Enkyo Roshi’s Dharma talk, on the final day of Dai Sesshin, “The Winds of the Dharma…”
Ryotan Sensei’s Dharma talk from Dai Sesshin on 7/28/17, “Ultimately the Buddha Way…”
Myoko Sensei’s Dharma talk for the 7th day of Dai Sesshin, “Birds and Fish”.
Shinryu Sensei speaks on the 6th day of Dai Sesshin, July 26th, about the wildfires and resulting mudslides that have happened on the West Coast, as he reframes the many meanings of the “Genjokoan”.
As I am writing this, I remember the younger woman I was in 2007 who arrived at the Village Zendo—filled with grief that was largely unexamined and unknown. I was terrified of speaking in groups, of self expression, of being seen. How perfect to find my way to Dotokuji Temple, “True Expression Temple.” It was my good fortune and I felt that I had arrived at the right place. It didn’t take long to discover that VZ was a dynamic, nurturing community that provided the nourishment, care and support, as well as a structured practice environment with gifted teachers—all of which I longed for.
I am humbled and excited to be Shuso for this upcoming summer ango. I look forward to practicing together, and to being challenged—learning and stretching in unexpected and unimaginable ways. I am heartened and encouraged to take this on by your kindness, my faith in Sangha, and understanding that it truly takes a village—a Village Zendo—all of us in our many varied roles, many of us in new roles learning new steps—all equally important—to create a peaceful dwelling place in which to practice together.
Roshi has chosen Dogen Zenji’s “Genjokoan” as our text for this summer ango. Roshi wrote in her letter, “Dogen encourages us to meet our lives directly and recognize our relationship to all that is.” We will have the opportunity to hear dharma talks by Roshi and the teachers on this seminal Soto Zen text.
Please commit to intensifying your practice during summer ango by either coming for part or all of the retreat at The Grail, or by intensifying your practice with The Village Zendo sangha in New York City led by Joshin O’Hara, Sensei, or wherever you are at a distance. I am providing a commitment form to help you articulate your aims for this period.
Let us practice together diligently and with determination in the summer practice period ahead—in all of our daily activities —sitting, walking, working, eating, resting…. Practicing in this way we care for ourselves and each other and the world. The world desperately needs our care now.
It’s that time of year again, when our thoughts turn not only to summer’s pleasures, but also to the possibility of deepening our concentration, our compassion and wisdom, through our Zen practice. Summer ango is approaching! This year, as in the past thirty-some years, we’ll all take time to intensify and appreciate what our practice gives us. This year, our summer ango begins with an informal unpacking and setup from July 19 to July 21, when our Dai Sesshin begins. Following Dai Sesshin, there is Precepts week, Arts Week and Shuso Sesshin. Whether you are in residence at the Grail or practicing at 588 Broadway, or in some other location, you have the opportunity to engage in vital Zen practice and study.
This is in accord with the traditional Zen seasonal retreat called ‘ango’ or peaceful dwelling. Our Village Zendo Summer Ango is conducted both as a residential retreat at The Grail and also in the city, in the midst of our ordinary daily lives. For thirty-one days we personally commit to more zazen, study, and other practices such as clear awareness of our interaction with others and attentiveness to the precepts.
This year we are studying Dogen’s essay Genjokoan the Koan of our Life. Dogen encourages us to meet our lives directly and recognize our relationship with all that is.
One person is asked to serve as ‘Shuso’, or practice leader, someone to show up as our model of sincere practice. This year’s shuso is Anne Doji JISEI Reigeluth who has written a letter and a commitment form to help us articulate our aims for this period of time. It is very helpful to fill our your commitment form and share it with one of the teachers. Please join Jisei and the whole community in exploring this active way to energize our practice!
Also, it can be very helpful to share your commitment form with each other and one of the teachers. Please take this opportunity to invite rigor and joy into your summer practice period,
Thank you for your practice,
Summer ango, meaning “peaceful dwelling”, at Grail House in Cornwall, NY is a unique opportunity to step off the habitual tracks of our busy lives, to slow down and breathe. It’s a chance to do an intensive retreat, live in community, and study closely with Roshi Enkyo O’Hara and the Village Zendo teachers, in the green surroundings of the Hudson Valley.
The month begins and ends with weeklong silent meditation retreats, each providing the rare gift of silence held in the container of traditional Zen form. Alongside the core activity of sitting and walking meditation, the days follow a schedule of body practice, work practice, Dharma talks, group meals taken in the oryoki ritual style of Japanese temples, and services with chanting. In the middle weeks we offer two interactive retreats. One is a week of deep personal study of the Zen precepts and the other is an arts week using painting and poetry as means for investigation. Mornings and evenings we remain in silence, while we engage in group discussion and activity during the day. Yoga is offered throughout the month as one option for daily body ￼practice. You are welcome to join us for one, two, three or all four weeks. Any amount of time can offer a profound taste of peaceful dwelling.
- Advice for participants in summer ango
- Enkyo Roshi’s summer ango letter
- Shuso JiSei’s summer ango letter
- Study text: Dogen’s Genjo Koan
- 2017 Summer Ango Commitment Form
- Questions?: email@example.com
Ango Setup, July 19–20
Come a couple days early for informal meditation and to set up the retreat center.
Dai Sesshin Retreat, July 21–30
Dai Sesshin is a ten-day intensive retreat. The spacious schedule includes five hours of meditation with ample time for rest and exercise. There are chanting services, three oryoki meals in the meditation hall, and the opportunity to have individual meetings with seasoned Zen teachers. Please consider challenging yourself to participate in this deep practice.
Precepts Study Week, August 1–6
Precepts Study week culminates in jukai, a ceremony in which participants vow to follow the Zen precepts for ethical conduct. If you are interested in participating in jukai, please contact the Village Zendo for arrangements and details. If you are not taking jukai, you are welcome to join our study of the precepts and the selected ango text under the guidance of Sensei Ryotan Eiger. Study takes place during morning and afternoon sessions and provides a creative, challenging and supportive environment in which to experience the teachings. There will also be daily meditation, chanting services and oryoki meals served in an informal style. The week will end in a joyful community ceremony for those formally receiving the precepts.
Arts Retreat Week, August 8–13
The Arts Retreat has two parts and you may register for one or both. The first four days (8/8-8/11) approach the study of Zen through the practice of painting. This is an exciting chance for both beginning and more experienced participants to work with watercolor under the guidance of Emma Seiki Tapley, long term student of the Village Zendo and painter. Over the weekend (8/11-8/13), Roshi Enkyo O’Hara will lead a writing workshop. We will read Zen poetry together and write our own. As in the other weeks, there will be chanting services and informal oryoki meals as well as meditation periods every day throughout the week.
Shuso Sesshin Retreat, August 15–20
￼Shuso Sesshin is an intensive five-day retreat with the same daily structure as Dai Sesshin. This sesshin culminates the month of ango practice and allows participants the opportunity for profound depth and insight. On the final day (8/20), the Shuso Hossen ceremony is a rite of passage in which the practice leader (shuso) becomes a senior student in the Village Zendo community. The shuso gives her or his first Dharma talk and is challenged by the group in a lively question-and-answer dialogue called “Dharma Combat.”
Support the Village Zendo
Your generosity enables us to:
- Hold workshops focused on racism, disability and issues of social justice that are critical in our world right now.
- Support inmates at Sing Sing by providing dharma talks, interviews, and holding a space for them to deepen their practice.
- Offer classes on the practice of Zen, the precepts, the sutras and other teachings.
- Host our Summer Ango, a vital retreat experience for the community.
- Train the next wave of Zen practitioners in the art of liturgy and inspire them to carry our sacred traditions forward.
Most importantly, you make it possible to hold a peaceful space in our hectic city, a sanctuary of nourishment and wholeness that fosters community and a sense of belonging.