Jan 18 - 24

Winter, week 5
"That's the problem with 'positive thinking' and affirmations: we can't keep them up forever. Such efforts are never the path to freedom. In truth, we are already free. Sisyphus was not a prisoner in Hades, living out eternal punishment. He was already free, because he was just doing what he was doing." --Joko Beck

"Paradoxically, with true freedom of mind one has no choice. The mind that is free is decided from the beginning. Imagine you are an official and are offered a bribe. If your mind is made up from the beginning, there is no possibility of doing anything but refuse, and you enjoy freedom of mind. If you feel a possibility of choosing, your mind is divided and disturbed, and that is not freedom." --Katsuki Sekida
Saturday Zen. Our next Zen service is Sat Jan 20, 10:00 - 11:45am, room 24
Community UU, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY.
Practice to be led by Meredith.

Chants for Thu Jan 18 - Wed Jan 24:
  • The Way I Must Enter, p. 80
  • Bodhisattva's Vow, p. 22
  • Compassionate Heart of Wisdom, p. 15
See Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book, 4th ed. and
BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule

Reading this week: Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special: "Sisyphus and the Burden of Life," pp. 17-23..

Questions. (1) "Hell lies not in pushing the rock, but in thinking about it, in creating ideas of hope and disappointment, in wondering if we will finally get the rock to stay at the top" (p. 18). What task or experience have you ever made into "hell" by adding judgments, ideas? (2) "If he [Sisyphus] pushes the rock a few thousand years, what may he finally realize? . . . Just to push the rock and to have abandoned hope that his life will be other than it is" (pp. 18-19). How is it helpful to abandon hope? (3) "If we are totally what we are, in every second, we begin to experience life as joy. . . . That does not mean there is no sadness, but the experience of sadness is exactly the joy" (pp. 20-21). How do you understand this?

At Boundless Way Temple, 1030 Pleasant St, Worcester, MA:
  • Coming and Going Sesshin, Tue Jan 2, 19:00 – Mon Jan 22, 12:00. During these three weeks, participants "come and go" -- select a day, a week-end, several days, a week, or more when you can partake of this "encounter of the heart" (sesshin). INFO HERE.
Meredith's Latest Koan Post: Blue Cliff Record #53: Baizhang and a Wild Duck: CLICK HERE
Beloved progenitors, deceased.
Friends, grown estranged.
The hour before that awful mistake.
Last summer.
The spring before.
How did it ever fly away?
It was always gone, and is always here.
This cold comfort burns
And burns.

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