50th Anniversary

Rochester Zen Center

April 22, 2017

Guest Teisho Tomorrow

Roshi has invited his sister Roshi Sunya Kjolhede (his kid sister, he points out) to give the teisho tomorrow morning as a guest teacher, and she has agreed to do so. She is visiting from Asheville, NC, where she directs the Windhorse Zen Center with her husband, Roshi Lawson Sachter.

University of Wisconsin Well-being Study

The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center in Madison, Wisconsin is looking for participants for a research study on the impact of long term meditation on the brain and body. Lab visits include EEG, MRI, and sleep studies. Participants may receive up to $1635 upon completion of the study. 10 month time commitment required. Must be 25-65 and have 5+ years of daily meditation practice that includes mindfulness and compassion or loving-kindness meditation. If you are interested in participating, please visit go.wisc.edu/meditate to see if you qualify. If you have any questions about the study, please email study staff at wellbeingstudy@bi.wisc.edu or call 608-263-0803.

April 8, 2017

Finding Your Seat: Up and Running

On Saturday, April 1, we held our first of what we hope will be a regular schedule of group sessions to discuss questions that come up about getting started at the Center and establishing a steady Zen practice. Turnout on Saturday was impressive; we started in the 5 Arnold Park Library, but moved to the Community Space in the back in order to have enough room. Roshi led our inaugural meeting; for future dates, we will sometimes mix it up and have one or two senior students facilitate. That will be the case for our next meeting on Saturday, May 6, a week after the next scheduled workshop. Details to come.

Sangha Book Club: Also Up and Running

After a successful first meeting, the Sangha Book Club is discussing another text. Read Robert Aitken’s A Zen Wave: Basho’s Haiku and Zen and join fellow Sangha members on Sunday, May 7, at 6:30 pm in Roshi’s library.

Snacks will be provided, and enlightening conversations are guaranteed.

We hope to see you there!

Looking for an Apartment

Sangha member Joel Lesses is looking for a place near the Center to rent. If you have a lead, you can e-mail him at joel.lesses@gmail.com.

March 30, 2017

Roshi at Nazareth College

This Friday evening, March 31st, Roshi will be participating in a panel discussion on “Activism without Angst” in the Linehan Chapel at Nazareth College, 4245 East Avenue, from 7 pm to 9 pm. The suggested donation is $20, but attendees can give whatever is affordable for them. The organizers say:

In this time of uncertainty, anxiety, overwhelm, and grief amid concerns for unity, social justice, and environmental protection, Dharma Refuge and Nazareth College are bringing together two Buddhist teachers – one from the Zen tradition and the other from the Tibetan tradition – to share Buddha’s wisdom and offer insights for navigating these challenging times. Following the panel discussion, the panel will take questions from the audience.

The organizers are hoping this event will provide our community an opportunity for a constructive discussion on what heart advice the Buddha would have for us if he were alive right now, and how we can offer our support and service to the world without getting overwhelmed.

“From citizens, to elected officials, from Democrats to Republicans, many of us are trying to respond to what is happening around us today and transform the untenable systems we’ve built – political, economic, and environmental,” said Sue Kochan, Dharma refuge teacher and event moderator. “As the Rochester community steps into action during a time of significant disruption, this program will look at how we might invite the Buddha’s wisdom to disrupt our collective confusion. Is it possible to remember the values we share and find our way back to being in good relationship with each other, the earth, and all living beings?”

Additional information is available on the Nazareth College website here.

Finding Your Seat

On Saturday, April 1, at 11:00, you and everyone receiving this e-mail message are invited to come to the Center for a sort of Workshop refresher session with Roshi and others that will address the whole process of establishing a sitting practice and finding your way at the Rochester Zen Center. We’ll meet in the zendo from 11 to noon, and then, if you’d like to stay, you can join us for an informal sitting (okay to move if you need to) and for lunch at 12:30. (Please RSVP to john@rzc.org if you’re planning to stay for lunch, so that the kitchen will know how many to expect.)

Sangha Book Club Starting Up on Sunday

The first meeting of the new Sangha Book Club is this Sunday, April 2, in Roshi’s Library. The book we’re reading is Stephen Batchelor’s, The Faith to Doubt – only 105 pages, so you might even have time to read it all. We hope to see you there.

Video from Sangha Entertainment Night

We have some footage from Sangha Entertainment Night, but just the first half or so of Roshi in Donald Trump Goes to Dokusan – right up to Kellyanne Conway’s dramatic entry. Unfortunately, our “videographer” ran out of cell phone space. If anyone was able to record more, let us know. We’d love to share it.

Chapin Mill Garden

With the arrival of spring, the vegetable and flower garden at Chapin Mill will need some volunteers to help prepare and maintain its abundance. Gardening is a perfect way of extending our time on the mat into active Zen. Our first volunteer day will be Saturday, April 8th. We will be cleaning up garden beds and walkways, prepping flower beds, sheet mulching around fruit trees, pruning, and possibly even seeding a few beds with the earliest spring crops. We will begin work at Chapin Mill at 9 am. If you would like to carpool, contact Dan Esler at mr.esler@gmail.com or 585-520-9797. Also, if you would like to add your name to a list of garden volunteers for future activities, please send Dan your contact information.


Do you have a gas grill collecting dust in your garage? The Zen Center kitchen is looking for a large grill for cooking outdoors, especially for the fast-approaching weekend of the Buddha’s Birthday celebration, when we will need to cook large numbers of veggie burgers and Not Dogs. If you have something that might be useful, please contact Tom Kowal, tmkowal75@gmail.com or 585-766-4739.

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.