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Coming Up: Introductory Seminar

“It is essential at the beginning of practice to acknowledge that the path is personal and intimate. It is no good to examine it from a distance as if it were someone else’s. You must walk it for yourself.” – Robert Aitken, Taking the Path of Zen

This Saturday is our introductory seminar! During this three-hour class, you can meet the teachers, ask questions about Zen, become familiar with our practice forms and learn how to meditate in a correct zazen posture.

The class runs from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Mayu Sanctuary, and the cost is $35. After attending the class you are welcome to join us for our regular morning and evening sittings.

If interested, please email us at office@zencenterofdenver.org or call 303-455-1500.

Leaving Home

farewell 3

On Sunday, August 30th, about thirty members gathered to participate in a farewell ceremony to express our gratitude and formally take leave of our temple home of seventeen years.

We had moved everything out the day before, so the Temple was clean and empty, free of ornament and clutter, yet clearly showing all the loving work that restored and maintained it over our years of stewardship. Even more palpable was the sense of so many hours and years of zazen and practice.

The ceremony began with strikes on the han, the lighting of candles and incense on the small altar, and three prostrations to each of the four directions. Our Maha-kinhin was led by Ken holding our incense offering. We processed through the entire temple chanting the Kanzeon sutra accompanied by bell and umpan.

On returning to the main zendo, we stood in a circle in silence as the densho tolled 108 times. Peggy read the “Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage” by Shitou Xigian, followed by a special dedication (below) and the bell-and-block ceremony, Finally, Karin performed the formal closing of the eyes of the Buddha.

Our special dedication, written by ZCD member Bill Hamaker:

As we leave this place, our practice home of many years,
We offer our gratitude to this sacred space:
To our temple that has nurtured us and given us sanctuary and sustenance,
To the temple of the earth and sky, the temple of fire and water,
And to the wisdom-temple of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
May we go forward knowing that the temple is always within us, around us, wherever we are.
May we keep the temple ever open to:

All beings throughout space and time
All bodhisattva-mahasattvas
The Great Prajna Paramita.

farewell 2

Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage

I’ve built a grass hut where there’s nothing of value.
grass roof
After eating, I relax and enjoy a nap.
When it was completed, fresh weeds appeared.
Now it’s been lived in – covered by weeds.
The person in the hut lives here calmly,
Not stuck to inside, outside, or in between.
Places worldly people live, he doesn’t live.
Realms worldly people love, he doesn’t love.
Though the hut is small, it includes the entire world.
In ten square feet, an old man illumines forms and their nature.
A Great Vehicle bodhisattva trusts without doubt.
The middling or lowly can’t help wondering;
Will this hut perish or not?
Perishable or not, the original master is present,
not dwelling south or north, east or west.
Firmly based on steadiness, it can’t be surpassed.
A shining window below the green pines –
Jade palaces or vermilion towers can’t compare with it.
Just sitting with head covered, all things are at rest.
Thus, this mountain monk doesn’t understand at all.
Living here he no longer works to get free.
Who would proudly arrange seats, trying to entice guests?
Turn around the light to shine within, then just return.
The vast inconceivable source can’t be faced or turned away from.
Meet the ancestral teachers, be familiar with their instruction,
Bind grasses to build a hut, and don’t give up.
Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Open your hands and walk, innocent.
Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
Are only to free you from obstructions.
If you want to know the undying person in the hut,
Don’t separate from this skin bag here and now.

Shitou Xiqian
(From Taigen Daniel Leighton’s Cultivating the Empty Field)