50th Anniversary

Rochester Zen Center

August 23, 2016

End-of-Summer Break

Tonight (Tuesday, August 23) is our last formal sitting before our annual two-week summer break. Some of our residents will be here holding down the fort, and members are welcome to stop by anytime during the break to sit in the zendo or use the library. We resume on Wednesday, September 7, with early-morning zazen and dokusan.

September Sesshin

Eryl Kubicka will lead the two-day sesshin that begins Friday evening, September 9, and ends on Sunday, September 11.  Even though the September 1 deadline for applications falls during staff break, we will still receive them and e-mail decisions on Friday, September 2.

Seeking Employment

Former staff member Josh Kneer is looking for work. Having been the previous repair-and-maintenance (as well as gardening) supervisor on staff, there’s a lot of work he can do! You can reach him at joshuakneer@outlook.com or (516)-206-3400 (cell phone).

August 17, 2016

Zen Lexicon

Recently Roshi and some of his senior advisers took a fresh look at the Japanese Zen vocabulary we’re using at the Center, and decided that we can go further in dispensing with Japanese terminology.

The RZC has always tried to find suitable English equivalents for Japanese Zen words and phrases, in the same way that the Japanese and Koreans found their own equivalents for the original Chinese vocabulary. Not all Western Zen centers appreciate the wisdom of making these changes. It’s easiest simply to use the Japanese (or Chinese, or Korean) terms, and once having learned them, one can feel on the “inside” of the tradition – one of the cognoscenti. Your practice may be weak, but at least you know the special words.

Foreign words add to the cultural barrier that newcomers face in this tradition that offers plenty of challenges already. Some of these terms are still worth keeping. Words like Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, are so rich in meaning, and so central to the Buddhist tradition, that no English word would do them justice. But we’ll now generally be dispensing with the following Japanese terms (with the English version we’re switching to shown in bold face):

  • han          “block”
  • daisan      “private instruction” (with a senior student, not Roshi)
  • zafu (which has spread unofficially over the past few years)  “round cushion”
  • kyosaku   “stick,” or “encouragement stick”
  • zabuton    “mat”

Japanese words we’ll be retaining (for now) because of their specialized meanings include “teisho” (instead of “commentary”), “kinhin” (instead of “walking meditation”), “dokusan” (the one-to-one encounter with the Roshi), “tan” (instead of “raised sitting platform”), “rakusu” (instead of ”bib-like vestment”), “keisu” (the bowl-shaped bell used in chanting), and “mokugyo” (the wooden “fish-drum” used in chanting). And who knows – someday some of these may also be converted to their unwieldy English equivalents.

Founder’s Day

There’s a lot going on this coming weekend besides the Saturday picnic we mentioned in our last e-mail. On Sunday, we have Founder’s Day and an all-day sitting. Since we had such an extensive display of Kapleau-roshi’s photos and memorabilia at the 50th anniversary, Founder’s Day will be simpler than usual this year: we’ll have our annual display in the Link and a photo of Roshi on the altar.

All-day Sittings (Live Streaming)

We’ve heard so many positive responses about the live streaming of our morning and evening sittings (morning and Tuesday evening sittings also include chanting), that we’re now extending it to all-day sittings. The next all-day sitting will be this Sunday, August 21, when the live streaming will begin around 6:15 am and end at 2:55 pm with the four vows. (The schedule is posted here.) It’s great to get feedback, so let us know if you find it’s helpful.

August 12, 2016

Roshi Gone for the Weekend

Roshi is off to Rochester, Michigan, to reconnect will high-school friends from 50 years ago. This Sunday, August 14, we’ll have sitting and chanting. Monday evening, Roshi will be back in place, offering dokusan.

Interfaith Procession

Would anyone like to join the Little Italy interfaith procession this Sunday, August 14? Liza Savage-Katz is looking for Sangha members to march, as representatives of Zen Buddhism. Whoever comes needs to be at St. Theodore’s Catholic Church in Gates at 10:30 a.m. on this upcoming Sunday. For more details, you can reach Liza at 310-773-6387 or e-mail her at lizasavagekatz@gmail.com.

Annual Picnic: A Week from Tomorrow

It’s that time of year again! Come and enjoy Sangha, great food, and Chapin Mill; it’s wonderful to connect with other members and their families and friends and pets. This year’s potluck picnic is set for Saturday, August 20. Everyone is invited – Sangha, friends, children and dogs! Plan to arrive any time from 11 a.m. on (or earlier and help with set-up); lunch will be served from 1:00 to 2:00. Bring a vegetarian main dish or dessert to pass (enough for eight people); the Center will provide corn, fruit, beverages, and ice cream. Bring clothes for swimming, volleyball, and hiking. Also bring blankets or folding chairs if you’d like.

Safety note: If you’re planning to hike in the woods, please be aware that Lyme disease, a serious tick-borne infection, has become a problem in our area. Information is available online from the federal Centers for Disease Control: www.cdc.gov/lyme/.

If you need a ride or can offer one, give us a call at the Center (585-473-9180), and we’ll make it happen.

Gary Snyder in Ithaca

American Man of Letters and longtime Zen practitioner, Gary Snyder, will be giving a lecture at Cornell University on Wednesday, August 24, at 5:30 pm (www.cornellplantations.org/). His talk “will explore the concept of ‘bioregionalism’ through the literary works of Taoist and Buddhist hermits and other peoples of the land.” Sangha member Tom Weiler, who lives in Trumansburg (near Ithaca, on the way from Rochester), has offered to escort anyone who’d like to stop by his place. You can reach him at tomweiler5660@gmail.com.

August 5, 2016

Even More Pictures on the Website

We now have over 200 pictures from our 50th anniversary weekend, posted in the photo gallery. Big thanks to everyone who sent in their photos!

With Apologies

We had hoped to stream Roshi’s teishos live during the July 7-day sesshin, but encountered too many technical difficulties. We’re very optimistic that we’ll get them resolved in time for the next sesshin, which occurs in October. In the meantime, we just uploaded the July sesshin teishos to our podcast site.

Park Avenue Festival

The Park Avenue Festival is upon us this Saturday and Sunday, August 6 and 7, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. As a result, the end of Arnold Park (at Park Avenue) will be blocked off during the festival. Parking in our lot or on the street shouldn’t be a problem if you arrive before 9:00 am. When leaving Arnold Park, however, ignore the one-way direction and head towards East Avenue. This is the one time a year we can legally defy our one-way street!

July 24, 2016

Sesshin Teisho Streaming LIVE All This Week!

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we’ll be broadcasting Roshi’s teisho LIVE from the Chapin Mill sesshin this week. Note that the sesshin teisho schedule is not quite as precisely timed as our Arnold Park sittings – generally, teisho will be given every day around 10:15 am Eastern Daylight Time, but it will occasionally be delayed by 30-45 minutes, depending on the needs of the sesshin. (Feel free to do a little zazen while you wait.) If you’re not able to listen during the mornings this week, fear not! We’ll be putting all of the sesshin teishos up on our podcast after sesshin is finished, so you can binge-listen at your leisure.

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to stream our morning and evening sittings live from Arnold Park this week as we usually do – except for this morning, when our usual programming is preempted by the sesshin teisho.

In case you haven’t tried the livestream yet, here’s a quick primer: head to www.rzc.org/publications/streaming-audio/ a few minutes before the sitting or teisho begins. After clicking on the link, you’ll be taken to a page on our website with a streaming player. If that link doesn’t work for some reason, you can also go to www.mixlr.com/rochester-zen-center, which will automatically play the stream. On that Mixlr page, there’s a “log-in” option, but that’s only necessary if you feel an urgent need to offer the world live commentary on your zazen. (You don’t, right? Please say you don’t…)

July 14, 2016

Free Gokhale Workshop Tomorrow, Friday, July 15

It’s worth repeating our announcement from last week: Esther Gokhale will give a free workshop tomorrow focusing on posture for sitting and walking meditation. We’ll begin at 10:00 am, in the 7 Arnold Park zendo. Here’s what she has in mind:

Has your sitting practice been negatively impacted by physical pain? Distracted by posture problems during sesshin? In this custom-tailored workshop, Esther will touch on the finer points of meditation posture, both sitting and walking. Good posture is critical for meditation practice, but can also transform aspects of daily living, including increased energy, decreased stress, and reduced back and neck pain. It also helps prevent future injuries by rehabilitating and protecting your joints. Contact Gokhale Method employee and Sangha member Alex Comardo at Alexc@gokhalemethod.com with any questions.

Pictures on the Website

We’ve posted pictures from Buddha’s Birthday and from the Work Retreat in June. Check them out in the photo gallery (https://www.rzc.org/about/photo-gallery-new-version/). Also, we’re nearly done sorting through all the pictures from the 50th Anniversary weekend. Big thanks to everyone who sent in their pixels! An album will be posted very soon, and we’ll also post a digital version of the 56-foot timeline that was hung in the wooden walkway.

Attendant Needed Friday, August 5

Sangha member Lee London needs an attendant to take him to and from a medical procedure at the Outpatient Surgery Center on West Ridge Road. His appointment is at 10:30 am. For safety reasons, because he will be sedated for this procedure, someone needs to remain with him in the office while he recovers. This will take at least three hours on the part of the attendant. If anyone from the Sangha can help, please contact him at 585-647-2175.

July 7, 2016

Correction to Today’s Dokusan Schedule

We “misspoke” in our e-mail of yesterday. Roshi will give dokusan this evening (Thursday, July 7) and never planned to this morning. The next dokusan after tonight’s is scheduled for Monday evening, July 18.

Talk this Sunday, July 10, on Home Funerals and Green Burial

Lynn Barnett is a home funeral guide who extensively volunteers her time educating the community about home funerals and green burials in the Rochester area. She’ll give a talk, hosted by the Zen of Living and Dying Group, this Sunday, July 10, after our regular sitting, chanting, and the brunch that follows. Here’s a brief summary Lynn wrote for us:

What is a home funeral? A home funeral happens when a loved one is cared for at home or sacred space of choice after death, giving family and friends time to prepare the body, gather and grieve in the most natural and healing way. The National Home Funeral Alliance (NHFA) has the mission to educate the public to their choices and provide clear information about all things relating to home funerals. It empowers families to care for their own dead by providing educational opportunities and connections to resources that promote environmentally sound and culturally nurturing death practices.

July 6, 2016

Calling all 50th Anniversary Photographers!

Did you take any good photos during our 50th anniversary celebration weekend? If so, we would love to get copies for the Center’s archives. This past weekend was a phenomenal success, and we hope your photos captured some of that sublime atmosphere at Arnold Park and Chapin Mill.

If you’re sending one or two photographs, it’s fine to e-mail them to John Pulleyn at john@rzc.org (please do not e-mail photos to the address from which these announcements were sent.) However, in order to avoid overloading the somewhat limited capacity of the Center’s e-mail system, we ask that you send larger numbers of photos on a CD, DVD, or thumb drive to Rochester Zen Center, 7 Arnold Park, Rochester, NY 14607.

No Dokusan and Teisho (July 17) Next Week

Roshi will be away on vacation from this Saturday, July 9, until Sunday evening, July 17. Dokusan will occur tomorrow morning, Thursday, July 7; the next one after that will be Monday evening, July 18. Concurrently, the scheduled teisho for Sunday, July 17 is cancelled.

Free Gokhale Workshop Friday, July 15

Esther Gokhale, author of 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back, is returning to give a free workshop on posture for sitting and walking meditation at 10:00 am, in the 7 Arnold Park zendo. Here’s what she has in mind for this particular workshop:

Has your sitting practice been negatively impacted by physical pain? Distracted by posture problems during sesshin? In this custom-tailored workshop, Esther will touch on the finer points of meditation posture, both sitting and walking. Good posture is critical for meditation practice, but can also transform aspects of daily living, including increased energy, decreased stress, and reduced back and neck pain. It also helps prevent future injuries by rehabilitating and protecting your joints. Contact Gokhale Method employee and Sangha member Alex Comardo at Alexc@gokhalemethod.com with any questions.

Additionally, on July 12 through 14 Esther Gokhale will be teaching two complete Gokhale Method courses. Also, for anyone who has taken the full course previously, Gokhale teacher Linda Congdon will teach a refresher class on July 15 at 2:30 pm. To sign up for any of these offerings, you can go to http://gokhalemethod.com/city?c=Rochester.

All-day Sitting Sunday, July 17

The all-day sitting begins at 6:15 am and ends at 3:00 pm. While it’s all right to come for just part of the day, 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: https://www.rzc.org/program-events/all-day-sitting/.

Reminder To Send a Photograph for One’s Eventual Memorial Service

Many of those attending the 50th anniversary celebrations this past weekend saw the long list of Sangha members who’ve died over the past five decades. This serves as a good reminder to send your photograph to the Center for use at an eventual memorial service. Send us a photograph of yourself to display on the altar; please make sure it’s at least 5×7 inches (8×10 inches is even better). If would be helpful if you send a physical, rather than a digital, photograph.

June 30, 2016

Esther Gokhale Special Workshop

Has your sitting practice been negatively affected by physical pain? Distracted by posture problems during sesshin?

Esther Gokhale, author of 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back, is on a mission to make back pain rare by restoring your natural posture. The human body is capable of holding you in a relaxed, upright pose that is not stiff or painful. In this custom-tailored workshop, Esther will touch on the finer points of meditation posture, both sitting and walking. Good posture is critical for meditation practice, but can also transform aspects of daily living, including increased energy, decreased stress, and reduced back and neck pain. It also helps prevent future injuries by rehabilitating and protecting your joints.

This free workshop will take place at 10 am July 15th at 7 Arnold Park. Contact Gokhale Method employee and sangha member Alex Comardo at Alexc@gokhalemethod.com with any question