11th Hour Mindfulness Workshop Oct. 3 & 17: Preparing for Death and Dying

This online two-part workshop on death and dying on Oct. 3 & 17 from 9:30 a.m. – noon each day will focus on preparing for your death, including planning and making decisions about advance directives. Advance directive planning will include medical power of attorney, living wills and do-not-resuscitate orders. The workshop will also focus on being present and prepared for your own death and dying process, and will include time to reflect on your death, what you need to be prepared emotionally and spiritually, and what is important at end of life. There will be a guided death meditation, teachings, activities and time for dialogue during these sessions.

The workshop will be led by ZCD member Ginny Swenson, a longtime educator and social worker in hospice. She has developed this 11th-hour training for volunteers in hospice centered on how to be present and be with someone who is dying in their final hours. She also teaches at the Community College of Denver on the psychology of death and dying.

Please sign up in advance via Meetup.com at https://www.meetup.com/Zen-Center-of-Denver-Events/events/273140437/ . There is no set fee for the workshop, but a donation of your choosing to help support the Center is much appreciated. Donate via Paypal at https://zencenterofdenver.org/donate-2/ or via Zelle to office@zencenterofdenver.org. Thank you for your support!

Summer Blooms: Temple Landscaping

With summer here, we have made great strides toward completing the landscaping around the temple. Under the guidance of Desirae Wood of Dobro Design, who travelled from Portland, Oregon, to help supervise the project, the crew from Phase One Landscapes spent days placing literally hundreds of xeric plants, including blue and golden columbine, yarrow and snow-in-summer.

In coming weeks we look forward to planting drought-resistant buffalo grass around the yard’s perimeter and to the final placement of gravel in the enclosed Zen garden, which will essentially complete the landscaping. As the years pass and the garden becomes more established, the temple grounds will truly be transformed into a place of beauty and serenity.

Our deep thanks to Desi and the crew from Phase One, who worked so hard to make this dream a reality. Thanks also to the members of our landscaping committee, who have likewise been investing much labor and energy in maintaining and making improvements to the grounds of the main temple and to our adjoining property at 1852 S. Columbine. Gassho!

Compassion Can Be the Cure

By Dennis Sienko

Due to Covid-19, we are living in a heightened sense of unknowing that escalates nervousness in our society and ourselves. This in turn, affects our health almost as much as the virus itself and affects how we relate to others. We see people arguing and getting violent about social distancing precautions, whether to wear a facemask or even to attend a large church or spiritual gathering. How a person acts in relation to other people depends on one’s internal sense of well-being. If one is excited and nervous, they will tend to act irrationally and with judgement.

One of the best cures or remedies for this excited, nervous and irrational condition is zazen. Zazen allows the nervousness, worry and sorrow from these times to become more manageable by calming the mind. After regular periods of zazen, one begins to become more peaceful and poised. We begin to cultivate a deep, wonderful inner quiet from which compassion naturally arises. This compassion helps us to accept life’s experiences as they are. It helps us relate to others in a way that does not escalate into violence.

Yúnyán asked, “The bodhisattva of great compassion uses the many hands and eyes for what?” Dàowú said, “As if it’s night and a person gropes with their hand behind their body for the pillow.”

In other words, compassion flows naturally, without effort. It flows without expecting something in return. Compassion is always present. The secret is to allow it to flow.

You are by nature compassionate. Use your many hands and eyes and bring forth that compassion. First, start by using many of those hands to give yourself a hug. See the world through the eyes of others. Compassion is the cure to this virus. We need to show compassion to people we agree with and to those we disagree with. We need to show compassion to all sentient beings, small and large.

If we can become more compassionate, we as individuals can make the world a better, safer place. Start with daily zazen practice, trust the process and all will be as it should be.


By Ken Tetsuzan Morgareidge

The gnarled and ancient silver maple has burst forth

with a thousand thousand leaves.

The lilac blossoms out in glowing royal purple

gems far too many to count.

Tulips emerge in colors from winter’s frozen crypt

and open to the risen sun.

The roses, roused at last from storm-caused dormancy,

send shoots among the dried out canes.

Pruning, trimming, mowing, planting, feeding, watering,

all the loving labors of spring.

Birds flit past in search of a branch on which to nest,

lay their eggs, transmit their dharma.

Just look!—every leaf, blossom, new blade of grass

is nothing but your own true being.

Mindfulness Workshop May 16: Love Is an Awesome Power

The Zen Center of Denver will again be co-sponsoring a half-day mindfulness workshop on Saturday, May 16, from 9:30 a.m. – noon on Zoom with our friend Janet Solyntjes, a certified mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) teacher and co-founder of the Center for Courageous Living.

Love Is an Awesome Power

Janet Solyntjes

“We all need love and encouragement. We need to feel it personally and we need to be able to express it to others.”

In this workshop we will explore how the practice of meditation is the basis for accessing and strengthening the power of heartfulness and love. Specific meditation and contemplation practices will bring focus to the innate qualities of loving-kindness and compassion, allowing for a felt sense of how these qualities can become the undercurrent of our daily lives.

Join in an onlive “live” session which will include meditation practice, teachings, exercises and dialogue.

Saturday, May 16, 9:30 a.m. – noon (MT) on Zoom

Suggestion donation: $50 (sliding scale available)

To register or for more information, please email janet@thecenterforcourageousliving.com.

The Sweetness of Today


By Peggy Metta Sheehan

Good morning, friends. I thought I might continue the thread of Pooh and friends. The photo and caption really say it all, so feel free not to read anymore.

Feel free to simply enjoy the sweetness of today, the warmth and tenderness of connection. Whether you live alone or with family, roommates, pets, or plants, drop beneath the surface of interaction and truly enjoy connection to one another, to one’s self, to birds, trees and clouds.

Feel the support of your home and the earth as you gently and thoughtfully move within it. Tread lightly and carefully with all of the “things” that support you today – your toothbrush and dishes, your books and computers, your socks and shoes, your chairs and countertops. Be nourished not just by the food and drink that you take in, but also by each breath that you inhale and by each sight, sound, smell and touch that invites you again and again to this day.