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Anger

AltarIf you didn’t sit with us Sunday morning, I hope you sat anyway and that it was good.  Zazen is really helpful in these times.

With all the pandemic problems, election madness, and weather strangeness – it snowed last night – it’s hard not to be on edge.  Sometimes, before we know it the edginess explodes into full-blown anger.  If we’re not careful we find ourselves in the middle of a mess.

How do we avoid damaging our world with our anger?  How can we deal with anger constructively? 

The Brahamanet Sutra  tells us

A disciple of the Buddha shall not harbor anger or encourage others to be angry.  [One] should not create the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of anger.[1]

When anger arises, we acknowledge it, but we don’t give it comfort and a place to hang out.  Anger is primal and powerful.  It packs a lot of energy.  To acknowledge our anger – to recognize it as something to be reckoned with and not hidden, denied, or ignored – is the key.  To fully feel and see it is to gain control of it.  We appreciate it for what it is – a deep, commanding energy that could easily control us.  We understand that these raging thoughts and emotions don’t necessarily reflect reality and we needn’t obey them.  We may not know what reality is, but we’re sure that it’s much larger and more complicated than our anger makes it out to be.  This is not harboring anger.  

From this, we can turn the energy of anger into something useful.  Letting go of thoughts in zazen helps us understand why our anger has come up, and we can take care of the views and tendencies that brought it up.  Then we can approach the world without being disturbed by what has previously roused our anger.  Or, perhaps, by being less bothered.  We don’t have to be perfect.  We just have to keep trying.

We can use the energy anger gives us to work toward wholeness in the world.  We can use anger’s passion to foster things we care about, things we get distressed over when they’re threatened.  For instance, if we’re angry about the state of mental health care, we might encourage our city council to improve and enlarge local mental health services. Or we might take on larger issues like equality, poverty, or housing.  This kind of action takes a lot of energy and drive. and anger has plenty of that.  It’s good for the long haul of dealing with huge, immovable icebergs of problems.  Even if we aren’t totally successful, our efforts will reduce anger in the world by creating wellbeing for others.  This is not creating the causes, conditions, methods, or karma of anger.

To do these things is to replace the sense of fear and powerlessness that anger brings us with a sense of power and joy both in ourselves and in others.  And we reduce suffering and anger in our world.

 – Zuiko

Activities

Zuiko sits in the zendo at every zazen period listed below.  Please sit with her whenever you can.  Just sitting quietly can be helpful in times like these.

Sunday zazen and dharma talk are live-streamed on Zoom.  Contact us if you’d like the link.

Our Monday night dharma discussion group is continuing through Zoom.   If you’re interested in joining, please contact the Center.

You can connect with us through email or phone.  And you can listen to our dharma talks online and read our posts on Facebook.  To find the dharma talks, click on the “Resources” tab above, and you’ll see the link.

Upcoming Events

Monday Night Dharma – by Zoom – Monday nights , 7:00– 8:00 p.m.  Contact us for the link.

Introduction to Zazen – by Zoom – Wednesday, September 16, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Contact us for the link.

Virtual All-day sitting – Sunday,  September 20 , 5:00am to 4:40pm. Email the Center to register and get the Zoom link.  Donations are welcome; there is no fee

Sangha Meeting – September 27, Following the Dharma Talk  Contact us for the link.

Weekday Activities

Noon Zazen

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

Evening Zazen

Tuesday evenings – 20 minute zazen periods
6:30 – 6:50 zazen
6:50 – 7:00 kinhin
7:00 – 7:20 zazen
7:20 – 7:30 kinhin
7:30 – 8:00 zazen

Wednesday and Thursday evenings – 40 minutes zazen periods
6:30 – 7:10 zazen
7:10 – 7:20 kinhin
7:20 – 8:00 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

Feel as a Meditator
 
There might be periods—a year or even two—when we can’t get to the cushion, but that doesn’t mean we have to give up . . . We can still carry meditation inside, still see and feel as a meditator, but physically practice differently.

 

From  The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life 

by Natalie Goldberg
 
 

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