In this talk, the last of our 2018-19 winter retreat, Ryotan Sensei starts by thanking the many Sangha members who work hard to create our retreat. He then mentions growing up in the same town as Dr. Timothy Leary, who’s famous slogan was “Tune in, turn on and drop out.” Ryotan sees a connection here to Zen and asks what is it, to truly drop out? One could latch onto the beautiful model of “foolish old man Ryokan” and choose poverty and poetry as a lifestyle, but Zen masters past and present ask us to find our own way. Only though our own unique continuous practice can we manifest the true functioning of the Dharma. Recorded December 31st, 2018.
In this talk, during our 2018-19 winter retreat, Shinryu Sensei says “welcome home” to those attending the retreat and sees coming home itself as a way of expressing our practice. He then states his admiration for the poems of Ryokan and reads a few, interspersed with a few poems of his own. Shinryu then gives us examples of thusness, spaciousness, interconnection and feeling that permeate Ryotan’s poetry and life. Shinryu asks, can we open up our practice to all of this life? Can we open up our experience right now as the jewel? Recorded December 30th, 2018.
In this talk, during our 2018-19 winter retreat, Kaku Hoshi looks deeply into the poetry and life of Zen master Ryokan. With our study text “Sky Above, Great Wind” as his guide, Kaku contrasts his own life with the voluntary poverty of Ryokan. Kaku marvels at Ryokan’s freedom and non-conformity but wonders if any of us would choose poverty and a life of solitude as Ryokan did. Kaku asks: Have you opened your own Dharma Eye? Have you found something precious? How deep can you go today? Recorded December 29th, 2018
In this the second talk of the Winter Ango sesshin, Joshin Sensei talks about the sense of lack that is customary for the small self to experience and how this gives rise to the thirst for affirmation not to mention greed, anger and ignorance. And how Ryokan, Zen poet of the 18th century, in choosing poverty or intentional lack shows us when we realize ourselves, we discover what we seek we have never lacked.
Roshi Enkyo O’Hara gives the first talk of our 2018-2019 winter retreat. Roshi starts by recognizing the efforts our retreat organizers, and our Winter Ango practice leader Gessho Randolph. Roshi recites a short poem from our study text by the Zen poet Ryokan. She states that in our meditation practice we can all experience the simple miraculous beauty of our Samadhi, which she sees as the power of concentration that arrises when we come together. Roshi quotes the Flower Ornament Sutra and a koan from the Blue Cliff Record, “Yun Men’s Every Atom Samadhi”
In this talk senior student Ryoshin looks into two of his favorite koans, “Tozan’s No Cold or Heat” and “Master Ma is Unwell.” In these stories Ryoshin considers how we deal with discomfort, and how Zen asks us to not separate from those feelings and encourages us to be aware of our reactions. Recorded December 9th, 2018.
Senior student Musho gave this talk at the Zendo’s annual Rohatsu all night sit. Musho reviews the story of Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, and sees how we embody and participate in an awakening that is all around us. Musho tells a story of his first Rohatsu sit, and then relays some encouragement from 18th century Japanese Zen master Hakuin. Recorded December 8th 2018.
In this talk senior student Tokuyu starts with issues his music students have with recognition, and the feeling of lack and never achieving enough. Tokuyu looks at how psychology and physiology combine to create internal anger that can lead to chronic pain. This theory is expressed in the book “Healing Back Pain” by the late Dr. John Sarno, and Tokuyu sees connections here to our Zen practice of “Turning the light inward.” He sees this expressed in the verse from the koan, “National Teacher Chung’s Seamless Monument” where it says there is “Gold sufficient for a nation.” Tokyo ends with a recollection of his grandfather, and a quote from rap music star Snoop Dog.
In this talk senior student Kenko looks into the traditional Buddhist teaching of “The Five Faculties” Faith, Effort, Mindfulness, Concentration and Wisdom. Kenko carefully interprets them through the eye of our Zen practice. He then explores the koan case 7 from the Blue Cliff Record “Hui Ch’ao Asks About Buddha” and ends with a poem from Dogen.
In this talk Roshi fondly remembers her recently departed teacher Zen Master Bernie Glassman. She recounts how they met, and how Bernie used his actions and activism to teach and inspire a new kind of Zen practice. Roshi then shifts to the koan “Dongshan’s No Grass” and sees Bernie’s teaching of stillness in the midst of activity there. Bernie asked us to take up our life in the weeds, the world of suffering, and to offer what we can. Roshi sees this as the way to activate the profundity of the Zen Tradition.