October 2014 Newsletter

Guest Teacher October 7th

  Issho Fujita   Soto Zen Buddhism International Center

Issho Fujita
Soto Zen Buddhism International Center

Guest Teacher Issho Fujita-sensei, Director of the Soto Zen International Center, will visit Buddha Eye Temple on Tuesday, October 7, offering a dharma talk following evening zazen (which will begin, as normal, at 7pm). 

Issho Fujita was born in 1954 in Japan. Through meeting with an acupuncture master, he was led to zazen practice when he was a graduate student in developmental psychology. Eventually, he dropped out of school and entered Antaiji Monastery, receiving ordination and practicing full-time as a monk for about five years. After training at Antaiji, Rev. Fujita came to the United States to become a resident teacher at Pioneer Valley Zendo in Massachusetts. He stayed there from 1987 until 2005. He returned to Japan with his family in 2005 and in 2010 he was appointed Director of the International Center of Soto Zen Buddhism located in San Francisco.

Fujita-sensei is quite fluent in English and, according to those who have heard him teach in the past, an extremely engaging speaker with a nuanced understanding of dharma and of zazen practice. Please make the time to join us for this unique opportunity!

Temple Community Dinner Saturday, October 25 6PM

Meeting together to study and practice the Buddha's teachings is, of course, the defining feature of a sangha, but we also hope to encourage people to meet in a less formal setting and to explore the dharma of good food and revelry! In that spirit, Butsugenji will be hosting a community dinner to be held at 6 PM on Saturday, October 25 in the residents' area upstairs. We'll post sign-up sheets for food and drinks on the sangha bulletin board shortly--Mexican dishes (particularly tamales!) will serve as the foundation, and we'll also ask for drinks, deserts, and salads. Please bring something to share if you can!

Sesshin October 17-19

From Friday, October 17 at 5:00 AM through the morning of Sunday, October 19, we will conduct sesshin.  Sesshin is, in the most literal sense of the word, an occasion to "gather the mind." Together, we establish and maintain a space in which to engage practice wholeheartedly with our body, heart, and mind, setting aside the picking and choosing which are the landscape of our ordinary lives.  

Sesshin at Butsugenji feature periods of zazen throughout the morning, afternoon and evening, chanting, work practice, teisho (formal dharma talks) and sanzen. Meals are eaten formal oryoki-style, with extra sets of bowls available at the temple. Beginners are more than welcome--please contact us to arange an orientation to sesshin (particularly if you don't have oryoki experience). Sign-up forms are available on the Sangha bulletin board. Feel free to attend all or part of the sesshin, but please register as far in advance as possible. Donations--both monetary and also of soup and/or bread for evening meals--are, as always, greatly appreciated. 


Fusatsu is a monthly ceremony of atonement, held at Butsugenji on the date of the full moon. This month, we will conduct Fusatsu on Wednesday the 8th, with zazen at 7 PM, followed by the ceremony. It derives from the original Buddhist sangha in India, with monks and nuns publicly acknowledging violations of the Vinaya, or monastic precepts. 

Those who have received the Bodhisattva precepts are particularly encouraged to attend and to join us in renewing, in a concrete way, our vow to awaken. All, of course, are welcome, and Fusatsu is an excellent opportunity both to learn about the letter of the precepts and to experience the ritual space which has, for centuries, carried their spirit to successive generations of practitioners. 

Hearkening back to the original custom, at Butsugenji participants are invited to publicly atone for violations of the precepts just prior to the more formal ceremony. During this time, it is completely fine to remain silent, offering incense and a full bow or simply passing the incense brazier to the next person. The ceremony features a number of prostrations, but it is fine to remain seated in a chair or to do standing bows. 

Six Week Foundations of Buddhist Teaching series starts Tuesday October 14th at 7 PM 

Periodically at Butsugenji, we make a point to "go back to the basics," which in this context means the most foundational teachings of the Buddhist tradition--the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the 12-link chain of Dependent Origination, karma, and so forth. Though Zen is stereotypically portrayed as "a special transmission outside the scriptures," this kind of study can both enliven our practice and help reorient the way we understand our experience toward a view more in accord with enlightenment. 

Classes, which will happen on a weekly basis from Tuesday, October 14 through Tuesday, November 18 will be led by senior Butsugenji students, each of whom will tackle particular aspects of foundational Buddha-Dharma. Zazen will begin at 7 PM, with class itself starting around 7:35. It is best to attend zazen beforehand, but if that isn't possible, feel free to come in later for the class. No registration is necessary, and drop-ins are welcome, as the classes won't necessarily be sequential. 

Temple Construction Update

We are well aware that one of our most basic needs is to have “a roof over our head.” Well, as you swing by the Temple it is very clear that we will soon have a roof over the extension. In addition, you will see that extensive work on the landscaping is well underway. Clearly, significant progress has been made.
Also, we have been most appreciative of the Sangha’s response to the need for additional funding to meet unforeseen costs with the firewall and foundation work. The target of $30,000 has been met through the addition of new lenders, loan increases from the Lender’s Group, and by donations from the Sangha. Unfortunatley, we are not out of the woods. The full impact of the engineering and other City requirements for the firewall is now being realized in terms of increases in the total amount of work required, materials needed, and scheduled time resulting in additional costs. In effect, we have determined we need to raise an additional $15,000. 
Invitation to contribute:  Sangha members are invited to examine their situation to see if they have the capability to contribute to meet this additional target of $15,000. The four possibilities that have served us so well thus far are:

  1. Become a Lender. There may be some members who are in a position to lend $5000 or more.
  2. Find other Lenders: You may have a friend or know a supportive community member who may be willing to become a Lender.
  3. Lender’s Group to increase their loan. Some members of the current Lender’s Group may be able to increase the loan that they have already made.
  4. Special Donation. You may be able to make a specific donation. 

If any of these options are in your reach, or if you have additional questions, please contact a member of the Finance Committee:

Geoff Colvin: (541) 915-1645; email − geoffcolvin@comcast.net
Issei Weil: (541) 514-1214; email − rjweil@yahoo.com
Ejo McMullen: (541) 302-4576; email − ejo@eugenezendo.org