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Praying

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I’m often asked to give a prayer at interfaith services and this usually makes me think about how we Buddhists and those in the Abrahamic faiths are similar and different in this “prayer” thing.

One similarity is that we reach out because we want peace and hope.  In our faith we find those by asking for wisdom and clarity, for perseverance, courage, and strength.  I think people who truly trust in the God of Abraham also ask for these same things, rather than for   things that are about their personal comfort and happiness.

We ask for wisdom, clarity, courage, strength, and perseverance because we know that the world cannot go as we wish it to, so asking that it do so is not helpful.  Reality always functions to benefit all beings.  Sometimes that works out the way we want, sometimes not.  As we face the really hard things in our lives with this in our hearts, we can work toward what will be helpful rather than what will give us what we want.  We can work wholeheartedly to make our situation better, understanding that we work in the midst of the reality or our world, being ready to make room for the things we cannot control.

One major difference between our faith and the Abrahamic faiths is that we don’t seek outside ourselves for the things we pray for.  To ask for strength is to remember the strength we have.  To pray for the endurance and courage to continue is to seek our own endurance and courage.  It’s the same for wisdom, clarity, and compassion.  We have these things already with us, just as we have buddha nature.  We are these things, just as we are buddha nature.  They may be a bit threadbare and grungy, but they’re somewhere in there.  We naturally find them when we put aside all the stuff about what we want, consider what needs to be done right now, and do it with our whole heart, not worrying about past or future.  Just this thing, right now.   Each step is our courage and endurance manifesting.  It’s the prayer and the answer.  With each step, wisdom arises and things become more clear – answers come – and we have the strength and energy to take the next step. 

When things get really hard, let’s remember this.

− 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, June 16 , 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Contact us for the link.

All-day Sitting — June 20, 5:00 am to 4:40 pm — please register

Sangha Meeting June 27

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