Rochester Zen Center

November 25, 2014

Jukai Teishos

The one teisho on the precepts to be given by Roshi this fall will be on the morning of Jukai – this Saturday, November 29. The teisho on the day of Jukai is generally an overview of the sixteen precepts, but usually by then Roshi would have given several other, less general, teishos on the precepts earlier in the fall. Those didn’t happen this year.

So the teisho this Saturday will be about the ceremony of receiving the precepts, but will focus on cardinal precept number four: “I resolve not to lie but to speak the truth.”

For newer members and others who would like to hear an overview of the precepts from a previous year, click on these links:

November 30, 2013: An overview of the 16 precepts.

November 22, 2009: The Three Treasures.

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Zen Center

So far, the only people signed up to come to the Center for dinner this Thursday are residents of the Center. Please, if you’d like to join them – and they definitely welcome people they don’t live with, work with, and sit with day in and day out – do come. You’ll get a warm welcome. Just bring a vegetarian dish to pass, and don’t worry about the quality; that’s where Wegmans comes in!

Thanksgiving and Jukai Schedule

A link to the schedule of all the Center’s Thanksgiving and Jukai events is posted on the home page of the Center’s website ( You can also access the schedule by clicking here.

December Sesshin Applications

If you applied to the December sesshin, but didn’t receive an acceptance e-mail (it was sent November 22), please let John Pulleyn know ( We’ve moved everything to a new web server, and there seem to have been a few days when applications may have vanished into the ether!

November 19, 2014

Ceremony of Aid on Thursday Evening

Once again, the first event of the Thanksgiving season is our annual fast day and ceremony of aid on Thursday, November 20, in support of Oxfam’s efforts to relieve world hunger (website: Oxfam America). Here at the Center, staff will be fasting as a way to connect more directly with those who don’t have enough to eat. If you’d like to do the same, that’s wonderful. In any case, please join us for the ceremony where there’s an opportunity to donate monetarily.

Ceremony of Gratitude this Sunday, November 23

Sunday’s Ceremony of Gratitude will begin with sitting at 8:30 a.m., followed by the ceremony proper at about 9:30. Everyone, even those who can’t attend, is invited to write out a statement of gratitude, and we’ll be selecting some of those to read in the zendo. There are pads of paper in the Link, or you can e-mail your statement to John Pulleyn (

We alternate over the years between holding this ceremony on Thanksgiving Day and having it, as we are this year, on the Sunday beforehand. If the duties of major meal preparation have kept you from coming in the past, this may be your window of opportunity! The Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart, once said, “If the only prayer you ever said was ‘Thank you,’ that would be sufficient.” With this ceremony, we have the chance to do this as a Sangha.

A Note from Roshi

“I find myself edging toward 21st-century technology, and want to get an iPod Touch just for the alarm, the calendar, and voice memos. But I’m told that since this device is already a bit outdated, there could be someone in the Sangha who has already retired his or hers, and so would have no use for it. If you have one just sitting in a drawer, I would gladly take it off your hands!”

Saturday Dokusan

The dokusan scheduled for this Saturday morning, November 22, will be at 8:30 rather than the usual 10:00.

December Sesshin Deadline

Tomorrow (Thursday, November 20) is the application deadline for the 4-day December sesshin that starts on Tuesday, December 9, and ends Saturday, December 13. As always, late applications will be considered, but timely applications are appreciated.

October 29, 2014

Room Left for Members – Workshop This Saturday, November 1

This Saturday’s workshop, coming only five weeks after the last one, will be fairly small. When there’s room, Center members are always welcome to attend at no charge. So if you’d like a “refresher,” let us know, and you can be confident you won’t get bumped at the last moment. If you’d like to attend, contact the Center’s receptionist, Alex Comardo: (585)-473-9180, ext. 10, or

Fall Back This Weekend

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 am on Sunday morning, November 2. Set your clock back that night, or you may arrive for sitting and teisho an hour early!

Flu Shots at the Center

Just a reminder of the flu clinic this Sunday, November 2, after Roshi’s teisho. Present your insurance card and one of your arms, and a nurse will take care of you.

Thousand Acre Swamp Hike

The Sangha Engagement Committee would like to invite you for a hike onSunday, November 2,in Penfield. Take advantage of the extra hour, the last of the falling leaves, and pleasant company as we walk off some of that Halloween candy through the1000 Acre Swamp(insert spooky howl). The hike will take approximately 1.5 hours and cover 3-4 miles. We will meet at the gravel parking lot at3 pm. For those who would like to carpool from the Zen Center, we will be leaving there at2:40 pm. Children and dogs are all more than welcome. If you have any questions, feel free to call Dan Esler at (585)-520-9797.

Here’s How You Get There:

  • At the intersection of I-490 and I-590 east of Rochester, take I-590 north one mile to NY-286 (Browncroft Boulevard).
  • Drive east on NY-286 approximately 4.9 miles and then turn left (north) on Jackson Road.
  • Drive approximately 0.5 miles on Jackson Road.
  • The entrance to the Thousand Acre Swamp Sanctuary is indicated by a wooden sign on the west side of Jackson Road (just north of the sheriff’s substation and adjacent to Penfield Volunteer Ambulance).
  • Turn left and follow the narrow driveway, passing to the left of the house at the end of the drive. Parking is available in the gravel lot.
  • Please do not park in the driveway at any time. A well-traveled path leads about two hundred yards to the forest edge and the beginning of the trail system.

October 23, 2014

Dokusan: “He giveth and he taketh away”

  • Thursday, October 23 (today): evening dokusan, but only until the meeting of Term Intensive participants begins at about 8:00.
  • Friday, October 24: morning dokusan added.
  • Next Monday, October 27: dokusan cancelled due to a personal commitment of Roshi’s.
  • After Monday: back on track.

Talk on Sunday

This Sunday, October 26, while Roshi is participating in the Trustees’ meeting, Andy McClain will give a Coming-to-the-Path talk. We’ll follow the usual schedule with sitting and chanting beforehand, and then Andy will tell us how he got here.

All-day Sitting Sunday

There’s also an all-day sitting scheduled for this Sunday, October 26. Besides the usual sitting that runs from 8:30 to around 10:30, there are three other blocks of formal sitting. It’s all right to come just to part of the day, but we do ask that sitters commit to stay for all of the two or three rounds of sitting in any block. Here’s the full schedule for the day:

6:15 am        Zazen

7:30             Breakfast (Center will provide)

8:30             Zazen and Coming-to-the Path Talk

10:30           Brunch in the dining room

11:00           Zazen

12:50 pm      Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00     Zazen

Investiture Ceremony for Jeanette Prince-Cherry

This coming Tuesday, October 28, Jeanette will take part in an investiture ceremony that will confirm her as a lay member of the Three Jewels Order. Roshi founded the Order in 2000 as a vehicle for lay members as well as priests to formalize their commitment to the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha) and to serve the community. Jeanette has completed a novitiate period and will now become a full member.

The ceremony, which lasts about half an hour, will be held in the zendo, around 6:45 am, after the morning sitting and in lieu of the usual chanting service. If you come to the ceremony, you’re invited to stay and join us for a celebratory breakfast at 7:30.

Flu Shots at the Center

Flu season is upon us! Getting a flu shot protects your health and the health of everyone around you. We’ll have a flu clinic here on Sunday, November 2, after sitting and teisho. If you’d like to do your part for herd immunity, please join us then. A nurse will show up at our door around 10:45 am and begin inoculating the willing. Assuming your insurance covers this, bring your card and there’s no charge. Otherwise, it’s $40.

October 15, 2014

Roshi in Madison

Roshi will leave for Madison, Wisconsin, on Thursday, October 16, leading sesshin at the Madison Zen Center over the weekend, and he’ll be back to give dokusan Monday evening, October 20. This Sunday, October 19, we’ll have sitting and chanting.

Term Intensive

The opening ceremony for the three-week fall TI is this Thursday, October 16, around 8 PM in the zendo, after an hour of sitting. If you’re interested, check out the TI webpage and fill out a form. And if you have questions, give John Pulleyn a call or e-mail him at These intensives are held twice a year, and we usually have 40 or 50 members taking part. It’s a great opportunity to strengthen your practice and your connection with others making the same effort.

Highway Cleanup

This Saturday, October 18, we’re planning our last cleanup of the year on our adopted section of I-490. We’ll meet at the Center at 10:15 and will be back for PIZZA at 12:30. Come lend a hand!

Amazon Smile

Even if you’ve set up an Amazon Smile account so that Amazon will donate 0.5% of any purchases to the Center, it can be hard to remember to log on to If you use the Chrome browser, there an extension you can install that will log you in automatically. If you’d like to do that, here’s a link. (To install the extension, click on the bar in the upper right-hand corner of the page that reads “FREE.”)

October 2, 2014

Bodhidharma Reminder

By this evening, Thursday, October 2, we’ll have hung up nearly every picture and scroll we have of the founder of Zen and installed his figure on the altar. Sitting begins at 7:00, followed by the memorial ceremony.

Sittings during Sesshin

The 7-day October sesshin begins this Saturday evening, October 4. Sitting is informal both this Friday evening and Saturday morning, but during sesshin we’ll have the usual schedule of sittings at Arnold Park.

Term Intensive

The opening ceremony for the three-week fall TI is Thursday, October 16, around 8 PM in the zendo, after an hour of sitting. If you’re interested, check out the TI webpage and fill out a form. And if you have questions, give John a call or email him at

September 26, 2014

Bodhidharma’s Death Day

On Thursday, October 2, Roshi won’t give dokusan, and instead we’ll have two rounds of sitting followed by the annual ceremony that commemorates the death of Bodhidharma, who came from India to China and founded the Zen school of Buddhism. The “Western barbarian” shows up on the zendo altar just once a year, so come check him out!

Seeing Through Racism

The next committee meeting is scheduled for this Sunday, September 28, after teisho.

New Pictures on the Website

We have a new photo gallery program that can actually handle captions, and new pictures from this year’s Work Retreat and Buddha’s Birthday were just uploaded. Here’s a link, or just go to our home page,, and click the link there.