We will be conducting activities virtually until it’s safe to reopen.
New Year’s Eve and Day activities (click to open PDF listing them.)
Bodhisattva Practice in Difficult Times
The last few days have been confusing and sometimes frightening. Perhaps you’re as shocked and angered as I about the disruption and destruction in the Capitol Building as I. I have a hard time not wanting to destroy the people who did this – to make them hurt the way I hurt.
Unfortunately, bodhisattva practice is not about making others suffer the way we suffer. It’s about relieving others’ suffering and helping them toward understanding how reality works. We let go of our animosity and sense of victimization and open our minds and hearts to reality. We might begin by reminding ourselves that no one who is feeling fulfilled, respected, and satisfied with life gets up in the morning to plan a day of breaking stuff and planting pipe bombs. This means that, though we hold people accountable for their actions, we see them as human beings who suffer like us.
We can look into how suffering arises from our economy, culture, and social structure. Once, auto workers in Michigan, for instance, lived a good life and enjoyed respect before the implosion of the auto industry. Today they confront poverty and a sense that others think them worthless. Fossil fuel workers face the same future. How have we felt when we faced being discarded ― when we felt everyone else was having fun and we weren’t invited? Not so good. Seeing that, we can understand those folks in Michigan a bit better. Answers are not out there somewhere, waiting for us to find them. They are inside us, waiting for us to see them and experiment with them.
Answers are in others, too. We can help answers arise when we approach with friendliness and listen with openness. Bodhisattva practice is about meeting each person as if for the first time. We recognize and put aside our preconceptions, acknowledging and extending good regard to this person just the way they are. We listen when they speak, not interrupting with our rebuttals or solutions. We are clear when we don’t agree, but we listen without attempting to change them. Why is that? Well, how do we feel when someone attempts to convince us to follow their idea of who we should be? As for me, I feel deeply distrustful and resistant, worried that this person is trying to use me. Let’s remember that others will feel exactly the same. So, we have no chance of manipulating this person with their crazy ideas, and we needn’t waste good energy on it. When we have no agenda and just let others talk, they’re comforted by our friendliness and often find their own answers.
The best way of enticing others out of their dreams is to live our own lives with good regard and openness, accepting everyone as they are and letting them be. A grounded life, joyfully lived, can be a beacon for others. Perhaps they’ll drop the dreams. Perhaps they won’t. In either case, we’ve lived the Buddha’s life and the world has benefited.
This bodhisattva practice requires dealing with all that fear that we’ll be harmed by the dangerous beliefs of others. It’s also helpful to let go of our aversion to differences others might have. This sometimes feels impossible, but let’s at least give it a try. Yes, we’ll be stiff and weird at first, but even that is better than nothing. If we keep at it, who knows what will happen?
One thing is certain – we’ll create more wellbeing in the world.
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.
Monday Night Dharma – by Zoom – Monday nights , 7:00– 8:00 p.m. Contact us for the link.
Introduction to Zazen – by Zoom – Wednesday, December 16, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. Contact us for the link.
Sangha Meeting – December 27, Following the Dharma Talk Contact us for the link.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
12:15 – 12:55 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
Sunday zazen – by Zoom
9:00 – 9:40 sitting
9:45 – 10:15 dharma talk
10:15 – 11:00 check in and discussion
Quote of the week
From The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life