50th Anniversary

Rochester Zen Center

November 17, 2017

A Special Appeal from Madison

The Madison Zen Center, which is currently the Rochester Zen Center’s sole formal Affiliate Group, has always had an outsized impact on practice in Rochester. The MZC has contributed the three long-term staff members (Eryl Kubicka, Wayman Kubicka, and Ed Kademan) who have led the Chapin Mill construction, maintenance, and rental programs, as well as a steady stream of trainees and sesshin attendees. (Over the past 2 years, in fact, 12% of sesshin-goers are originally or currently from Madison.) All this from a membership that numbers just 26!

Now the Madison group is addressing some long-overdue maintenance issues in its Victorian-era house. To date, they have raised $8,525 from their own membership and friends in the community, but they are still well shy of their $50,000 goal. If you’d like to help, you’ll find more details about the renovations – along with a donations button – when you click here.

November 14, 2017

Famine-Relief Ceremony Thursday Evening, November 16

This Thursday evening, we’ll begin with an hour of sitting and follow with our annual ceremony for famine relief, where there will be an opportunity to make a monetary donation to Oxfam. Residents here at the Center will be fasting that day as a way to get a little more in touch with the hunger that millions of people around the world experience every day. Other Sangha members attending the ceremony may find that joining in on the fast will make the ceremony more meaningful.

Ceremony of Gratitude Sunday Morning, November 19

Our Ceremony of Gratitude this year will take place during the upcoming Sunday morning sitting. When you come into the Link that morning, notepads and pencils will be out, and you can write a sentence or two about anything you want to express thanks for. During the ceremony, we’ll be reading some of the statements. If you can’t make it Sunday morning, but would like to offer up something of your own, email it to john@rzc.org, and we’ll include it in the mix.

Thanksgiving, Temple Night, and Jukai

Here’s a link to the schedule for the big week coming up. We’ll email more details early next week. Please note that the potluck Thanksgiving dinner here at Arnold Park will begin at 4 pm, rather than at 6 pm as in previous years.

November 3, 2017

Ceremony of Aid on Thursday Evening, November 16

The first event of the Thanksgiving season will be our annual fast day and ceremony of aid on Thursday, November 16, in support of Oxfam’s efforts to relieve world hunger (website: Oxfam America). We’ll begin with sitting at 7 pm, and the ceremony will follow after two rounds of zazen.

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, give it a try! In any case, please join us for the ceremony, where there will be an opportunity to make a monetary donation.

Book Club Meeting, Sunday, November 19

The next meeting of the Book Club is Sunday, November 19, at 6:30 pm. The reading assignment is the first six chapters of Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. It’s a lot to read in a few weeks (160 pages), so everyone is welcome even if they cannot finish the reading. Location is the community room in the dormitory in back of 7 Arnold Park. 

October 19, 2017

Teisho, Sunday, October 22

Though it’s not written in the paper quarterly calendar, Roshi will give a teisho this Sunday. He’ll be continuing his series on the Precepts (which he started last week), as we begin our preparations for Great Jukai (Taking-of-the-Precepts) in November.

All-day Sitting, October 22

In addition to the teisho this Sunday, there will be an all-day sitting. Here’s the schedule:

6:15 am          Zazen

7:30                Breakfast (Center will provide)

8:30                Zazen, teisho & chanting ceremony

~10:30            Brunch

11:00              Zazen

12:50              Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00        Zazen

3:00                The Four Vows

Extra Copies of 50 Years of Dreaming

By now our U.S. Members and Friends will have received in the mail a copy of the book Fifty Years of Dreaming, our 50th anniversary edition of Zen Bow. Extra copies are available for purchase for $20 by check or PayPal. Please contact Jack O’Shaughnessy (bookkeeper@rzc.org) for details.

For our out-of-country Members and Friends, we will be mailing your copy as soon as we get confirmation from you that we have your correct street address; an e-mail was sent out earlier today. Because of the substantial cost of printing and mailing, we want to make sure that the copies we send don’t go off into the void.

Making it Personal: A Listening Circle to Help Heal the Historical Imbalance between Women and Men

Center member Dwain Wilder and Padme Livingston will hold a second session on November 11. Dwain writes:

Padme and I are holding a series of Listening Circles on healing the long history of imbalance between men and women. Our next circle is November 11, at Asbury First United Methodist Church. I’m attaching a flyer created by Padme which explains in much further detail.

Please consider joining us for this Listening Circle to begin to heal the divide that creates so much misunderstanding and suffering in our personal development, our relationships, our institutions, and our culture. Let’s move together towards the biggest picture our hearts can hold for a beautiful future, one truly-heard story at a time. Be ready to listen and speak with courage, openness, honesty, and compassion for one another. Confidentiality is important for such personal sharing, so what is said in the circle stays in the circle.

October 10, 2017

Bodhidharma Ceremony, October 10

Tonight, the Center and the zendo will be set up for the annual ceremony that honors Bodhidharma, the “Bearded Barbarian” who founded Zen in China. We’ll sit for two short rounds, and the ceremony will follow (no private instruction or group instruction tonight). Beginners are welcome!

Term Intensive, October 12 – November 2

Two days later, on Thursday evening, we kick off our fall three-week Term Intensive. This program is an excellent and proven way to harness the support of others to step up your daily sitting and to get a solid start on whatever new disciplines you want to develop. Even if you’re new to the Center and feel your commitments may be too modest, don’t hold back! It’s a great way to strengthen practice, with the support of many others. Further information is available here.

Two All-day Sittings in October

If you find yourself falling behind on your sitting commitment, you can make it up during an all-day sitting. We’ll be having two in a row during the Term Intensive: Sunday, October 22, and Sunday, October 29.

October 6, 2017

Rainbow Sangha and National Coming Out Day

In the spirit of National Coming Out Day, Zen Center member Angela Hakkila is organizing a coffee outing for LGBTQ+ Sangha members who’d like to connect a little more actively. It’s tentatively planned for Sunday, October 15, at 3 pm at Equal Grounds Coffee House, 750 South Avenuehttp://www.equalgrounds.com/. RSVPs are not required, but would be helpful to estimate group size. You can reach Angela at hakkila@wisc.edu.

September 29, 2017

Bodhidharma Ceremony, October 10

On the Tuesday after sesshin, the Center and the zendo will be set up for the annual ceremony that honors Bodhidharma, the “Bearded Barbarian” who founded Zen in China. We’ll sit for two short rounds, and the ceremony will follow. Beginners are welcome!

Term Intensive, October 12 – November 2

Two days later, on Thursday evening, we kick off our fall three-week Term Intensive. This program is an excellent and proven way to harness the support of others to step up your daily sitting and to get a solid start on whatever new disciplines you want to develop. Even if you’re new to the Center and feel your commitments may be too modest, join in anyway! It’s a great way to strengthen practice, with the support of many others. Further information is available here.

Earthquakes in Mexico

With all the simultaneous natural disasters unfolding recently, there’s probably less awareness of the earthquakes in Mexico than there might otherwise have been. One of our ordained members, Dana Díaz, who served here for years as Head Cook, lives now in Mexico City and sent Roshi this report:

We had three more earthquakes today! Lots to do! Yes, acts of kindness are contagious. Right now people in their eighties and youngsters eight years old are working together everywhere! So moving that so much of the population is out giving a hand for hours on end! 

Oaxaca is devastated, so are Chiapas, Puebla, Morelos, etc., etc. So I and other friends are helping in that direction now, of course not with food but helping groups of activists who will drive trucks with simple building materials to the remotest of villages where not a shack is standing, and rebuild and bring other types of aid.

Men and Women, Living Together

Center member Dwain Wilder has asked us to pass along this announcement:

“Making it Personal: A Listening Circle to Help Heal the Historical Imbalance between Women and Men,” led by Padme Livingstone and Dwain Wilder will be held on Saturday, October 7, 10 am to 1 pm, at Rochester’s Downtown United Presbyterian Church (DUPC). For more information and to register, go to DUPC SAJCenter.org or call (585) 325-4000, ext. 17. Please note that the circle is limited to 12 people, so registration is required. If you have further questions, e-mail PadmeLivingstone@gmail.com.

Open Call for Participants for John Cage’s Variations III

Tara Nelson is a Center member who works at the Visual Studies Workshop and sent along this invitation: The VSW will be hosting a performance of John Cage’s Variations III on Friday, December 1 from 7 to 9 pm. You can find information on their website here. If you are interested in participating and would like more information, please send an e-mail to Tara at taranelson@vsw.org by October 2nd. 

Looking for a Housemate on Conesus Lake

Center member Dennis Bradford is looking to share his furnished house on the west side of Conesus Lake with another longtime Zen practitioner. It’s about a 40-minute drive both to Chapin Mill and to the Rochester Zen Center. Lots of amenities, including a view of the lake from bed, a big covered deck overlooking the lake, and a gym. Quiet, safe neighborhood. Must be quiet, clean, and mature, as well as single, divorced, or separated. Rent or lease. Negotiable rate of about $900 monthly. (585) 243-5332.

September 22, 2017

Horrors in Myanmar

For weeks now, the world has read of the atrocities committed by the “Buddhist” majority in Myanmar (formerly Burma). More than 400,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority there have been slaughtered, raped, and burned out of their homes by Myanmar government forces with the endorsement of some leading “Buddhist” monks.

How could the 99-percent-Buddhist people of Myanmar be doing this even as the Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi seems to look the other way? Roshi will address this appalling situation in teisho this Sunday. There will also be a chance for Sangha members to donate money to help the victims, so bring your checkbook if you’d like to help. We’ll pass donations along to Save the Children. You can read about their efforts to help the Rohingya refugees here.

All-Day Sitting, Sunday, September 24

This month’s all-day sitting is this weekend. 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 & chanting ceremony

~10:30            Brunch

11:00              Zazen

12:50              Lunch break (bring your own)

1:30-3:00        Zazen

3:00                The Four Vows

The Sangha Book Club Meets the Seeing Through Racism Committee

The next book club meeting is a collaboration between the Book Club and Seeing Through Racism. We are reading the first half (first six chapters) of Angel Kyodo Williams’ book, Being Black. Snacks provided. 6:30 pm Sunday.