grubs and leavings after the service, Mole said to Badger, "I grieve at your loss, and I'm deeply upset with Cougar. To think that a member of our own community could do such a thing."
Badger said, "He didn't know. And I eat baby mice, after all."
Mole said, "Over at the Little Church in the Grotto they say the lion shall lie down with the lamb."
Raven sighed and said, "The raven, too."
Wolverine said, "I need my meat. I can't magine just eating grains and fruits like some of the birds around here."
Raven said, "Bushes and grasses are even slower."
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2021-06-07

Raven 175: Weird

Magpies -- and corvids generally, including ravens -- have a reputation for being attracted to shiny objects. It turns out that this reputation does not withstand empirical scrutiny. It isn't true.

Humans, however, are attracted to shiny objects. Is there a connection between that weird obsession and the diminishment of the Earth (foresters closing in)? If so, what does that mean for your practice?

Case
Mallard flew in one evening and reported, "Miners keep coming to Beaverdam to wash for gold. I think that's a pretty weird activity."
Raven said, "Magpies wouldn't think so."
Mallard said, "Magpies are weird."
Raven said, "The foresters are closing in, too."

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2021-05-31

Raven 174: Saved

"Beings are numberless; I vow to save them." What does this vow mean if some beings don't want to be saved? What if you yourself are among those who don't want to be saved?

Among other things, perhaps it means that the saving might want to be...how to say this?...gentle. Not covert, exactly, but not heavy-handed. Certainly, we don't "save" beings by enticing them to join our zen group. Generally.

Case
Woodpecker said, "We don't have a very big membership -- not like Stag Sensei's group. Their place is so crowded with folks that they're talking about enlarging it. What can we do to attract more members?"
Raven said, "The Blue Planet is only so big."
Woodpecker asked, "But what about our vow to save everybody?"
Raven said, "I don't want to be saved."

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2021-05-24

Raven 173: The Underlying Scheme

Why is Porcupine putting his question in the mouth of a hypothetical "student"? Why doesn't he just ask the question?

"Underlying scheme of things." Don't be silly. The scheme that underlies is the scheme that's right there on the surface. But tell me: is it the weather? Or is it idle chat about the weather?

Case
Porcupine, conferring with Raven privately, asked, "What if a student asks about the underlying scheme of things -- how would you respond?"
Raven said, "It's cooler tonight. It'll rain tomorrow."
Porcupine said, "Sometimes it rains after a hot spell."
Raven said, "We'll all take shelter with Mole and his family."

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2021-05-18

Spring Week 10 & 11

Now meeting BOTH in person AND on zoom.

Join the BoWZ-Westchester Sangha on Saturday mornings:
(Times: US Eastern)
9:45-10:00 -- Informal conversation
10:00 -- Opening Dedication, Readings, Zazen, Kinhin, Zazen
11:00 -- Sutra Service
11:15 -- Dharma Talk and Conversation
12:00 -- Closing Readings

IN PERSON (only if you are fully vaccinated, please)
Room 43 at
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation
468 Rosedale Ave
White Plains, NY

ON ZOOM
https://zoom.us/j/2898507899
Audio Only: telephone 646-876-9923 & Enter Meeting ID: 289 850 7899

Passcode: 468468

Sat May 29: Practice to be led by Meredith Hotetsu Garmon

Zoom with Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, MA at any of these times:
Mon-Fri, 7-8am
Tue, Thu, Sun, 7-8pm
Zoom link: CLICK HERE

For Spring Week 10:
Mon May 24 - Sun May 30

Reading

for Sat May 29
  • Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness, "What Is Meditation?" pp. 1-5.
Reading Schedule HERE

Week 10 Raven Tale

Week 10 Sutras

Dedication
  • For odd-numbered days, begins with Gatha of Atonement (AUDIO)
  • For even-numbered days, begins with The Three Refuges (AUDIO)
Opening Verse for Mon May 17 - Sun Jun 13 (3rd Fourweek)
  • Coming and Going, p. 4
Sutra Service for Week 10 (AUDIO)
  • Heart Sutra, p. 11
  • Shitou's Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage, p. 29
  • Torei's Bodhisattva's Vow, p. 29
Closing Verse for Mon May 17 - Sun Jun 13 (3rd Fourweek) (AUDIO)
  • The Necessity of Great Doubt, p. 39
  • The Four Bodhisattva Vows

For Spring Week 11:
Mon May 31 - Sun Jun 6

Reading

for Sat Jun 5
  • Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness, "Why Are We (Really) Meditating?" pp. 5-11
Reading Schedule HERE

Week 11 Raven Tale

Week 11 Sutras

Dedication
  • For odd-numbered days, begins with Gatha of Atonement (AUDIO)
  • For even-numbered days, begins with The Three Refuges (AUDIO)
Opening Verse for Mon May 17 - Sun Jun 13 (3rd Fourweek)
  • Coming and Going, p. 4
Sutra Service for Week 11.A. (AUDIO)
  • A Blessing for the Journey, p. 30
  • Guidance in Shikantaza, p. 30
  • Sending and Receiving, p. 31
Closing Verse for Mon May 17 - Sun Jun 13 (3rd Fourweek) (AUDIO)
  • The Necessity of Great Doubt, p. 39
  • The Four Bodhisattva Vows

Upcoming

Next Online Sesshin

Fri Jun 11, 7:00pm through Sun Jun 13, 12:30pm
Online Practice periods include Zazen (seated meditation), kinhin (walking meditation), dharma talk, dharma dialogue, and dokusan (interview with teacher).
Times of Online Practice:
7:00am-8:30am -- Sat, Sun
10:30am-12:30pm -- Sat, Sun
2:30pm-4:30pm -- Sat
7:00pm-8:30pm -- Fri, Sat

See the flyer for this event HERE.
To register, go HERE.

Sutra Book

For printing (double-columned pages):CLICK HERE. (Page references are to this double-column version.)

For reading on your computer screen (single-column pages):CLICK HERE.

Chant Along with these Audio Files: CLICK HERE.

Home Practice

Practicing every day, or nearly every day, is a crucial aspect of the Zen path. Other central aspects include sangha (meeting weekly or so to practice with a group), and sesshin (going on occasional week-end or week-long Zen retreats).

Home practice ideally includes Zazen, study of zen text (or listening to a recording or podcast of a dharma talk), and chanting/reciting some of Zen's central texts.

Recommended:
  • Sitting supplies: A zabuton (mat) and either a zafu (round cushion, usually of kapok or buckwheat hulls), or a seiza bench (kneeling bench); or a chair that is your meditation chair
  • A dedicated space: A corner of a room that is used only for Zen practice, where your sitting supplies and a small altar reside
  • An altar: a small table with a Buddha statue and maybe an incense holder, candle, or sacred items.
There are many ways to structure home practice. Here's one:
  • Light a candle, stick of incense, or both, on your altar.
  • Standing in front of altar, facing it, make three bows (prostrations or standing bows) to Buddha.
  • Recite "Gatha of Atonement" (odd-numbered dates) or "The Three Refuges" (even-numbered dates);
  • Recite Dedication and Opening Verse (see Sutra Book)
  • Zazen (25 mins)
  • Recite the Sutra Service Readings for the week (see Sutra Book)
  • Dharma Study time: reading a dharma book or listening to a dharma talk recording (15-30 mins). (Check out "A Quarterly Study Plan" on the Reading/Videos page.)
  • Recite Closing Verses (see Sutra Book)

Additional Practice Opportunities

White Plains Zen Center:
Tue evenings: 7:30 PM
https://zoom.us/j/122286388

Hudson River Zen Center:
http://hudsonriverzencenter.org/

Insight Meditation with Nina Nagy
Mon evenings: 6 PM
https://www.awakeabiding.com/

2021-05-17

Raven 172: What the Practice Teaches

We live in forgetfulness of what we know. Sati is a central teaching in Buddhism. This Pali word is typically translated into English as "mindfulness." While "present-moment mindfulness" is a key practice, sati also means remembering. ("Mindfulness" also has this meaning, as, for example, when we say "be mindful of the slippery steps." We're saying "remember that the steps are slippery," combined with "exercise present-moment care when you get to the steps.")

We live in forgetfulness of what we know. Practice tends to orient us toward more often living in remembrance of what we know. Like the fact that you're dying. Or the cup there on the table.

Case
Gray Wold dropped by again and asked, "What can the practice teach me?"
Raven said, "Whay you already know."
Gray Wolf asked, "What do I already know?"
Raven said, "You're dying."
Gray Wolf said, "I try not to think about it."
Raven said, "Not thinking about it is OK." Gray Wolf said, "But there it is."
Raven said, "There it is."
After a short silence, Woodpecker asked, "Isnt' there a moment of understanding that seems to change everything?"
Raven said, "Day to night."
Woodpecker asked, "What does that moment teach me?"
Raven said, "The Assembly Oak."
Woodpecker said, "But I knew about that before."
Raven said, "Like I said."

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2021-05-10

Raven 171: The Best Presentation

Raven doesn't mean that you should try to be splashy. Everything you do -- from brushing your teeth to falling asleep -- is plunging right in. The teaching is simply to understand this fact.

Case
Porcupine met with Raven in private one afternoon and asked, "What is the best presentation of the great matter?"
Raven said, "The thing."
Porcupine asked, "How do you present the thing?"
Raven said, "Splash."

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2021-05-09

Spring Week 8 & 9

Now meeting BOTH in person AND on zoom.

Join the BoWZ-Westchester Sangha on Saturday mornings:
(Times: US Eastern)
9:45-10:00 -- Informal conversation
10:00 -- Opening Dedication, Readings, Zazen, Kinhin, Zazen
11:00 -- Sutra Service
11:15 -- Dharma Talk and Conversation
12:00 -- Closing Readings

IN PERSON (only if you are fully vaccinated, please)
Room 43 at
Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation
468 Rosedale Ave
White Plains, NY

ON ZOOM
https://zoom.us/j/2898507899
Audio Only: telephone 646-876-9923 & Enter Meeting ID: 289 850 7899

Passcode: 468468

Sat May 15: Practice to be led by Meredith Garmon

Zoom with Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, MA at any of these times:
Mon-Fri, 7-8am
Tue, Thu, Sun, 7-8pm
Zoom link: CLICK HERE

For Spring Week 8:
Mon May 10 - Sun May 16

Reading

for Sat May 15
  • The Saturday Talk will address the readings in the week's Sutra Service: "Bussho," "Self-Receiving Samadhi," and "Shoji."

Week 8 Raven Tale

Week 8 Sutras

Dedication
  • For odd-numbered days, begins with Gatha of Atonement 
  • For even-numbered days, begins with The Three Refuges
Opening Verse for Mon Apr 19 - Sun May 16 (2nd Fourweek)
  • Invocation of Kanzeon, p. 3
Sutra Service for Week 8.A.
  • Bussho -- "Buddha Natrue," p. 22
  • Self-Receiving Samadhi, p. 23
  • Shoji -- "Birth and Death," p. 23
Closing Verse for Mon Apr 19 - Sun May 16 (2nd Fourweek)
  • Spring Everywhere, p. 39
  • Save All the Beings, p. 42

For Spring Week 9:
Mon May 17 - Sun May 23

Reading

for Sat May 22
  • Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness, "Introduction: If it Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It," pp. ix-xvi.

Week 9 Raven Tale

Week 9.A. Sutras

Dedication
  • For odd-numbered days, begins with Gatha of Atonement 
  • For even-numbered days, begins with The Three Refuges
Opening Verse for Mon May 17 - Sun Jun 13 (3rd Fourweek)
  • Coming and Going, p. 4
Sutra Service for Week 9.A.
  • Fukanzazengi, p. 26
  • Raihai Tokuzui, p. 26
  • Shinjin Gakudo, p. 27
  • Kaiin Zanmai, p. 27
Closing Verse for Mon May 17 - Sun Jun 13 (3rd Fourweek)
  • The Necessity of Great Doubt, p. 39
  • The Four Bodhisattva Vows

Upcoming

Next Book

Starting Mon May 17, we'll be reading:
Barry Magid, Ending the Pursuit of Happiness: A Zen Guide
See: Reading Schedule

Next Online Sesshin

Reserve the weekend, and stay tuned for information on how to register.
Fri Jun 11, 7:00pm through Sun Jun 13, 12:30pm
Online Practice periods include Zazen (seated meditation), kinhin (walking meditation), dharma talk, dharma dialogue, and dokusan (interview with teacher).
Times of Online Practice:
7:00am-8:30am -- Sat, Sun
10:30am-12:30pm -- Sat, Sun
2:30pm-4:30pm -- Sat
7:00pm-8:30pm -- Fri, Sat

Sutra Book

For printing (double-columned pages):CLICK HERE. (Page references are to this double-column version.)

For reading on your computer screen (single-column pages):CLICK HERE.

Chant Along with these Audio Files: CLICK HERE.

Home Practice

Practicing every day, or nearly every day, is a crucial aspect of the Zen path. Other central aspects include sangha (meeting weekly or so to practice with a group), and sesshin (going on occasional week-end or week-long Zen retreats).

Home practice ideally includes Zazen, study of zen text (or listening to a recording or podcast of a dharma talk), and chanting/reciting some of Zen's central texts.

Recommended:
  • Sitting supplies: A zabuton (mat) and either a zafu (round cushion, usually of kapok or buckwheat hulls), or a seiza bench (kneeling bench); or a chair that is your meditation chair
  • A dedicated space: A corner of a room that is used only for Zen practice, where your sitting supplies and a small altar reside
  • An altar: a small table with a Buddha statue and maybe an incense holder, candle, or sacred items.
There are many ways to structure home practice. Here's one:
  • Light a candle, stick of incense, or both, on your altar.
  • Standing in front of altar, facing it, make three bows (prostrations or standing bows) to Buddha.
  • Recite "Gatha of Atonement" (odd-numbered dates) or "The Three Refuges" (even-numbered dates);
  • Recite Dedication and Opening Verse (see Sutra Book)
  • Zazen (25 mins)
  • Recite the Sutra Service Readings for the week (see Sutra Book)
  • Dharma Study time: reading a dharma book or listening to a dharma talk recording (15-30 mins). (Check out "A Quarterly Study Plan" on the Reading/Videos page.)
  • Recite Closing Verses (see Sutra Book)

Additional Practice Opportunities

White Plains Zen Center:
Tue evenings: 7:30 PM
https://zoom.us/j/122286388

Hudson River Zen Center:
http://hudsonriverzencenter.org/

Insight Meditation with Nina Nagy
Mon evenings: 6 PM
https://www.awakeabiding.com/

2021-05-03

Raven 170: Talking About It

About. See it as an adverb rather than a preposition. We say that we talk about this and that, and it's the object of this preposition that fools us: this or that, as if there were such things. About, the adverb, has no object: we walk about, going here and there. Or, since words are tools, not representations, think of what it would mean to hammer about, or go wrenching about for an afternoon. Suppose talking were like that. Isn't it?

So, then, is Owl's silence indicative of her inability to meet Raven's command? Or is this silence Owl's way of continuing to talk about?

Case
One evening Owl spoke up first during the question period and asked, "Is there anything we can't talk about?"
Raven said, "We can't talk about anything."
Owl asked, "Aren't we doing it now?"
Raven said, "It disappeared."
Owl asked, "How can we retain it?"
Raven said, "It's not a matter of retaining. Speak!"
Owl was silent.

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2021-04-26

Raven 169: Teaching

Your life is your teaching. You present it with everything you do. All around you, trees, clouds, stars, and all beings offer you their teaching.

Case
One day the group was sitting aroung having a snack when Woodpecker asked, "After all this time, how would you sum up your teaching?"
Raven said, "Try some of these tree borers. They're quite tasty."
Woodpecker said, "Is that your teaching, Roshi?" Raven said, "Teaching."

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2021-04-19

Raven 168: The Right Path

Sometimes you ask yourself, "Am I on the right path?" The answer is always, "yes." The right path for you at the moment you ask the question is the path of wondering whether you are on the right path. Sometimes, perhaps, you change paths -- in which case the right path for you is the path of changing paths. Just because the answer is always, "yes," doesn't mean the question doesn't call for serious investigation.

Case
Black Bear asked, "Am I on the right path?"
Raven said, "Of course. Wolverine is on the right path."
Black Bear said, "Wolverine? She seems pretty far afield."
Raven said, "Her path."

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