April 2015 Newsletter

Words from Ejo

Sandhill Cranes Preach the Dharma 
to the Marsh Assembly

old, red hatted lovers
never far apart

snatching snacks from the mud
now still, eyes shut for a nap

each kiss:
   of the wind
   of the birdsong
   of the lips

a jeweled land revealed



The upcoming sesshin (meditation intensive) will take place April 29 - May 3.  Several times a year we make time to sit quietly for an extended period.  This kind of practice allows us an opportunity to profoundly encounter the world of practicing together with all beings. Because we step back from the normal ways of engaging the world, a more subtle truth about the nature of mind and the profound mutuality of life can be revealed.  If you are able to arrange your schedule, please join in for part or all of the program. 

The final day of the sesshin, Sunday, May 3rd at 10 AM, five members of our community will receive the precepts through an ancient ritual.  Whether you are able to attend the sesshin or not, please come and support them as they walk through this important gate. For more information about Jukai, please see the article below.

More information about the sesshin and sign up forms are available on the Sangha board in the front room or here.

What is Jukai?

 The Soto Zen tradition includes a lay ordination called Jukai, the receiving of the Bodhisattva precepts. Jukai is an acknowledgement of one's formal alignment with the Bodhisattva vow to free all beings.  The student is joining the rank of the myriad Buddhas, recognizing Buddhanature in everything and everybody. 

After receiving permission from the priest to take Jukai, the student begins a study of the precepts. At the same time, she or he begins to sew a rakusu, a small bib-like version of Buddha's robe.  

This culminates in a ceremony in which the student takes refuge in the Three Treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and agrees to uphold the Three Pure Precepts and the Ten Grave Precepts. During the ceremony, the new bodhisattva receives a dharma name and a document tracing her or his lineage to Shakyamuni Buddha. In this participatory ceremony, the sangha members who have received the precepts renew their vows in support and encouragement of the new bodhisattva.

The Jukai ceremony will take place on May 3 at 10 am. Students taking Jukai are Jason Clark, Karuna Neustadt, Mike Sims, Justin Woodward, and Rain Zeccolo.  We invite you to attend the Jukai ceremony and support these sangha members who are taking the precepts.

- Soen


Shushogi Class

The Shushogi is a compilation of Great Master Dogen’s ideas, put together by the Soto Zen school in Japan early in the last century. It was created as an introduction to Dogen and as a means of communicating ideas fundamental to Soto Zen practice. Studying the Shushogi is an opportunity to encounter Dogen's teachings in a more direct manner and it is written in a way which  allows us to more easily apply  it in our daily lives.  If you have been involved in Dogen classes at the temple you will be familiar with what is presented here; however, it provides an excellent review and has a directness that is refreshing. If you are relatively new to Dogen’s writing, the Shushogi offers an excellent introduction and instruction in how to apply the teachings in practice.

There will be six class meetings, on Tuesdayevenings April 14 - May 19.  Each class we will take up one of the six sections, read and discuss them in class.

June-e notes that she feels lucky to have studied the Shushogi during preparation for taking the Precepts and it is particularly applicable for those about to take that step and for all of us to review and renew our deep commitment to Practice.

- June-e and Anyu

11th Anniversary and Hall Completion Celebration  

Please join the celebration of our 11th anniversary and the completion of the new hall on May 31stfrom 12 noon. Every year it is a pleasure to gather our Zendo community and appreciate our good fortune. This year we are especially grateful for all the hard work and commitment that has seen us through the construction of the new hall.

The Schedule for the day is:
9:00 Morning Service
9:20 Zazen
10:00 Preparation for Celebration
12:00 Short talk and ceremony
12:45 Lunch and Fun!

Please bring friends and family and enjoy an afternoon of community. We will have a stage set up, so please bring a talent to share. A couple of members have volunteered to play music, but we could use some more acts.

Buddha Eye Community Meeting

It is our custom to hold a community meeting each spring to discuss important topics for the temple and gather ideas from the sangha.  With all the construction and other happenings the board temporarily postponed our community meeting.  It feels more like time for celebration.  So we will forgo the community meeting until fall, and concentrate on the anniversary and completion of the hall celebration scheduled for May 31st. See the article elsewhere in the bulletin for details about the celebration.

Board Report

At its April meeting the Board discussed the remaining items to be finished on the remodel, how we will fund them and the process of closing out that account.

We put the details in place for our spring fundraiser, which will be Larry Deckman's Astronomy Show onFriday, May 15th, at 7PM, and will be followed by coffee, tea and desserts for sale. See the article about this exciting fundraising event elsewhere in the Bulletin.

Lastly, the date has finally been set for our formal hall dedication ceremony and celebration, onSunday, September 13th with the gamelan orchestra, Sari Pandawa.  Details can be found in the article about the celebration, elsewhere in the bulletin.


Astronomy Slideshow Fundraiser

Our spring fundraiser this year will feature Larry Deckman and his astronomy show "A Journey to the Outskirts of the Universe." on Friday, May 15th at 7PM at the Zendo.

This 60 minute, consciousness-expanding journey takes you beyond Earth's atmosphere until you are seeing our home planet from 150 miles up.  Ascending higher, you'll reach the Moon and the planets of our solar system. Then it's off to the stars and clouds of the Milky Way galaxy, followed by vast and beautiful clusters of galaxies at the edge of the universe.
The show is narrated by Larry and illustrated entirely with many amazing photographs from NASA and the world's great telescopes.
Larry Deckman is a long time Eugene resident, dedicated amateur astronomer, inventor, and non -adversarial lawyer of more than 30 years .

Please plan on Inviting friends and family, as this program received a very enthusiastic response last time we offered it and Larry has added many new space photographs since then.

The show will be followed by coffee, tea and desserts for sale, for which we need some volunteers to donate homemade baked goods.

- Thelma

Celebration of the Life and Awakening of the Buddha

Come join Zen West for meditation and reflection on the Buddha’s life and awakening as we approach the birthday of Gautama Buddha. After listening to a long version of his life story, participants will be invited to reflect on what appeared as most alive for them and share what it’s like to embody that experience. This program was created at Zen West, based on a ceremony that is conducted at Pacific Zen Instititue (PZI) each year. All are welcome.

This is a great opportunity to mingle and get to know other sanghas in the area while we celebrate the life of the Buddha together in this unique way. Coffee, tea and cake will be served

For more information contact Karen (Aido) Waskow at 541-543-5344 or email:zenwesteugene@gmail.com 

April Work Party

Sangha work parties are on the fourth Sunday of the month. The next work party is on Sunday, April 26 from 12-3 pm. There is still lots of landscaping to do, so we need lots of folks to help. It's helpful, but not necessary, that you stay for the whole time; you are welcome to come for only an hour. Lunch will be provided.

Construction Update

Our final inspections are complete, and we are enjoying regular practice in the new hall! While there is still landscaping work and some interior furnishings to finish over the next several months, the hall is complete.  There is plenty of room, and it is a pleasure to be so connected to the outdoors.  Now it is time to anchor the project with zazen and good cheer