Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org A sangha in the Soto tradition Fri, 01 May 2015 12:53:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.6.1 Spring 2015 Retreat http://kentzendo.org/spring-2015-retreat/2015/05 http://kentzendo.org/spring-2015-retreat/2015/05#comments Fri, 01 May 2015 12:16:50 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=514 Register for our Spring retreat – June 12-14, 2015

Spring 2015 Retreat at The Hermitage at Beaver Run

June 12-14, 2015

Duffer with his keisaku

What: The retreat will feature several hours of Soto Zen-style sitting and walking meditation (zazen and kinhin) per day, meal-time discussions, dharma talks, and private student-teacher interviews (dokusan). We invite you to gather at the campfire to talk and laugh. Bring poetry to share or spend free time walking in the woods.
(See the schedule for more info.)

Where: The Hermitage at Beaver Run [map] offers a natural setting in rural Ohio – woods, ponds, frogs, turtles, dewdrops on grass blades. We will be staying in the renovated barn: a modern facility with bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, showers, a large meditation room and a library. We may also use the Elder House, a separate cabin. If we run out of beds, some of us may sleep in the meditation room.

Who: Open to beginners and experienced practitioners, the retreat will be lead by Tim McCarthy, a teacher in the lineage of Kobun Chino Otagawa, Roshi. Those new to sitting need not feel obligated to join in all meditations if they find it too difficult, but are encouraged to support the group with their presence as much as possible. We ask that participants not differentiate themselves by using Dharma names or ranks, nor by wearing robes or rakasus.

Chow: We eat well. Great vegetarian dishes all weekend. Participants will be asked to share in the responsibility of cooking, table-setting, and clean-up.

What You’ll Need: If you have a zafu, mat or bench, please bring it. Zafus, zabutons, benches, and chairs will be provided for those who need them. Also, bring bath towels, toiletries, and linens. There are blankets on each bed. We suggest you plan on arriving in the late afternoon or early evening of Friday to get settled and have a good dinner. Due to limited parking, carpooling is encouraged if possible. The drive is about two hours from Kent.

Cost: $50* This includes lodging and vegetarian meals. If money is a problem, we can work something out. All proceeds will be donated to a charity yet-to-be-determined.

* Two Kitchen Scholarships will be available for those who wish to cook.

How: To register for the retreat, fill out this form.

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One Student To Another, On Zazen and Thoughts http://kentzendo.org/one-student-to-another-on-zazen-and-thoughts/2015/04 http://kentzendo.org/one-student-to-another-on-zazen-and-thoughts/2015/04#comments Thu, 02 Apr 2015 05:07:31 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=498 Joe Niati contacted the Kent Zendo to ask about zazen meditation practice. Jayce Renner, a Kent Zendo student, responded. The text below is based on their email conversations during February and March 2015. Download a printable PDF.

Joe Niati:
I have been reading about shikantaza and the zazen art of just sitting. I read Dogen’s instructions. In his treatise he says don’t try to think and don’t try not to think. I have been struggling with these words and don’t really know how I should approach zazen. What is a good way of practicing zazen? I am already proficient in counting the breath. Unfortunately, making a trip to Kent, Ohio would be difficult for me. Any feedback and suggestions on how I should practice would be great thanks!

Jayce Renner:
Thanks for writing. Good to hear you’re sitting and doing zazen.

I’d suggest trying to find a trustworthy teacher or Zen group near where you live to support your practice in person. Or if possible, attend a beginner’s retreat with a teacher so you can create a relationship.

Without more info, it would be hard for us to advise you. Over email, it might be very difficult. You might try giving our teacher Tim McCarthy a call. His phone number is (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

I find Dogen at times can be mysterious. If you haven’t already, you might try reading other books like Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind or Nothing Special or Three Pillars of Zen. These books offer lots of practical advice.

Perhaps a more typical “Zen” answer to your question would be: keep sitting! ;)

But seriously, please let me know if I can help further, and please stay in touch.

JN:
I will definitely check those books out. I will try to look for a Zen teacher! I also practice a form of qigong called zhan zhuang or standing meditation where I hold certain postures for extended periods of time; allowing everything that arises to part of my standing experience. When you say “keep sitting!” should I maintain the same mentality I do when practicing standing meditation? That is, should I just sit down face a wall and kind of just sit? I know your instructions are simple, but for some reason my mind just can’t accept that, to sit in zazen.

JR:
Speaking as one student to another, it sounds to me like you should do the practice that seems to call you most. I’m not very familiar with qigong. But to use your own words, allowing everything that arises to be a part of your sitting experience, sounds good, if you want to try shikantaza. I wouldn’t sit for more than 40 minutes at a time, without standing or walking. “Kind of just sit” might be a little too loose, yet, in the end “just sitting” is “just sitting.”

Which mind can’t accept zazen? Perhaps that’s just where your practice is at. Or perhaps standing is simply more important for you. I can’t tell which, but maybe it’s a question for you. Sitting can have many different qualities that come and go too.

I hope that all helps. If not, I’m going to Zen hell for sure.

JN:
Thanks for your response. It was really helpful. When sitting facing a wall should I just allow my mind to wander or be as it is? Or should I try to block my thoughts out?

JR:
While maintaining the sitting posture, I try to let my thoughts come and go, not blocking them, but noticing them, without judgement.

My teacher, Tim, talks about a bird cage. The mind is like a chirping bird. But if you close the door on the cage, the bird can chirp all it wants to, and you know the bird is safe, and you don’t worry about it. Maintaining the posture is like closing the bird cage. The mind just goes on and on. But it’s not a problem.

JN:
Thanks for the advice. I think I have all I need to really begin my zazen practice. So if I got this right, it’s maintaining zazen posture, noticing my thoughts, and staring at a wall, haha. That’s all I need to do?

JR:
I think that’s it in a nutshell. It can take 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master, so to speak.

JN:
What do I do when my mind wanders? What do I do if I keep thinking that I’m doing this wrong, and I feel like I’m just sitting idly and nothing is happening?

JR:
I’d suggest you notice the mind wandering, notice those thoughts … and keep sitting. That’s just the content of your practice, nothing to worry about. I think these thoughts are fairly common among everyone doing zazen, at one point or another. So you aren’t alone at all in that experience. I still wonder if I’m “doing it right” sometimes. When that happens, I try to notice that and return to just sitting.

JN:
Does one have to maintain the mudra with the hands? Or can one just rest the hands on the thighs while sitting?

JR:
What will support your practice best? Personally, I maintain the mudra during sitting. It’s a part of the zazen posture, so it’s recommended.

At the Kent Zendo, we allow people to change the posture if they wish, so long as it doesn’t disturb others. Other Zen groups would find that to be heretical.

JN:
How does one “notice the mind”?

JR:
I think it’s something to grow into, but also know that beginners and even experienced sitters can tend to worry too much about thoughts during sitting, in my humble opinion.

Also, the books I recommended would generally address this topic too.

Sorry I can’t help more on that one.

JN:
I feel like the practice of shikantaza kind of sounds like Vipassana without concentrating on the breath or any object whatsoever. To me this sounds like staring at a wall and letting the mind wander. If this is so is it actually possible for the mind to come to a complete halt all by its own? By that I mean what is the difference between letting my mind wander and sitting in zazen? I know you told me your master talks about the posture being in and of itself perfection. Maybe it will just take practice and several hours of sitting in zazen for the truth to be realized?

JR:
I agree that this all gets clearer with practice, over time. I haven’t done Vipassana, but from what others have told me, it seems there are some similarities.

“Letting the mind wander” isn’t how I’d characterize zazen, actually. Maybe that phrase suggests encouraging thought or being preoccupied.

If you’re preoccupied, notice that. If your mind seems busy, notice that. Zazen isn’t one thing, it’s all of the above. So long as you maintain the posture, you’re “doing it.”

At the same time, in zazen, we try to “let thoughts go.” Sensei Craig Horton at the Cleveland Buddhist Temple says, using a common metaphor, it’s like clouds in a blue sky. The clouds are your thoughts. Let them go. Sit in the blue sky.

Imagine making a fist, and then opening your hand. A fist suggests grasping, and with an open palm we let things come and go. When you’re outside you might say, “Look, there’s a cloud… there it goes.” Just like thoughts, clouds arise and then disappear.

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Fall 2014 Retreat http://kentzendo.org/fall-2014-retreat/2014/09 http://kentzendo.org/fall-2014-retreat/2014/09#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 01:35:03 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=466 Register for our Fall retreat – October 17-19, 2014

Fall 2014 Retreat at The Hermitage at Beaver Run

October 17-19, 2014

Duffer with his keisaku

What: The retreat will feature several hours of Soto Zen-style sitting and walking meditation (zazen and kinhin) per day, meal-time discussions, dharma talks, and private student-teacher interviews (dokusan). We invite you to gather at the campfire to talk and laugh. Bring poetry to share or spend free time walking in the woods.
(See the schedule for more info.)

Where: The Hermitage at Beaver Run [map] offers a natural setting in rural Ohio – woods, ponds, frogs, turtles, dewdrops on grass blades. We will be staying in the renovated barn: a modern facility with bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, showers, a large meditation room and a library. We may also use the Elder House, a separate cabin. If we run out of beds, some of us may sleep in the meditation room.

Who: Open to beginners and experienced practitioners, the retreat will be lead by Tim McCarthy, a teacher in the lineage of Kobun Chino Otagawa, Roshi. Those new to sitting need not feel obligated to join in all meditations if they find it too difficult, but are encouraged to support the group with their presence as much as possible. We ask that participants not differentiate themselves by using Dharma names or ranks, nor by wearing robes or rakasus.

Chow: We eat well. Great vegetarian dishes all weekend. Participants will be asked to share in the responsibility of cooking, table-setting, and clean-up.

What You’ll Need: If you have a zafu, mat or bench, please bring it. Zafus, zabutons, benches, and chairs will be provided for those who need them. Also, bring bath towels, toiletries, and linens. There are blankets on each bed. We suggest you plan on arriving in the late afternoon or early evening of Friday to get settled and have a good dinner. Due to limited parking, carpooling is encouraged if possible. The drive is about two hours from Kent or half an hour from Millersburg.

Cost: $50* This includes lodging and vegetarian meals. If money is a problem, we can work something out. All proceeds will be donated to a charity yet-to-be-determined.

* Two Kitchen Scholarships will be available for those who wish to cook.

How: To register for the retreat, fill out this form.

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“Plato’s Labyrinth” and “Tree Walking and the Stone Forest” http://kentzendo.org/platos-labyrinth/2014/06 http://kentzendo.org/platos-labyrinth/2014/06#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 02:01:58 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=459 The Documents page now links two new items:

1. William Welton’s site Plato’s Labyrinth

2. An essay by Brigitta Albares - Tree Walking and the Stone Forest

Please enjoy!

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Spring 2014 Retreat http://kentzendo.org/spring-2014-retreat/2014/05 http://kentzendo.org/spring-2014-retreat/2014/05#comments Wed, 14 May 2014 01:37:11 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=449 Register for our Spring retreat – June 6-8, 2014

Spring 2014 Retreat at The Hermitage at Beaver Run

June 6-8, 2014

Duffer with his keisaku

What: The retreat will feature several hours of Soto Zen-style sitting and walking meditation (zazen and kinhin) per day, and meal-time discussions. We invite you to gather at the campfire to talk and laugh. Bring poetry to share or spend free time walking in the woods.
(See the schedule for more info.)

Where: The Hermitage at Beaver Run [map] offers a natural setting in rural Ohio – woods, ponds, frogs, turtles, dewdrops on grass blades. We will be staying in the renovated barn: a modern facility with bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, showers, a large meditation room and a library. We may also use the Elder House, a separate cabin. If we run out of beds, some of us may sleep in the meditation room.

Who: Open to beginners and experienced practitioners. Those new to sitting need not feel obligated to join in all meditations if they find it too difficult, but are encouraged to support the group with their presence as much as possible. We ask that participants not differentiate themselves by using Dharma names or ranks, nor by wearing robes or rakasus.

Chow: We eat well. Great vegetarian dishes all weekend. Participants will be asked to share in the responsibility of cooking, table-setting, and clean-up.

What You’ll Need: If you have a zafu, mat or bench, please bring it. Zafus, zabutons, benches, and chairs will be provided for those who need them. Also, bring bath towels, toiletries, and linens. There are blankets on each bed. We suggest you plan on arriving in the late afternoon or early evening of Friday to get settled and have a good dinner. Due to limited parking, carpooling is encouraged if possible. The drive is about two hours from Kent or half an hour from Millersburg.

Cost: $50* This includes lodging and vegetarian meals. If money is a problem, we can work something out. All proceeds will be donated to a charity yet-to-be-determined.

* Two Kitchen Scholarships will be available for those who wish to cook.

How: To register for the retreat, fill out this form.

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Fall 2013 Retreat http://kentzendo.org/fall-2013-retreat/2013/09 http://kentzendo.org/fall-2013-retreat/2013/09#comments Wed, 18 Sep 2013 02:11:03 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=437 Register for our Fall retreat – October 4-6, 2013

Fall 2013 Retreat at The Hermitage at Beaver Run

October 4-6, 2013

Duffer with his keisaku

What: The retreat will feature several hours of Soto Zen-style sitting and walking meditation (zazen and kinhin) per day, meal-time discussions, dharma talks, and private student-teacher interviews (dokusan). We invite you to gather at the campfire to talk and laugh. Bring poetry to share or spend free time walking in the woods.
(See the schedule for more info.)

Where: The Hermitage at Beaver Run [map] offers a natural setting in rural Ohio – woods, ponds, frogs, turtles, dewdrops on grass blades. We will be staying in the renovated barn: a modern facility with bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, showers, a large meditation room and a library. We may also use the Elder House, a separate cabin. If we run out of beds, some of us may sleep in the meditation room.

Who: Open to beginners and experienced practitioners, the retreat will be lead by Tim McCarthy, a teacher in the lineage of Kobun Chino Otagawa, Roshi. Those new to sitting need not feel obligated to join in all meditations if they find it too difficult, but are encouraged to support the group with their presence as much as possible. We ask that participants not differentiate themselves by using Dharma names or ranks, nor by wearing robes or rakasus.

Chow: We eat well. Great vegetarian dishes all weekend. Participants will be asked to share in the responsibility of cooking, table-setting, and clean-up.

What You’ll Need: If you have a zafu, mat or bench, please bring it. Zafus, zabutons, benches, and chairs will be provided for those who need them. Also, bring bath towels, toiletries, and linens. There are blankets on each bed. We suggest you plan on arriving in the late afternoon or early evening of Friday to get settled and have a good dinner. Due to limited parking, carpooling is encouraged if possible. The drive is about two hours from Kent or half an hour from Millersburg.

Cost: $50* This includes lodging and vegetarian meals. If money is a problem, we can work something out. All proceeds will be donated to a charity yet-to-be-determined.

* Two Kitchen Scholarships will be available for those who wish to cook.

How: To register for the retreat, fill out this form.

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Spring 2013 Retreat http://kentzendo.org/spring-2013-retreat/2013/04 http://kentzendo.org/spring-2013-retreat/2013/04#comments Sun, 21 Apr 2013 15:10:02 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=382 Register for our spring retreat – May 31-June 2, 2013

Spring 2013 Retreat at The Hermitage at Beaver Run

May 31-June 2, 2013

Duffer with his keisaku

What: The retreat will feature several hours of Soto Zen-style sitting and walking meditation (zazen and kinhin) per day, meal-time discussions, dharma talks, and private student-teacher interviews (dokusan). We invite you to gather at the campfire to talk and laugh. Bring poetry to share or spend free time walking in the woods.
(See the schedule for more info.)

Where: The Hermitage at Beaver Run [map] offers a natural setting in rural Ohio – woods, ponds, frogs, turtles, dewdrops on grass blades. We will be staying in the renovated barn: a modern facility with bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, showers, a large meditation room and a library. We may also use the Elder House, a separate cabin. If we run out of beds, some of us may sleep in the meditation room.

Who: Open to beginners and experienced practitioners, the retreat will be lead by Tim McCarthy, a teacher in the lineage of Kobun Chino Otagawa, Roshi. Those new to sitting need not feel obligated to join in all meditations if they find it too difficult, but are encouraged to support the group with their presence as much as possible. We ask that participants not differentiate themselves by using Dharma names or ranks, nor by wearing robes or rakasus.

Chow: We eat well. Great vegetarian dishes all weekend. Participants will be asked to share in the responsibility of cooking, table-setting, and clean-up.

What You’ll Need: If you have a zafu, mat or bench, please bring it. Zafus, zabutons, benches, and chairs will be provided for those who need them. Also, bring bath towels, toiletries, and linens. There are blankets on each bed. We suggest you plan on arriving in the late afternoon or early evening of Friday to get settled and have a good dinner. Due to limited parking, carpooling is encouraged if possible. The drive is about two hours from Kent or half an hour from Millersburg.

Cost: $50* This includes lodging and vegetarian meals. If money is a problem, we can work something out. All proceeds will be donated to a charity yet-to-be-determined.

* Two Kitchen Scholarships will be available for those who wish to cook.

How: To register for the retreat, fill out this form.

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Kent Zendo in the News http://kentzendo.org/kent-zendo-in-the-news/2013/03 http://kentzendo.org/kent-zendo-in-the-news/2013/03#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 00:55:44 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=371 3/19/2013 kentwired.com article.

3/19/2013 kentwired.com article.

Chrissy Suttles wrote a nice article on kentwired.com about the Kent Zendo’s activities on and off the Kent State campus today.

 

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Monday Sittings Added http://kentzendo.org/monday-sittings-added/2013/01 http://kentzendo.org/monday-sittings-added/2013/01#comments Wed, 16 Jan 2013 01:42:49 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=345 by Wade M

photo by Wade M

Thanks to Arthur and Ben, we’ve added a Monday evening sitting to our schedule — 6 pm in room 311 at the Kent State Student Center. Like all of our events, these meetings are open to the public.

Rumor has it these sessions will include some chanting of the Heart Sutra.

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Fall 2012 Retreat Thanks http://kentzendo.org/fall-2012-retreat-thanks/2012/11 http://kentzendo.org/fall-2012-retreat-thanks/2012/11#comments Wed, 21 Nov 2012 03:35:09 +0000 Kent Zendo http://kentzendo.org/?p=332 Thanks to everyone who participated in our retreat this past weekend. Thanks to you and our hosts at the Hermitage, we raised $300 for the Cleveland Foodbank!

 

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