The Cedar Rapids Zen Center, and its community of peaceful members, stand in solidarity with the brave and sturdy citizens of Ukraine – and with their democratically elected government. The illegal, immoral, brutal and reprehensible invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces is being condemned by a vast majority of the world’s countries. Therefore, we stand with the world, and in our daily sittings, we send out peaceful energy for those innocents suffering so much right now in beautiful Ukraine.

The calendar has been updated for 2023.  Please check it for events that you may want to attend.

Not Messing with Stuff – The Ten Precepts

Kannon sitting


Hello.  We had a good group in the zendo for zazen but few on Zoom.  I hope you all had a fine sit, though you weren’t with us.  Doing zazen is always a good thing.

Today we considered the last ten of the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts.  These are not killing, not stealing, not misusing sexuality, not lying, not giving or taking intoxicants, not discussing others’ faults, not putting ourselves forward and downplaying others’ strengths, not being stingy, not indulging anger, and not disparaging the Three Treasures.

We can understand more about how to approach the observance of these if we realize that they’re all about not manipulating the world to suit ourselves.  They remind us that the world does not belong to us.  It was not put out there for our personal comfort and pleasure, nor are we entitled to anything from it.  On the other hand, this universe supports our life and we are an integral part of its ongoing function.  Though we are not entitled to anything, it still gives us what we need.

We know this but, being human, we forget.  We want life to be a little nicer for us, so we try to change things to get more of what we want.  In the process, we get attached to what we want and forget that the world is not about us.  We suffer when things don’t go the way we want, and we try harder.  Ultimately, we start breaking things.  We tell a lie or two to make ourselves look better,  point out someone else’s weakness so they’ll not get the job we want.  In the process we damage ourselves and the world.  The ten precepts are there to remind us, telling us that the way out of suffering is to stop manipulating and work with reality as it is. 

You, know, we can reframe the precepts to help us remember —  We honor and foster life instead of killing.  Rather than not lying, we express clarity.  Not stealing, we honor others’ need for wellbeing.  We keep our commitments in loving relationships.  We foster clarity and groundedness rather than taking intoxicants.  Instead of putting others down, we emphasize their strengths.  Rather than blowing our own horn, we cultivate clear understanding of our strengths and weaknesses.  We give freely of both dharma and material goods to those who ask.  We notice our anger and don’t allow it to control us.  Finally, we live in a way that honors buddha, dharma, and sangha.

Let’s live a life of remembering not to mess with stuff just because we want it to be different by remembering to honor and care for all beings.

Photo – Kannon floating on a lotus petal.  Detail from a Japanese woodcut – artist unknown.

Upcoming Events

October — Monday Night dharma discussion  7:00 pm to 8:00 pm –on Zoom – email us for the link

October 18 –Introduction to Zazen–7:30-9:00 pm–hybrid – please register

October 20-22 – Sesshin (Daruma) –7:00 pm Friday to 5:15 pm Sunday – please register

October 29 –Sangha Meeting, following Dharma Talk

Weekday Activities

Noon Zazen

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
12:15 – 12:55 zazen

Evening Zazen

Wednesday and Thursday evenings
6:30 – 7:10 zazen

Weekend Activities

Sunday zazen – by Zoom

9:00 –  9:40 sitting
9:45 – 10:15 dharma talk
10:15 – 11:00 check in and discussion

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Quote of the week

One Leaf
One day in a lecture Suzuki Roshi said, “When you see one leaf falling, you may say, Oh, autumn is here! One leaf is not just one leaf; it means the whole autumn. Here you already understand the all-pervading power of your practice. Your practice covers everything.”


Excerpted from:


Zen Is Right Here: Teaching Stories and Anecdotes of Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
by Shunryu Suzuki,
Edited by David Chadwick,
page 18

CEDAR RAPIDS ZEN CENTER 1618 Bever Avenue SE Cedar Rapids, IA