If There Were Time
Winter is nearly here. Fall is slipping away. The yard is ankle deep in colorful leaves. There was frost again last night. It’s time to pick up the rake again. How is your practice these days? Mine needs a little attunement. It’s time for me to pick up the Inkin bell and take my seat again.
How about you? There is still time. Rohatsu sesshin is just a month away, thirty-one days to be precise. I am very much looking forward to leading this one. This year will be more intimate - so far, there are twenty-one registered. This Rohatsu sesshin is only six days long this year - Sunday, December 1st to Saturday, December 7th.
Remember the joke about the New York cabbie? He was asked, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” He answered, “That’s easy - just practice.”
How do you become Awake? That’s easy, join us for Rohatsu. There is still time.
In any case... May all beings be happy, may all beings be loved and well fed, may all beings awaken to find their ways. Especially us!
Autumn Sesshin Insights
by Genyo Jim Hight
With Kanzeon at my back and the sangha around me, I sat mesmerized by the first dharma talk I'd ever heard from Hifu George Burch, Jun Po's first dharma heir.
He'd given us a warm-up earlier by speaking up in the middle of a sit. The phrase Atta Dipa with which we start our days on sesshin is one of the few quotations to come directly from the Buddha, he said. In Buddha's day, the belief was that the light or fire, which that phrase evoked, was permanent. While our bodies are impermanent, this eternal light, that entered us at birth and will leave us at death, never began and never ends.
During another sit, he spoke up to invite us to see the burning incense stick on the central altar as a metaphor for our lives. The smoke represents the past, and the unburned stick is the future, and what matters is that light in the middle. That's where everything happens.
In his dharma talk, Hifu drew on the analogy of dreams to underscore just how meaningless our fears are. "When you wake up from sleep, you immediately see the dream fears as unreal. The fears in your waking life are as real as those in your dream.
Wouldn't you have more energy and be more lovable if you really learned that?"
He went on to speak about the big mistake I've made in reckoning the value of my life, a mistake that goes back to when I was about seven and decided that in order to survive socially, I had to distinguish myself as good, worthy or special. "We like to point to things that say we're different, but we're really just a member of universal life from all time to now," said Hifu.
"Most of our internal speech says we or others should change. But that's just adopting another dream. Being is being. You don't get it by attaining."
This dependence on attaining and achieving stems from the misguided notion that we are separate from each other, he said. And in transcending this notion, which we do through meditation and what Jun Po calls philosophical re-orientation, we gain true freedom and joy. "Abiding as a Buddha with no independent existence allows the universe to bring you inconceivable treasures," said Hifu.
He concluded with the Diamond Sutra that reminds us to think of "all this fleeting world" as ephemeral, transitioning and ultimately disappearing. "A flickering lamp, a shadow, a phantom, and a dream."
The Heart of the Matter
The Heart of Zen is a new book written by Kogen Ananda, Keith Martin-Smith and Jun Po Denis Kelly Roshi, coming out in April of 2014 through North Atlantic Books.
This is the most detailed and thorough description of the Mondo Zen process to-date. It includes everything yet taught on the subject plus some novel additions. You will also get a historical and personal context for all of the teachings (with characteristic wisdom, and humor).
Jun Po gets into some new territory for the first time, such as his thoughts on Eido Roshi's behavior, why he is such a strong advocate for agnosticism, and minute discussions on what words like Emptiness, Shuyata, and Nondual consciousness are really pointing towards.
The Heart of Zen takes a step-by-step approach to what has become a vexing problem in spiritual circles. While we are more and more familiar with popular ideas of Enlightenment and spiritual Awakening, life still comes at us full-force, and hope can turn to frustration as the gulf between our spiritual belief and our everyday life seems to loom ever larger.
What is missing is integration. If Awakening truly transforms every part of the life of a person, where are we getting stuck? How can things like anger, shame, envy, and jealousy continue to arise? How do our relative egos relate to Emptiness, and what does this mean for our intimate relationships, our emotional bodies, our views of the world and its problems?
The Heart of Zen represents the next generation of spiritual books because it is not content to merely talk about Awakening and spiritual life. These topics are addressed, of course, but within the context of creating lasting change, through the integration of spiritual insight into the flow and flux of everyday life. Jun Po explains how well-trained meditation students may learn to be non-reactive to emotions, but they seldom learn how to transform negative emotions (and the ego that holds them) as part of a more deeply integrated, lived spirituality.
This book describes, in great detail and with many exercises for the
reader to follow, precisely what this means.
(continued next column...)
November 1-3, 2013 - 3-Day Integral Mondo Zen Workshop led by Doshin Roshi at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in Sonoma, CA.
November 9-16, 2013 - 7-Day Integral Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Doshin Roshi in Loveland, CO.
December 1-7 - 6-day Rohatsu silent sesshin at Norbertine Center, Green Bay, Wisconsin, led by Jun Po Roshi.
Dec 13-15, 2013 - 3-Day Integral Mondo Zen Workshop led by Doshin Roshi in Charlestown, WV. This retreat is full.
January 18-24, 2014 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center led by Jun Po Roshi in Sonoma, CA.
March 15-21, 2014 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin at Pendle Hill in Pennsylvania led by Doshin Roshi.
March 17-23, 2014 - 6-Day Mondo Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Venwoude International, Netherlands.
May 10-17, 2014 -7-Day Mondo Zen Retreat led by Jun Po Roshi in Loveland, CO.
June 14-21, 2014 - 7-Day Silent Zen Sesshin led by Jun Po Roshi at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in the Catskill Mountains, NY.
September 13-20, 2014 - 7-Day Mondo Zen Teacher Training led by Jun Po Roshi in Loveland, CO.
Visit the Retreat Calendar on the website for more information.
Yesterday, old stories
Tomorrow, a new story
My Granddaughter calls,
“Hey, Papa, wake up!”
~ Kevin O'Shea
The flower invites the butterfly with no-mind;
The butterfly visits the flower with no-mind.
The flower opens, the butterfly comes;
The butterfly comes, the flower opens.
I don't know others,
Others don't know me.
By not-knowing, we follow Nature's course.
teach me how to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner
knowing, the senses of my body, the blessings
of my spirit.
Teach me to trust these things so that I may enter my Sacred Space and love beyond my fear,
and thus Walk in Balance
with the passing of each
~ Lakota Prayer
The Junpo Roku
Authored by Daju Suzanne Friedman, The Junpo Roku is a record of the early teachings of Roshi Junpo Denis Kelly.
The roku is available now through CreateSpace and also for Kindle.
Mondo Manual for eReaders
The Mondo Training Manual is now available for iPad, Kindle, and other eReaders thanks to Sosan Marcus Karlstad.
Check Latest Resources on our website.
Fushin Reimyo Eva Hermogenes was ordained as a priest at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in September.
Part discussion on these
intricate topics and part experiential guide, The Heart of Zen offers a
one-of-a-kind take on Enlightenment, emotional maturity, and the
integration required to take one’s seat in true liberation.
Now available for pre-order on Amazon, publication in April, 2014.
Listen to Ken Wilber and Jun Po discussing The Heart of Zen. (You must be a member of Integral Life to hear the interview.)