Temple Night on Friday

Our annual celebration of the Buddha’s birth kicks off tomorrow evening (Friday, May 25) with Temple Night and Jukai (taking the precepts). We have only two Jukai ceremonies a year, and although this spring one – the climax of Temple Night – is somewhat informal, it offers an opportunity to reinforce your Zen practice with a formal aspiration to uphold your Buddha Nature as described in the precepts.

Before the Jukai ceremony begins, at 9 pm, and after it’s over, sitting and devotions are unstructured. You are free, on this night, to set up your mat and cushions, or chair, anywhere in the Buddha Hall and to make prostrations and offer incense (or not) at any of the altars, as you wish. If you have a figure of a buddha or bodhisattva at home that you’d like to bring in and place on the main altar, please do so.

If you like, you can sit late into the night after the Jukai ceremony ends. (For security reasons, the door to the Buddha Hall is locked from the outside at 9:30, so if you leave after that, you won’t be able to get back in.) This is a nice chance to do late-night sitting outside sesshin, in the company of buddhas and bodhisattvas and with no wakeup bell looming at 4:10 the next morning!

Buddha’s Birthday on Saturday

Festivities continue on Saturday with music, story-telling, a parade, food, and games. The full schedule is here. And if you’d like an idea of what to expect, you can scroll through pictures from last year. For the vegetarian potluck picnic that follows the elephant parade, the Center will provide veggie burgers and Not Dogs, drinks, and dessert (featuring a pyramid of Lou Anne Jaeger’s legendary cupcakes). Please bring either a main dish or a salad (fruit salad counts). Please take your dishes home with you when you leave – just to simplify cleanup. Please, no meat, poultry or seafood, and size it to serve eight.

If you’re a parade veteran and would be willing to miss it this year to help with food setup, let Dené Granger know (dagrange@syr.edu). You may free a staff member who’s never been in the parade before to follow in the footsteps of the Elephant!

One more note: it’s fine to park on East Avenue, and we also have permission to park in the Arnold Park end of the lot belonging to our next-door neighbor, the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word (entrance on Goodman Street). Be sure not to park in the spots reserved for the Harry Bruno Salon (along the side of the lot closest to our Buddha Hall) or in the Goodman Street end of the lot, which the Church needs for its own volunteers on Saturday.

Esther Gokhale, “Posture Guru of Silicon Valley,” visiting RZC

Esther Gokhale, creator of the Gokhale Method and author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, will be offering two programs on Friday, July 19, both of which will take place at Arnold Park.

The first of these is an all-day Pop-up Course in the Community Room from 9:30 am-4:30 pm. The Pop-up Course is a new offering which provides an in-depth introduction to the Gokhale Method techniques, including hands-on feedback and use of SpineTracker wearable tech. Participants also receive a Stretchsit Cushion, a PDF of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, and a 30-minute online follow-up session with a Gokhale Method teacher. The class size is capped at 20 to ensure an excellent teacher-to-student ratio. This is a wonderful opportunity to learn gentle, effective techniques to reduce and prevent back and neck pain with the founder of the method herself and an additional qualified teacher. The Pop-up Course is a paid event. Please visit the following link for more information and to register: Rochester Pop-Up Course

Esther is also generously offering a Free Workshop at the Center from 8:00 pm-9:00 pm the same day. This event will include techniques for healthy, sustainable meditation postures. Sangha members are invited to attend.

For more information on either of these events, please contact events@gokhalemethod.com.

Jackie Hager’s Senior Recital

Jackie is the daughter of Center member Jonathan Hager and a talented cellist. She’s about to graduate from high school, and she’ll be giving her senior recital in the Hochstein Performance Hall on Tuesday, May 28, at 7:00 pm. There’s a reception that follows. If you’d like to come, RSVP to hagerpark@gmail.com.

Rochester’s First Civic Saturday!

Sangha member Jennifer Byrnes will be giving a “civic sermon” in the Kate Gleason Auditorium at the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, 115 South Avenue, on Saturday, June 8, from 2-3:30 pm. To find out more about Civic Saturday, check out this link.