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November 12, 2018 @ 10:22 pm

November 2018 Zazenkai Talk (November 3rd-4th, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour Treeleaf ZAZENKAI!)

Today's Talk is the second part (we began last month) of reflections on portions of the 'Tenzo Kyokun' (典座教訓) or "Instructions for the Cook," Master Dogen's celebration of work (作務) and all our responsibilities in life, as we continue our Jukai and Ango Season for this year.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
November 3rd-4th, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour Treeleaf ZAZENKAI! »

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October 6, 2018 @ 6:30 pm

October 2018 Zazenkai Talk (October 5th-6th, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour Treeleaf ZAZENKAI!)

Today's Talk will honor portions of Master Dogen's "Instructions for the Cook," a celebration of 'Samu' Work Practice and all our duties in life.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
October 5th-6th, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour Treeleaf ZAZENKAI! »

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September 2, 2018 @ 9:05 pm

September 2018 Zazenkai Talk (Ango Kickoff - Dogen’s “Shobogenzo-Jukai”)

Today's Talk will reflect on a portion of Master Dogen's 'Shobogenzo-Jukai' as we commence our Jukai and Ango Season for this year.

In the Western Heavens and the Eastern Lands, wherever the transmission has passed between Buddhist patriarchs, at the beginning of entering the Dharma there is inevitably the receiving of the precepts. Without receiving the precepts we are never the disciples of the buddhas and never the descendants of the ancestral masters—because they have seen “departing from excess and guarding against wrong” as “practicing [za]zen and inquiring into the truth.” The words “the precepts are foremost” already are the right Dharma-eye treasury itself. To “realize buddha and become a patriarch” inevitably is to receive and maintain the right Dharma-eye treasury; therefore, ancestral masters who receive the authentic transmission of the right Dharma-eye treasury inevitably receive and maintain the Buddhist precepts. There cannot be a Buddhist patriarch who does not receive and maintain the Buddhist precepts. Some receive and maintain them under the Tathāgata, which in every instance is to have received the lifeblood. The Buddhist precepts now authentically transmitted from buddha to buddha and from patriarch to patriarch were exactly transmitted only by the ancestral patriarch of Sūgaku [Master Bodhidharma] and, transmitted five times in China, they reached the founding patriarch of Sōkei [Master Hui-Neng].The authentic transmissions from Seigen, Nangaku, and so on have been conveyed to the present day, but there are unreliable old veterans and the like who do not know it at all. They are most pitiful.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
Aug 31st-Sept 1st, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! - COMMENCING JUKAI & ANGO! »

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August 5, 2018 @ 7:29 pm

August 2018 Special Zazenkai with Author and Teacher Susan Moon

(Reigetsu) Susan Moon is a writer, editor, and lay teacher in the Soto Zen tradition. She is the author of a number of books about Buddhism, including the humor book The Life and Letters of Tofu Roshi and This Is Getting Old: Zen Thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity. For many years she was the editor of Turning Wheel, the journal of socially engaged Buddhism. Her short stories and essays have been published widely. Sue has been a Zen student since 1976, practicing in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi at Berkeley Zen Center, Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery, Green Gulch Farm, and now with Zoketsu Norman Fischer’s Everyday Zen sangha. She received “entrustment” as a lay teacher in 2005. She is a serious student of photography and the mother of two grown sons and the grandmother of three granddaughters. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
ATTENTION: Special Zazenkai SATURDAY 8/4 with Author/Zen Teacher SUSAN MOON »

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July 18, 2018 @ 7:12 pm

July 2018 Zazenkai Talk (Cases 76 and 77 from the Book of Equanimity)

The Talk this time will be on "Book of Equanimity" Koans we have recently danced in our "No Words Book Club." These are available to read on our current Book Club thread at:  https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?55-BEYOND-WORDS-LETTERS-BOOK-CLUB-TREELEAF-ART-CIRCLE

  • CASE 76: Shuzan's Three Verses
  • CASE 77: Kyôzan: As Befits His Portion

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
July 6th-7th, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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June 11, 2018 @ 8:04 pm

June 2018 Zazenkai Talk (Dogen’s Dharma Hall Discourses - Part V)

We will finish this series of talks on a text by Dogen which is not so commonly the topic of Dharma Talks, but which contains a detailed record of Dogen's own lessons and interactions with his Teacher in China, Master Tiāntóng Rújìng (天童如淨; Japanese: Tendō Nyōjo). Dogen was then a young student who went to travel (by boat, across deadly seas, not airliner) seeking an answer to many questions.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
June 1st-2nd, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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May 7, 2018 @ 9:01 am

May 2018 Special Zazenkai with Rev. EDWARD ESPE BROWN (The Tassajara Tenzo)

On Sunday May 6th, Soto Priest and famed former "Tenzo" (Head Cook) at the Tassajara Zen Monastery Rev. Edward Espe Brown offered a very special Zazenkai and Talk, live from California and Treeleaf Tsukuba.

Edward Espe Brown, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, was was ordained in 1971 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and he received Dharma Transmission from Mel Weitsman in 1996. He was the first head resident cook at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center from 1967 to 1970. He later worked at the celebrated Greens Restaurant in San Francisco [then operated by San Francisco Zen Center], serving as busboy, waiter, floor manager, wine buyer, cashier, host, and manager. He has taught meditation retreats and vegetarian cooking classes throughout North America and Europe. He is the author of several books and also has edited a book of Suzuki Roshi lectures, Not Always So. Ed is the founder and teacher of the Peaceful Sea Sangha.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
ATTENTION: Special Zazenkai SUNDAY with Rev. EDWARD ESPE BROWN (The Tassajara Tenzo) »

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April 14, 2018 @ 9:31 pm

April 2018 Zazenkai Talk (Dogen’s Dharma Hall Discourses - Celebration of the Buddha’s Birthday)

Our Zazenkai today is in CELEBRATION of BUDDHA'S BIRTHDAY, traditionally APRIL 8th in Japan.  Today's Talk will dance with Dharma Hall Discourses by Master Dogen in Celebration of the Buddha's Birthday (from the Eihei Koroku, trans. Leighton and Okumura).

We also CELEBRATE the Dharma Transmission of our Treeleaf Priests: Kyonin, Shingen and Shokai.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
April 6th-7th, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! - CELEBRATING BUDDHA'S BIRTHDAY! »

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March 7, 2018 @ 9:19 pm

March 2018 Zazenkai Talk (Dogen’s Hokyoki - Part IV)

I thought that we might spend a few months with the text, taking it a few pages at a time. Not all the advice is something one need agree with in modern times, maybe (based on his own later Teachings) some of it even Dogen did not take to heart. However, let us see what we can find.

I am going to read from page 21 through the first few lines of 24 today if there is time. It is a grabbag of topics, so let's see what we find.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
March 2nd-3rd, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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February 3, 2018 @ 12:07 pm

February 2018 Zazenkai Talk (Sandokai - The Identity of Relative and Absolute)

Today's Talk is based on the Sandokai (Identity of Relative & Absolute) that we chant each month.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
February 2nd-3rd, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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January 6, 2018 @ 4:34 pm

January 2018 Zazenkai Talk (Dogen’s Hokyoki - Part III)

We continue this series of talks on a text by Dogen which is not so commonly the topic of Dharma Talks, but which contains a detailed record of Dogen's own lessons and interactions with his Teacher in China, Master Tiāntóng Rújìng (天童如淨; Japanese: Tendō Nyōjo). Dogen was then a young student who went to travel (by boat, across deadly seas, not airliner) seeking an answer to many questions. This is the record of Dogen's remembrances of much of the advice and guidance he received on those questions from his own Teacher.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
January 5th-6th, 2018 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! (Welcoming the New Year & Jukai) »

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November 14, 2017 @ 7:42 pm

November 2017 Zazenkai Talk (Dogen’s Hokyoki - Part II)

Our Reading Text for Today's Talk: Hokyoki (Journal of My Study In China) by Master Eihei Dogen - Part II (Pages 8 to 12). We continue this series of talks on a text by Dogen which is not so commonly the topic of Dharma Talks, but which contains a detailed record of Dogen's own lessons and interactions with his Teacher in China, Master Tiāntóng Rújìng (天童如淨; Japanese: Tendō Nyōjo). Dogen was then a young student who went to travel (by boat, across deadly seas, not airliner) seeking an answer to many questions. This is the record of Dogen's remembrances of much of the advice and guidance he received on those questions from his own Teacher.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
November 3rd-4th, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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October 8, 2017 @ 12:11 pm

October 2017 Zazenkai Talk (Offering Metta to Violent People)

For today's Metta (Loving Kindness) Recital, in the section of offering Metta to people difficult in our lives or in this world, I will be offering in my heart to "people like Stephen Paddock", the man who killed 58 people, and wounded hundreds more, in Las Vegas this week.

I feel I need to explain why, and the meaning of this. Someone might misunderstand or be confused. I am sorry that it is a little complicated.

Our Metta chant states:

  1. May he be free of suffering; may he feel safe and still.
  2. May he be free of enmity; may he be loving, grateful and kind.
  3. May he be healthy and at ease in all his ills.
  4. May he be at peace, embracing all conditions of life.

We must somehow not turn away, not forget ... yet see the real culprit as the "greed anger and ignorance" that infects human beings. Perhaps it is too hard to ask people to forgive, but at least, let us strive not to meet anger with further anger of our own. The best response to hate is ... peace.

Hostilities aren't stilled through hostility, regardless. Hostilities are stilled through non-hostility: this, an unending truth.(Dharmapada 3-5)

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
October 6th-7th, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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October 4, 2017 @ 9:00 pm

October 2017 SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Sailing, Shikantaza

I feel that 80% of Shikantaza teachers these days are teaching only 80% of Shikantaza ("Just Sitting" Zazen). The wind is often left out of Shikantaza's sails. The point of Shikantaza is an action done for such action's sake, with the action itself as Total Fulfillment beyond judgment or measure. This is a rarity in our never resting, never satisfied, always running and chasing lives. Sitting is Sacred, Whole and Complete just in Sitting alone.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Sailing, Shikantaza »

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September 24, 2017 @ 9:33 pm

September 2017 SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Enter in Spring, Exit in Fall

In Japan today, it is O-Higan (お彼岸), a holiday in Japanese Buddhism celebrated at the Spring and Fall Equinox. It is said that the etymology of the name, the "other shore", is from "the other shore of the Sanzu River" which river traditionally is said to separate this life from the world of the afterlife, much as the River Hades. The "other shore" can mean as well the world of Enlightenment, which transcends the life and death of this world, this shore. On this day, when the seasons change, the spirits of the dead ancestors are said to be close, and it is a time for communion and remembrance. Many Japanese people will return to their hometowns during the holiday season to pay respects to their ancestors, and Japanese Zen and other Buddhist priests are busy visiting the homes of their temple parishioners to chant for the ancestors in front of the family Buddhist altar.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Enter in Spring, Exit in Fall »

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September 21, 2017 @ 9:24 pm

September 2017 SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: CHANGING HEART, CHANGING TIRES

A little homework assignment for you, an experiment to help you discover the power of this Practice to change life. It is something to try even if you are new to this Practice, or if you have a lot of miles down the Zen road. It is also a litmus test, a demonstration of the ability of this Practice to work great change in your life right now. Oh, this little act won't fix all the problems in your life, and won't even change a flat tire. You still will have to grab a jack and get to work. But it can completely change how we experience and react to all circumstances, including detours and crashes and obstacles on life's bumpy road. ...

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
Sit-A-LONG with JUNDO: CHANGING HEART, CHANGING TIRES »

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September 11, 2017 @ 9:41 pm

September 2017 Zazenkai Talk (A SPECIAL TALK to COMMENCE ‘ANGO’ SEASON)

Today is the Beginingless Beginning of our Jukai and Ango Season. Especially for our Ango participants, and for anyone, a short Talk on the meaning of the 'True Ango' that has 'No Obstacles' and nothing ever to interfere ... and which is precisely the obstacles that interfere!

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
A SPECIAL TALK to COMMENCE 'ANGO' SEASON »

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September 5, 2017 @ 9:22 pm

September 2017 Zazenkai Talk (Dogen’s Hokyoki)

Having returned from my own travels by plane, car and train, I thought to begin a series of talks on a text by Dogen which is not so commonly the topic of Dharma Talks, but which contains a detailed record of Dogen's own lessons and interactions with his Teacher in China, Master Tiāntóng Rújìng (天童如淨; Japanese: Tendō Nyōjo). Dogen was then a young student who went to travel (by boat, across deadly seas, not airliner) seeking an answer to many questions. This is the record of Dogen's remembrances of much of the advice and guidance he received on those questions from his own Teacher.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
September 2nd-3rd, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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July 4, 2017 @ 9:50 pm

July 2017 Zazenkai Talk (”Practice-Enlightenment” for Practical People)

Buddhist meditation has commonly been considered an instrumental technique aimed at obtaining a heightened mental or spiritual state, or even as a method for inducing some dramatic "enlightenment" experience. But in some branches of the Zen tradition, Zazen (Zen seated meditation) has been seen not as a means to attaining some result, but as a ritual enactment and expression of awakened awareness. This alternate, historically significant approach to Zen meditation and practice has been as a ceremonial, ritual expression whose transformative quality is not based on stages of attainment or meditative prowess.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
June 31st-July 1st, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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June 7, 2017 @ 8:03 pm

June 2017 Zazenkai Talk (Dogen’s Instructions to the Ino)

Our Talk this Month is "What I Know about the Ino" (the Supervisor of Monks) ... a monastic office, but not that far from our own lives, jobs and family duties ... It is from Master Dogen's "Pure Standards for the Temple Administrators (Chiji Shingi)" for Eiheiji Monastery (translated by Taigen Leighton and Shohaku Okumura)

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
June 2nd-3rd, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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May 28, 2017 @ 9:45 pm

May 2017 SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: The Treeleaf LEND-A-HAND (’LAH’) Project … WE NEED YOU!

We are calling on ALL of our Treeleaf Members and friends to Vow to undertake one extra, special 'Good Deed' each day (besides all the Good you already do!) and dedicate this to our Sangha.

This is a manifestation of our Shikantaza Practice out in this world, this is a Community Project together. We recall especially that Mahayana Buddhism that is actually not about us at all, but is always dedicated to the world. We sit for the world, we act for the world and others. So, this is just another form of Shikantaza, like Chanting Metta ... it is Metta in Action. Like placing an offering on the Altar, this is making small offerings to the Altar which is the world. Like working in Samu to pick weeds or cook, or eating Oryoki, this is working to pick a few weeds in our town, to feed others as we feed ourselves.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: The Treeleaf LEND-A-HAND ('LAH') Project ... WE NEED YOU! »

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May 7, 2017 @ 7:58 pm

May 2017 Zazenkai Talk (May 5th-6th, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI!)

Our Talk this month digests the Chants for Formal Meals ... not bread alone, these Chants guide us for all our Practice and Life ... The talk covers the Formal Meal Verses (Gyôhatsu nenju 行鉢念誦):

  • Verse upon Hearing the Meal Signal (Montsui no ge 聞槌之偈)
  • Verse for Setting Out Bowls (Tenpatsu no ge 展鉢之偈))
  • Verse of Buddha Names (Butsumyô 十仏名)
  • Food Offering Verses (Sejiki ge 施食偈)
  • Verse of Five Contemplations (Gokan no ge 五観之偈)
  • Verse of Food Offering (Saba ge 生飯偈)
  • Bowl Raising Verse (Keihatsu no ge 擎鉢之偈)
  • Meal End (Sessui no ge 折水之偈)
  • Verse of Purity While Abiding in the World (shose kaibon no ge 処世界梵之偈)

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
May 5th-6th, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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May 2, 2017 @ 10:10 pm

April 2017 Guest Zazenkai Talk (David Loy and A New Buddhist Path)

A special Zazenkay and talk by guest speaker David Loy. David Robert Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Kyodan tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. He is a prolific author, whose essays and books have been translated into many languages. His articles appear regularly in the pages of major journals such as Tikkun and Buddhist magazines including Tricycle, Turning Wheel, Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma, as well as in a variety of scholarly journals. David lectures nationally and internationally on various topics, focusing primarily on the encounter between Buddhism and modernity: what each can learn from the other. He is especially concerned about social and ecological issues. ... David Loy is one of the founding members of the new Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, near Boulder, Colorado.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
ATTENTION: Special Zazenkai SUNDAY April 30th with DAVID LOY »

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April 2, 2017 @ 9:21 pm

April 2017 Zazenkai Talk (The Heart of the Heart of the Heart Sutra)

The Talk this time will look at the Heart of the Heart of the Heart Sutra, form and emptiness in a nutshell ...

We will reflect on the wording of the Heart Sutra as we chant for Zazenkai in English most weeks. However, I will touch briefly on the somewhat longer version used by Tibetan Practitioners and some others, with adds a little more at the startless start and endless end.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
March 31st-April 1st, 2017 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! (NOT APRIL FOOLS!) »

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March 5, 2017 @ 11:42 am

March 2017 Zazenkai Talk (The zen poems of Ryokan Taigu)

Our talk is about the zen poems of the Great Fool: Ryōkan Taigu (1758–1831).

This famous hermit monk lived a simple life but rich in practice and reverence for the present moment. After leaving the monastery he spent his life helping people in villages, begging, playing with kids and writing poems.

More about Ryōkan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ry%C5%8Dkan

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! The zen poems of Ryokan Taigu »

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