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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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February 22, 2017 @ 10:08 pm

February 2017 SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Sit Down & Speak Up

How does our Zen Practice blend with taking a stand? Do we stay "beyond the fray" or speak out for what is right? I have been wrestling with this lately, like many folks. I have advocated leaving "politics" outside the door of our Treeleaf Sangha. In principle. I still believe so, and that we should speak civilly and gently to each other in the Sangha, agreeing to disagree, leaving most political debate outside.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Sit Down & Speak Up »

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February 11, 2017 @ 10:37 pm

February 2017 Zazenkai Talk (Our SPECIAL “NEHAN-E” 4-hour ZAZENKAI)

WELCOME to our Memorial & Celebration of NEHAN-E, (Pari-Nirvana) the traditional day to mark the historical Buddha's death and passing from this visible world. This is also a day for each of us to remember in our homes those family and friends who have gone before. As well, we particularly mark the passing of Nishijima Gudo Wafu and Rempo Niwa Zenji.

Our reading for today's Nehan-e Zazenkai is a passage that Dogen wrote late in life, showing his seemingly very traditional views on Rebirth at that time: Dogen’s Shobogenzo Doshin, "Mind of the Way" (translated by Peter Levitt & Kazuaki Tanahashi)

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
February 4-5th, 2017 - Our SPECIAL "NEHAN-E" 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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January 9, 2017 @ 1:25 pm

January 2017 Zazenkai Talk (Reflections on Jukai)

This talk looks at aspects of the wording and content of our upcoming Jukai "Undertaking The Precepts" Ceremony, to be held next week ...

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
January 6th-7th, 2016 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! Reflections on Jukai! »

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January 2, 2017 @ 12:34 pm

December 2016 Sit-a-Long with Jundo: My Uplifting, Inspiring, Hopeful, Optimistic New Years Message

The past year has seen its ups and downs ... a lot of downs it seems. Next year will likely be so too. (And the year after that!) This is the roller coaster of life.

Do you know the still and quiet center at the heart of all ups and downs?
Do you know that the world has always been so?
Do you know that things are probably not as down (or as up) as you might think?

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
Sit-a-Long with Jundo: My Uplifting, Inspiring, Hopeful, Optimistic New Years Message »

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November 10, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

November 2016 Zazenkai Talk (Namaste India)

To Commence Jundo's month-long travels & pilgrimage to India, this talk is on Satsangs the Bhagavad-gītā (and various Zen Teachings on India).

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
November 4th-5th, 2016 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! NAMASTE INDIA! »

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October 26, 2016 @ 6:45 pm

October 2016 Zazenkai Talk (Cases from the Book of Serenity for Ango & Jukai)

Koans for this talk are from The Book of Serenity: CASE 67 - THE FLOWER GARLAND SUTRA’S WISDOM, and CASE 68 - KYUHO’S HEAD AND TAIL.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
October 7th-8th, 2016 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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September 26, 2016 @ 9:17 am

September 2016 SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: When I Feel So Bad

When I began Zazen this morning, I felt so bad ... and then I didn't. The problems remained, but now filled with clarity, light, peace, compassion, equanimity, allowing ... No "I" and no "problem" remained ... even as the problems of life remained. What did I do? Better said, it's what "I" didn't need to do or not do.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: When I Feel So Bad »

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September 23, 2016 @ 12:44 pm

September 2016 Zazenkai Talk (Cases from the Book of Serenity for Ango & Jukai)

Koans for this talk are from The Book of Serenity: CASE 62 - Biko's No Enlightenment, CASE 63 - Joshu Asks About [Great] Death, CASE 64 - Shisho's Transmission, and CASE 65 - Shuzan's New Bride.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
Sept 9th-10th, 2016 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI - COMMENCING this ANGO & JUKAI! »

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August 19, 2016 @ 4:58 pm

August 2016 Zazenkai Talk (Cases from the Book of Serenity - Part 2)

Koans for this talk are from The Book of Serenity: CASE 58 - The Diamond Sutra's Reviling, CASE 59 - Seirin's Deadly Snake, CASE 60 - Ryutetsuma's Old Cow, and CASE 61 - Kempo's One Stroke.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
August 12th-13th, 2016 - OUR MONTHLY 4-hour ZAZENKAI! »

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August 4, 2016 @ 12:03 pm

SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: ENGAGED ENERGY

We continue a series of talks on the Buddhist "Paramitas" (Virtues) which aid in our engaged and charitable work in the world. Today ... Verve, Vigor, Energy! ...

In Sanscrit, this is called the Virya Paramita ... which comes from the same root as vim and virile! And that energy is not only of use for all our social and political efforts to fix this world, clean up our country or town ... it is energy for whatever we need to "get er done" in life. And like all the "Perfections", it recognizes that we are only human, not perfect. Even superman needs to get his rest sometime.

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

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July 28, 2016 @ 2:26 pm

July 2016 SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Who Is a Priest?

Who is a Zen Priest ... and how to nurture their Training? And who perhaps is not? These are difficult questions, especially in our little Sangha.

Further reading and discussion for this talk are available on the Treeleaf forum:
SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Who Is a Priest ... »

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