50th Anniversary

Rochester Zen Center

July 28, 2017

Streaming during Sesshin

Although there are no formal sittings at Arnold Park this coming week of sesshin (since we don’t have even the usual skeletal crew to run them), we will be streaming all the formal sittings from sesshin at Chapin Mill. You can tune in through the website at https://www.rzc.org/publications/streaming-audio/.

Call for Zen Bow Submissions: “Starting Over”

“I love the outsets, despite the fear and uncertainty that attach to all beginnings … begin to what? I begin – period. I have already begun a thousand lives this way.” 

—Rainier Maria Rilke

In the course of Zen practice, from time to time we may find ourselves stalled, caught in a web of dry routines, and even feeling discouraged enough to quit practice altogether. Yet, at any moment we can take a different course, shaking off the narratives that have defined us, and begin anew. Beyond the continuous efforts we make to renew ourselves breath by breath, some practitioners refresh their practice in more tangible ways – for example, attending a “refresher” introductory workshop, resolving to sit more frequently at the Center, participating in a term intensive, adopting a yoga or exercise routine, or devoting time to community service. There are a multitude of ways to hit the reset button and free ourselves from habit patterns. Readers are invited to submit essays and images that reflect on “Starting Over” to the editor at zenbow@rzc.org. Submission deadline: Friday, September 1.

GoFundMe for John Botsford

Long-time Center member and inveterate volunteer John Botsford is facing a second back surgery that will leave him unable to work for three months. Once again, this is a situation where we feel Sangha members who know John would appreciate knowing what he’s facing and might want to help out financially. If that’s you, here’s a link that lets you know how you can help.

July 22, 2017

All-Day Sitting, Sunday, July 23

This month’s all-day sitting happens tomorrow. As always, you can choose to attend any of the four blocks throughout the day, as long as you commit to the entire block of two or three rounds. Here’s the full schedule:

6:15 am          Zazen

7:30                Breakfast (Center will provide)

8:30                Zazen & teisho

~10:30            Brunch

11:00              Zazen

12:50              Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00        Zazen

3:00                The Four Vows

An Update on Wayman Kubicka

As many of you know, our Caretaker and Head of Zendo at Chapin Mill, Wayman Kubicka, underwent major back surgery this past Tuesday. The surgery went so well that he was released from Unity Hospital the very next day. He’s doing well and recuperating at home, where he can be seen walking (though not yet running) the Chapin Mill grounds (a daily exercise encouraged by his surgeon).

July 7, 2017

Funeral for Terryn Maybeck, Saturday, July 8, 11:00 am

Sangha member Terryn Maybeck passed away on July 1 after a nine-year struggle with ovarian cancer. Her funeral will be held tomorrow at 11:00 am here at Arnold Park. We recommend that members park along East Avenue, so that non-members can park along Arnold Park and in our lot. Also, there’s no need to wear your robe in the zendo for the funeral (many Sangha members have wondered about this over the years).

Roshi in Maine, July 8 – 16

Roshi will be away on vacation for all of next week. Dokusan will resume on Monday, July 17.

Photographs of the Work Retreat

Fresh off the press, here are photos of our annual Chapin Mill Work Retreat held last week. Our many thanks to the volunteers who showed up for all the work, zazen and afternoon fun; Chapin Mill wouldn’t look the same without the help of so many. You can see the album here.

June 27, 2017

New Dokusan and Private Instruction Schedule at Chapin Mill

There’s been a change in the schedule for the Work Retreat. Roshi will now give dokusan Tuesday and Thursday nights at Chapin Mill (no dokusans for the rest of the week at Arnold Park); private instruction will be available Wednesday and Friday nights (no private instruction at Arnold Park). Finally, at Arnold Park tonight, Tuesday, June 27, we will have the usual Beginners’ Night sitting with group instruction offered.

Center Closed Next Monday and Tuesday

We will have the regular sitting Sunday morning (the day after the Work Retreat), but no more until Wednesday morning, as the Center will be closed Monday and Tuesday, July 3 and 4. We’ll start back up with the morning sitting on Wednesday.

2017 Buddha’s Birthday Photos Are Posted.

Here’s a link to the album. Many thanks to our main photographer, Joe Marino, who took the lion’s share of the pictures.

Birth-and-Death Department

At 11:30 this morning, as hailstones were briefly falling, much of a large linden tree in front of the Center broke off, landing squarely on the bricked approach to the Center’s front door. Damage to the landscaping (other than the lovely Japanese maple) was minimal, and the falling tree also missed the cars that were parked on the street. Take a look! We were going to warn everyone that the main entrance to the Center was blocked, but a crew from the City of Rochester Forestry Division arrived within two hours and quickly cut up and removed the fallen part of the tree. (Unfortunately the linden has heart rot, and City will be removing the rest of the tree and replacing it with a new street tree.)

Staff members did hear the crash, so we don’t have to face that age-old, philosophical question….

June 22, 2017

All-day Sitting on Sunday, June 25

Three days from now, we’ll hold our monthly all-day sitting. As always, you can come for just part of the day, as long as you commit to stay for the two or three rounds of sitting in any block. Here’s the schedule:

6:15 am                 Zazen

7:30                       Breakfast

8:30                       Zazen & Teisho

10:30                     Tea break in the dining room

11:00                     Zazen

12:50 pm                Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00                Zazen

3:00                       The Four Vows

Chapin Mill Work Retreat, June 27 – July 1

Our annual four days of work, zazen, and community is right around the corner. We’ll begin with a sitting on Tuesday evening, and the retreat wraps up with lunch on Saturday. All members, trial members, family, and friends are welcome! Let us know whatever times you’d like to be there, and we’ll plan for you. If you’d like to stay overnight, you can count on a room and a bed.

There’s no fee for the work retreat (although donations for food are not turned away). The help we get from the Sangha during this yearly stretch is deeply appreciated!

Here’s a link to more information and the daily schedule.

Dokusan at Chapin Mill during the Work Retreat

There’s one scheduled dokusan on the calendar (Monday evening, June 26) before the Work Retreat starts up. For the rest of the week, Roshi will be doing his thing at Chapin Mill and will give dokusan out there on Wednesday and Friday evenings. (There will be no dokusan at Arnold Park next Wednesday morning and Thursday evening while Roshi is at Chapin Mill.)

Sangha Book Club Meets on Sunday

The Sangha Book Club’s next book will be The Wonder of Presence by Toni Packer. Join the discussion whether you’ve read the entire book or haven’t opened it at all. We’ll be meeting on Sunday, June 25 at 6:30 pm in Roshi’s library and will move outside, weather permitting. Snacks will be provided, and enlightening conversations are guaranteed.

We hope to see you there!

June 10, 2017

Finding Your Seat, Saturday, June 17

We’ll be having our third “Finding Your Seat” session, Saturday, 10:00 am, in Roshi’s Library. Roshi and John will be in sesshin, so this one will be led by some senior students. “Finding-Your-Seat” meetings focus on getting started at the Center and establishing a steady Zen practice, so bring your questions! We’ll unlock the front door at 9:30. After about an hour, you are welcome to sit in the zendo if you’d like. There won’t be any lunch available this time however, as the entire kitchen crew (and others) will be capping off sesshin at Chapin Mill.

June 7, 2017

Saturday Art Exhibition

The Zen Center will host an exhibition of Buddhist-inspired paintings this Saturday, June 10, from 4 – 8 pm. The painter is Tom Sommerville, a friend of the Center who has gravitated toward buddhas for much of his life. He will donate half of the proceeds from the exhibit to the Center. The paintings will be displayed in the dining room and Link, with most of the resident staff at Chapin Mill for sesshin.

Come one, come all.

CSA Shopping Run

The Center’s kitchen is wondering if anyone in the Sangha would be willing to pick up our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) order during the week of sesshin. The pickup is in Ionia, NY (about 30 minutes south of Rochester) and needs to happen on Thursday, June 15, between 4:30 and 7 pm.

If you think you might be able to help, contact Dené Granger (dagrange@syr.edu), and she’ll give you the details.

Trustee Winner

When all the ballots were counted at the Center’s Annual Meeting on May 28, Sensei Gerardo Gally was re-elected to a 3-year term as a Zen Center Trustee.

Japan’s Ancient Buddhist Pilgrimage Route

The Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club will host an unusual presentation by Lisa Albrecht on Wednesday, June 14: “Trails to Enlightenment: Japan’s Kumano Kodo.” She’ll describe her pilgrimage to Buddhist and Shinto shrines on the Kii peninsula. See more at http://www.adk-gvc.org/outings/meeting. Note, too, that if you are looking for camping gear, the gear swap that precedes the talk is an excellent place to start.

9 Arnold Park for Sale

The Center’s next-door neighbor at 9 Arnold Park, Sangha member Jerry Vorrasi, has listed his house for sale. If you’ve always wanted to live next to the Zen Center, this is your chance! The listing realtor is Gar Lowenguth, (585)-218-6868.

An Invitation to Help

Our long-time receptionist, Alex Comardo, left staff in 2015 and married his girlfriend Sarah Mae Richens in August last year. A month before the wedding, Sarah Mae was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and she and Alex have been struggling ever since with treatment, side effects, and insurance denials.

Although we rarely, if ever, include a personal financial appeal in these Sangha e-mails, this ongoing battle seems like the case for an exception. If you’d like to read more, here’s a link to a GoFundMe page that tells the story: https://www.gofundme.com/sarahs-cancer-treatment-fund

June 2, 2017

Landmark Society: House and Garden Tour

A reminder that the Center is involved in the tour this weekend (June 3-4); we’ll be receiving a lot of visitors through our houses, and for many this may be their first contact with the Dharma, however superficial it may appear. Despite the heavy foot traffic through the Center, it will still be open for Sangha members to attend the Saturday and Sunday morning sittings (teisho on Sunday). Further information about the tour is posted on the Landmark Society’s website at http://landmarksociety.org/houseandgardentour/.

Dokusan Cancelled, Saturday, June 3

Because of the Landmark Society’s House & Garden Tour, Roshi won’t be giving dokusan tomorrow. The next scheduled Saturday dokusan will be July 2.

Meeting Sunday, June 4

The Seeing-through-Racism group will meet this Sunday, June 4, around 11 am, after sitting, teisho, and brunch.

Call for Zen Bow Submissions: Taking Refuge in Sangha

Sangha is one of the Three Treasures (or Jewels) of Buddhism, along with Buddha and Dharma. When we take refuge in Sangha, as recited in the Three Treasures, we express our faith and reverence for the immediate and wider community of Dharma (or Buddhist) practitioners – going all the way back to the immediate disciples and followers of the Buddha. Our practice depends on the support and inspiration of Sangha as the embodiment of the Way, and likewise through our own efforts we help bring the Buddhadharma to life for others. Readers are invited to submit essays and images that reflect on “Taking Refuge in Sangha” to the editors at zenbow@rzc.org. Submission deadline: Friday, June 23.