Thanksgiving and Jukai 2021

This year, after skipping all of the Thanksgiving ceremonies last year, we’re going to resume, taking all the necessary precautions (full vaccination, social distancing, and masks for all participants, along with a zendo ventilation system).

These upcoming ceremonies offer ways to enrich the root of Zen practice with some of the “leaves and branches” that are the more religious features of the Zen Buddhist tradition. Devotions transmit the Dharma by non-verbal means – by action, liturgy, ritual, and decoration. We can enact these teachings this month through these special events:

  • Ceremony of Aid – Thursday, November 18. Our annual remembrance, a week before feasting, of the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who suffer from hunger every day. Residents here at the Center will fast that day so that they can experience that hunger in a very small but visceral way. The ceremony includes the opportunity for participants to offer monetary donations to Oxfam, and these will be matched by the Center within the limits of the Center’s budget.
  • Ceremony of Gratitude – Sunday, November 21. Gratitude may well be the most sublime of emotions. Come this Sunday and let your heart swell in the zendo, hearing personal expressions of gratitude from others and voicing your own. The ceremony includes a circumambulation of the zendo with an offering of powdered incense at the altar. Stay afterward to enjoy some special beverages.
  • Temple Night – Friday, November 26. Come any time between 7 and 10 pm and find the Buddha Hall transformed into a space for free-form devotions and sitting, surrounded by beautifully appointed altars bathed in soft light.
  • Taking the Precepts (Jukai) – Saturday, November 27, at 5 pm in the Buddha Hall. This annual ceremony, open to all whether members or not, gives us the opportunity to further ground our practice by pledging to do our best to live up to the sixteen basic precepts of Buddhism: the Three Treasures, the Three General Resolutions, and the Ten Cardinal Precepts. Don’t shy away from this ceremony because you think you’re not “ready” for it. Nor will you be held accountable by anyone other than yourself. The power this ceremony has to support our spiritual aspirations is boosted by joining with many others who also want to renew theirs. This ceremony really is not about navigating right and wrong, but about fortifying our natural desire not to cause harm. We do that by actually voicing these precepts, bringing us closer to embodying them.

The Ceremonies of Aid, of Gratitude, and of Jukai will all be broadcast via Zoom for those who can’t be here.

In honor of Jukai, Sensei will give a special Saturday teisho (preceded by sitting at 8:30) which will be devoted to Precepts in general. You can also listen to Roshi’s teishos from previous years, two of which are listed below:

Here’s a link to the schedule for Thanksgiving and Jukai (or pick one up in the Link at the Center).

Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner at the Center, 4:00 pm

The Center’s annual Thanksgiving dinner takes place on Thursday, November 25. We’ll deploy our air purifier to help reduce the risk of COVID transmission. If you’d like to come, contact Ian Lindelsee and tell him which vegetarian dish you plan to bring.

Donations of Food and Clothing

For the next two weeks, there’s an opportunity to donate to St. Joseph’s House of Hospitality. In the Center’s Link, there’s a basket where you can drop off non-perishable food (canned or boxed), as well as winter clothes. Here’s the full list, which includes a PayPal button if you wish to make a donation.

Extended Sitting This Sunday

In addition to the Ceremony of Gratitude this Sunday, November 21, there’s also an Extended Sitting which starts at 6:15 am. Here is the full schedule.

Reminder: Rabbi Drorah Setel, Sunday, November 21, 7:00-8:30 pm EST

This free Zoom discussion with Rabbi Drorah Setel will now be ASL-interpreted. All are welcome to register for a free “ticket,” regardless of religious affiliation or tradition. Sangha members, non-members, family, friends, and guests are all invited to attend.

For much more information and to register to receive the unique Zoom link, click here. Any questions about this event or having trouble registering? Please contact Luka.

Reminder: Interfaith service for Trans Day of Remembrance, Saturday, November 20, 4:00 pm EST

Join fellow Sangha members for an interfaith service commemorating Trans Day of Remembrance at 4:00 pm EST on Saturday, November 20. The service is located in the Lodge at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in downtown Rochester. COVID protocols will be followed for the indoor portion.

Following the service, participants are invited to travel to the nearby Liberty Pole for a candlelight vigil in memory of trans people who lost their lives to violence over the past year.

To learn more, visit the Facebook event page for the service as well as the Facebook event page for the vigil.