From the ango opening retreat Peaceful Dwelling in early March through the greening trees and blossoms of Shuso Hossen in late May, here are highlights from our ninety-days of sangha practice at the Monastery in Spring 2019:
In May, Shugen Roshi officiated the spring Jukai ceremony at the Monastery in which the following six students received the sixteen Buddhist precepts: Tess Kisei (“Noble Vow”) Edmonds, Richard Seigen (“Sacred Eye”) Mocciaro, Ian Joren (“Pure Undivided Truth”) Falcon, Bruce Getsudo (“Way of the Moon”) Glick, Christine Zuimon (“Auspicious Gate”) Fowle, Ellery Seifu (“Sacred Wind”) Eskelin. As part of the ceremony Shugen Roshi offers teachings on the moral and ethical teachings of Zen Buddhism and the particular challenges we face in living with and offering our lives through these vows.
New Mountains and Rivers Order Students
Also this spring, six people sat Tangaryo and passed through the five barrier gates to became formal students of the Mountains and Rivers Order. Students for Shugen Arnold, Roshi—Paul Stokes and Diego Antoni; students for Hojin Kimmel, Sensei—Tanya Bonner, Bingwan Liu and Stephanie Owens; students for Hogen Green, Sensei—Roger Faulring and Emily Gitlin. Congratulations to all!
Buddha’s Birthday celebration & Zen Kids extravaganza
A highlight of the spring practice period is the Zen Kids and Tweens’ spectacular and spirited Buddha’s Birthday Celebration where they offer flowers in the zendo and a dramatic performance about some aspect of the life of the Buddha. Often inspired by a Jataka tale of the Buddha’s life, this year’s theme presented the final night of the Buddha’s enlightenment.
Exploring the well-known story through their understanding of the influences of Mara’s Children, in “Buddha Quells Mara” we see the Buddha encountering his entanglements and ultimate victory over temptations, fears, and doubts.
The end of May brought us the Shuso Hossen ceremony during which the shuso for this training period, Ely Seiryu Rayek, gave his first public talk and then welcomed the “dragons and elephants” of the Dharma hall to meet him in Dharma Encounter.
Fifteen lucky ango participants were selected to ask him to clarify some aspect of the koan or a question about their practice, and they were met by Seiryu’s compassionate, tender and insightful responses. The ceremony concluded with poems offered to the shuso by students and teachers, before all participants of the day left the zendo to reconvene for the group photo.
It was a wonderful, transformative ango, manifesting Buddha and practicing together!