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Archive for December 2010

December 31, 2010 @ 9:09 am

New Years Greetings

Dear All,

Just a little New Years Greetings from the Cohen Family (it's already the New Year here in Japan) ...

And don't forget our New Years Zazenkai today ... All Are Welcome!

RING IN THE NEW YEAR ... AND EVERY NEW MOMENT ... WITH OUR 4-HOUR ZAZENKAI ... (detail here)

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Gassho, Jundo, MIna, Leon and 'Tin Tin' the Cat

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December 24, 2010 @ 4:58 am

Home for the Holidays!

Heading home to see family and friends always presents a few special "opportunities for Practice" at this time of year ...

Meeting family and old friends ... how do you explain to them about "being a Buddhist"?

You may even start to feel a little guilty for not being part of the religion you were raised in.

How should we celebrate the holidays with friends and family?

My answer: Celebrate Peace & Joy!

Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

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December 23, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

Shikan

Our practice is shikantaza. Shikan means just, nothing but...Core and essence of our tradition, it is also a practice of simplicity.

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December 18, 2010 @ 7:39 am

Making Our Holidays Family Friendly

It is often said that Buddhist groups in the West are not very welcoming of children, and miss chances to communicate basic teachings and practices to kids. In both Asian Buddhism and for other religions in the west (but, somehow, not so much for "Western Buddhism"), "religious holidays" can be a time for families to unite, to bond through customs and practices, and to bring children into the spirit of the time through the celebration. Holidays can be an important time to expose children to Buddhist teachings and values in ways that leave a lasting, positive impression for the future. Are there ways to make various Buddhist holidays more "kid friendly" while preserving the traditional message, values and customs of the original?

This is something that weighs heavily on many Buddhist parents at this time of year, when the other religions have their big celebrations. Buddhist children might feel left out, and we may be missing an opportunity to teach them important lessons while making them feel included in our Practices, transmitting a positive feeling about Buddhism as they grow up. Also (and most importantly), I am certain that we can do so BOTH while preserving the true message of the Buddhist holidays AND avoiding the crassness and commercialism that has come to represent this time of year.

Our Treeleaf Sangha has established a workshop to transform a couple of traditional Buddhist holidays to suit western needs a bit more, and especially the needs of families and the teaching of good lessons to children. Once we get things hammered out, we would like to encourage other Zen Sangha, and the wider Buddhist community in the west, to join with us. viewforum.php?f=28

WITHOUT the department stores (by emphasizing, for example, giving to charity, unselfish giving to others, the making of homemade gifts or giving of Buddhism related presents), WITHOUT the glitz and commercialism, we can turn Rohatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment Day in December), Vesak (Buddha's Birthday around April) and some other holidays into FAMILY FRIENDLY events WHILE PRESERVING THE TEACHINGS. The central messages of the holidays ... selflessness, generosity, non-attachment, peace, awakening, compassion, loving kindness ... can be both PRESERVED and PASSED ON to children through the vehicle of these holidays. The message on these holidays is now conveyed through chanting and ritual ... so why not through joyous songs and home rituals that the whole family can partake in? NOTHING of the meaning, traditions and authenticity of these holidays need be lost.

Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

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December 13, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

Koku 1

What is the meaning of Koku? What is Koku? What is not Koku?

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December 9, 2010 @ 11:41 pm

Buddhanomics: Job Search

So many folks are losing their jobs these days, sometimes after many years of loyal and hard work at a business. Almost nothing more to do but let it go, move on, trying to keep a roof over our family's head.

When I was a kid, my own father went through a hard bankruptcy after many years of being the president of his own small company making furniture. Leon was not a "Buddhist" by any means, but still I would call him one of those "naturally Zen" folks. I recall how, when he lost the business, he sat in front of the window for a couple of weeks, depressed and not shaving, wondering where to go from here. But, after a few days of that, he picked himself up and found himself a job as a salesman in a discount department store, working for commission and for somebody else. Most importantly, he never lost his humor for long, and kept a "that's just the breaks, we still have each other" attitude which I will never forget. And though he was now not the "boss" but working at a job he did not choose, he did it diligently, optimistically and with great energy. In fact, he kept at it, going onto the sales floor each day (with co-workers 50 years younger), until he was 77 years old ... all so his family had bread and I could get through school.

Fortunately, too, he never lived "rich" even when times were good, always having the same small house and same plain car. In that way, the "ups" and "downs" were never too much of a fall.

In times like these, there are some good lessons there.

Today’s Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.

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