50th Anniversary

Rochester Zen Center

March 22, 2017

Good Show!

On behalf of us all, many thanks to everyone who went on stage last Saturday and did their best to contribute to our Entertainment Night. Thank you for having overcome resistance and expending the time and energy to pull together your musical act or skit. The event relies on that “can do” spirit to pull off what is always a fun (and novel!) way to get to know one another.

Special thanks to Phil Swanson, our one “pro,” for again driving all the way from Gloucester, MA, to elevate the musical acts with his keyboarding. 

6×6 Exhibit

The evening of creating art for the 6×6 Exhibit at the ROCO (Rochester Contemporary Art Center) is set for this Saturday, March 25. Details about the exhibit (now in its tenth year) can be found at http://www.roco6x6.org/6x6x2017_2pages.pdf.

There will be an informal sitting at 5:30 (come if you can), followed by a potluck supper at 6:00, and art creation beginning around 6:45 or 7:00. Liza Savage-Katz will bring art supplies and suggests a $5 donation to cover the cost. Bring a vegetarian dish for the potluck. Children are welcome provided they can be respectful of the space and environment.

Contact Liza at lizasavagekatz@gmail.com if you would like to come.

No Saturday Dokusan (March 25th); No Sunday Teisho (March 26th)

As Roshi will be conducting a two-day sesshin in Madison this weekend, there will be no Saturday dokusan or Sunday teisho.

There is, however …

An all-day sitting, this Sunday, March 26. As always, you can come for just part of the day, as long as you commit to stay for the three rounds of sitting in any block. Here’s the schedule:

6:15 am                 Zazen

7:30                       Breakfast

8:30                       Zazen & Chanting

ca 10:15                 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

March 17, 2017

Arnold Park-ing

As of this morning (Friday, March 17), we’ve been unable to get the City of Rochester to plow the left side of Arnold Park. We’ve cleared enough of it to make the Center’s driveway accessible only if there are no vehicles parked on the street; otherwise it’s impassable.

If this is still the case tomorrow evening, those coming to Sangha Entertainment Night are advised to park in the lot of our gracious next-door neighbor, the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word. Enter this lot from Goodman Street, and then walk to Arnold Park to our own lot. On your way through the Lutheran church’s lot you’ll be confronted by a snow mountain, but there is a tiny path open to the right of it.

If on Sunday the street still hasn’t been plowed, you’ll need to park on East Avenue, where it’s legal on either side on weekends. DO NOT EVER park in the Lutheran church lot on Sunday mornings, when they themselves are short of spaces. 

(Please forgive us the frequency of these Sangha e-mails lately. We will try harder to limit them.)

March 16, 2017

Sangha Entertainment Night (Saturday, March 18th)

One more reminder that we’ll be having our annual performance night this Saturday, starting at 6 pm in the Buddha Hall (you can get there by going straight through the parking lot along the hedge). Whether you’re a performer or just an avid observer of other people’s folly, come this Saturday evening and check out the artistic talent (and “talent”)! We’ll have tea at intermission and refreshments in the dining room around 8 pm after the excitement is over.

March 10, 2017

Daylight Saving Time (March 12th)

If you’re coming for sitting and teisho this Sunday morning (or even if you’re not), be sure to move your clock ahead an hour before you go to bed Saturday night. (“Spring ahead; fall back.”)

Sangha Entertainment Night (March 18th)

Possible relief for the “winter blues”: in just 9 days, the Center will put on a Saturday evening production in the Buddha Hall, filled with fun and entertainment for all comers. But we need your help, dear Sangha, in the form of acts: comedy sketches, musical performances, dance, poetry or any combination thereof. If you’re interested in performing, go ahead and give it a go – you will have the most indulgent, supportive audience any performer could wish for! Contact Cecily Fuhr at cecilyfuhr@gmail.com with the details of your act. We begin at 6:00 pm, there’s a tea-break intermission, and we end around 8:00 with refreshments in the dining room after the excitement is over.

CSA for the Zen Center Kitchen

The Center’s kitchen is looking to sign up for a new CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. If any Sangha members are happy with their CSA and would like to recommend it, please contact Dené Granger, our Head Cook, at dagrange@syr.edu, or 473-9180, ext. 23.

Sangha Book Club

The Sangha Engagement Committee is starting up a Sangha Book Club. If you’d like to join in, start reading Stephen Batchelor’s, The Faith to Doubt, and join in the first meeting on Sunday, April 2, at 6:30 pm in Roshi’s quarters. Snacks provided, and enlightening conversation guaranteed. We hope to see you there!

6×6 Exhibit

A second offering from the Sangha Engagement Committee is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, March 25, and is dedicated to creating art for the 6×6 Exhibit at the ROCO (Rochester Contemporary Art Center). Details about the exhibit (now in its tenth year) can be found at http://www.roco6x6.org/6x6x2017_2pages.pdf.

The evening begins with a sitting at 5:30 (come if you can), followed by a potluck supper at 6:00, and art creation beginning around 6:45 or 7:00. Liza Savage-Katz will bring art supplies and suggests a $5 donation to cover the cost. Bring a vegetarian dish for the potluck. Children are welcome provided they can be respectful of the space and environment.

You can contact Liza at lizasavagekatz@gmail.com.

Rakusu Assistance

Dené Granger is offering sewing assistance to anyone who’s preparing a rakusu for the weekend of Buddha’s Birthday (the ceremony will be held in the morning on Saturday, May 27).

You can email Dené (dagrange@syr.edu), and she’ll work out a good time to meet with you.

February 17, 2017

All-day Sitting

We have an all-day sitting scheduled this Sunday, February 19. The usual Sunday sitting that begins at 8:30 am is one of the day’s four blocks of sitting. You’re welcome to come to any or all of the four blocks. Additional details are on the Center’s website here. And here’s an outline of the day:

6:15 am        Zazen

7:30             Breakfast (Center will provide)

8:30             Zazen and chanting

10:15            Brunch in the dining room

11:00            Zazen

12:50 pm      Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00      Zazen

February 2-Day Sesshin

We’re a week away from the 2-day sesshin that begins Friday evening, February 24, and ends after noon on Sunday, February 26. Acceptances are being e-mailed today, but there’s plenty of room if you’d still like to apply.

Free Tax Assistance for Low-Income Members

Longtime Sangha member Notch Miyake is a volunteer with CASH, an IRS-certified tax preparation service for low income people. He’s willing to prepare income tax returns at no charge for members who fall within CASH’s income guidelines ($55,000 or less for families with children and $40,000 or less for those without). If you’re interested, contact Notch (miyake@yahoo.com).

Movie Time!

If you’re looking for some indoor fun over the next couple of weeks, you might want to check out a couple of member-recommended film/discussion events that are coming up.

Sangha member Jen Byrnes is inviting members to a screening of Thinking Money: The Psychology behind Our Best and Worst Financial Decisions on Saturday, February 25, at 2 pm at the Rochester Central Library, 115 South Avenue. Thinking Money explores:

—Ways behavioral biases affect your financial decisions

—Why too many choices can be paralyzing

—How a good “nudge” can help you achieve your financial goals

—How technology can be embraced to help you save money

—Steps you can take to achieve greater financial security

The film will be followed by a discussion with Dr. Christopher Niemiec of the University of Rochester Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology. For more information or to register, click here.

Sangha member and palliative care physician Miyeon Oh recommends a documentary on care for the dying entitled Being Mortal, which will be screened at the Lifetime Care Center, 3111 South Winton Road, on Thursday, March 2, at 10:30 am and 6:30 pm, with a discussion following. Being Mortal delves into the hopes of patients and families facing terminal illness. The film investigates the practice of caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows a surgeon, Dr. Atul Gawande, as he shares stories from the people and families he encounters. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, his search for answers about how best to care for the dying becomes a personal quest. If you’re interested in attending, the event flyer is available here.

February 10, 2017

Roshi Away

Starting this Saturday, February 11, through February 18, Roshi will be on vacation in Mexico.

Saturday Dokusan: Making It Easier to Enter

When Roshi gives dokusan on Saturdays (the next one will be March 4th), there’s no need, if you arrive after 9:30 am, to ring the front door bell or to go around the back. We’ll start opening the front door for every Saturday dokusan.

Notch Miyake’s Talk – Update

Last week’s e-mail gave a short description of Notch Miyake’s talk (the history of Japanese-American internment camps during World War II), a date (Sunday, February 12), but not the time. It will start around 11:00 am in the Center’s dining room.

Zen Bow: Call for Submissions

Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back
into the earth;
for heavy are the mountains, heavy are the seas.

Fürchtet euch nicht zu leiden, die Schwere,
gebt sie zurück an der Erde Gewicht;
schwer sind die Berge, schwer sind die Meere.

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus, Part One, Sonnet IV

Physical pain is a mainstay in our lives; it is unavoidable in that, sooner or later, whether temporary or chronic, we will find ourselves in pain. For some, the pain of sitting in a meditation posture itself becomes a major obstacle to deepening practice. The fear of pain might even lead us to steer clear of trying a 7-day sesshin. Yet, as Roshi Philip Kapleau writes in his introductory remarks to The Three Pillars of Zen, the problem is not the pain but rather “our evaluation of pain from which we stand apart.” He continues, “pain, when courageously accepted, is a means to liberation in that it frees our natural sympathies and compassion even as it enables us to experience pleasure and joy in a new depth and purity.”

The editors invite submissions of essays, poetry, photographs, and illustrations on the topic of “Working with Pain.” Send your submission to the editors, Donna Kowal and Brenda Reeb, at zenbow@rzc.org. Submission deadline: March 24, 2017

Upcoming Mindful Practice Workshop for Medical Practitioners

Center member Mick Krasner, M.D., and Ron Epstein, M.D., will be leading a workshop retreat for medical practitioners at Chapin Mill from May 3 to 6. Drs. Epstein and Krasner are both faculty members at the University of Rochester. If you’d like to learn more, click here.

If you have questions about this event, or want assistance with registering online, please contact the Center for Experiential Learning, University of Rochester Medical Center, at 585-275-7666.

February 2, 2017

Seeing-through-Racism Meeting This Sunday

There will be a Seeing-through-Racism meeting this Sunday, February 5, at about 11 am. Jim Thompson writes that the group will be discussing strategies to live fully in the midst of the current political crisis.

Talk by Notch Miyake

On Sunday, February 12, Center member Notch Miyake will give a talk on the history of Japanese-American internment camps during World War II. He and his wife Margaret visited all ten of the camps, and Margaret’s photographs were on display at the University of Rochester. Notch has spoken there and – together with Margaret – was a guest of WXXI radio host Evan Dawson on December 7.

Welcoming New Members

Did you have a rough time starting practice at the Zen Center? Afraid of making too many mistakes in zendo protocol? (Note: We don’t care. We understand it’s a lot.) Angela Hakkila, a Madison Zen Center member, recently moved to Rochester and has been thinking about how we can create “softer landings” for newly arrived members, fresh out of their introductory workshop. She is seeking any input from the Sangha on skillful ways to reach out to new members. You can contact her at hakkila@wisc.edu.

Donations for Refugees

We have an opportunity to help the children and families of the Rochester International Academy, a local school that teaches English to newly arrived children and helps integrate them into the public school system. Here’s a link to an article about the school from the Washington Post.

Sally Bonn, a good friend of staff member Tom Kowal, has asked for help collecting toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, etc.), as these are a constant need for the children and their families. Leave donated items in the Link by February 14, and we’ll pass them along for Sally to deliver. Books and clothing would also be well received.

Four Friends’ Photography

From 1:00 to 5:00 on Sunday afternoon, February 12, there will be a show at Artisan Works, 565 Blossom Road here in Rochester, presenting the work of Josh Kneer, a former Center staff member, as well as locals Bobby Henchen, Michael Krieger, and Sangha member Amber Powers. There will be music by Paul Swiatek, as well as half-price admission ($6) to the rest of Artisan Works for everyone coming for the exhibit. There is an event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/239864853123429/.

January 25, 2017

Cleaning Every Corner!

The Arnold Park staff will be heading out to Chapin Mill this Saturday, January 28, to join the residents there for our annual Cleaning of the Temple. We’ve always had the same event at Arnold Park, just before New Year’s Eve, but there isn’t time then to squeeze in a Cleaning of the Temple at Chapin Mill.

What we call Cleaning of the Temple is an annual ritual, adopted from Japan, in which we tackle the less visible corners and crannies and hard-to-clean areas that don’t require frequent attention. There are myriad such areas at Chapin Mill, but this annual assault keeps things from building up. And doing it with so many others is fun!

We’ll get underway at 9 am and finish with lunch at 12:30. Give us a call if you’d like a ride out and back.

Where’s My Zen Bow?

Some of you may have noticed that you haven’t received Zen Bow in recent months. Because so much time, energy, and Sangha volunteers (including the Zen Bow editors) were devoted to coordinating our 50th anniversary events, something had to give, and unfortunately it was the production of Zen Bow (we also sacrificed the June 7-day sesshin last year). However, the editors and writers are “back on track,” and the next issue on “Time” will soon make it to your mailbox. The editors are also feverishly working on a special 50th anniversary edition, which will come out this spring.

Stay tuned for an announcement on other upcoming Zen Bow topics. That said, the editors welcome the submission of essays, photographs, and illustrations on any topic related to Zen practice at any time – whenever the inspiration strikes! E-mail submissions to the editors, Donna Kowal and Brenda Reeb, at zenbow@rzc.org.

Missing Book

One of Roshi’s favorite books has disappeared, possibly lent to someone: The Geography of Thought, by Richard Nisbett. If you borrowed it, please return it, and there will be no questions asked.

All-Day Sitting

We have an all-day sitting scheduled this Sunday, January 29, with Roshi’s teisho during the usual block of sitting from 8:30 to 10:15. You’re welcome to come to any of the four blocks of sitting or to all of them. Additional details are on the Center’s website here. Here’s an outline of the day:

6:15 am        Zazen

7:30             Breakfast (Center will provide)

8:30             Zazen and chanting

10:15            Brunch in the dining room

11:00            Zazen

12:50 pm      Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00      Zazen