We’re re-opening to vaccinated members on July 11. Bring your vaccination card and join us in person if you live in the area. We ask that everyone wear masks indoors until the CDE declares that it is safe for unvaccinated people to go unmasked again. We have masks here if you’ve forgotten yours.

Practicing With Future Buddhas

Ryushin Hart

Rev. Ryushin Hart spoke to us today from Corvallis, Oregon.  Here’s my summary of his talk.  He received much of his training from Rev. Chozen Bays, whose book on Jizo I mentioned last week. The talk itself will be posted this week on our web site.  Go listen to it!

Ryushin spoke first of chanting and how it helps our practice by allowing dharma to seep into our consciousness so it’s available when we need it.  He spoke especially of chanting the Five Remembrances from the Pali Canon.  The first three are that we are of the nature to become ill, grow old, and die.  The fourth is that we can’t escape being separated from what we love.  The fifth is that we can’t escape the consequences of our actions. 

Then he turned to dealing with people who arouse our aversion.  How do we work with our thoughts, words, and actions when we encounter these folks?

First, he quoted line from Sekito Kisen’s “Song of the Grass-Roofed Hut”:

     Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
     Open your hands and walk, innocent.

When we’re irritated with someone, we can remember to let go of our angry thoughts and grudges, to open the hand of thought and continue on.

When we see others, we can realize that we will realize Buddhahood through them.  This goes even, and perhaps especially, for those who irritate us most.

Why?  A student of Hakuin Ekaku, Torei Zenji, noted that everything is a manifestation of Buddha’s mysterious radiance and therefore deserves our deep respect.  We are grateful for the generosity of inanimate objects in feeding, clothing, and protecting us.  We should be even more grateful for foolish people and people who become enemies and persecute us with abusive language.  This is the Buddha’s compassionate way of liberating us from our mean-spirited delusions and open our hearts, Torei Zenji says.  Ryushin commented that this leads us to examine our thoughts and fears about others and understand how to let go of them and change our attitude.  Then he led us in a guided meditation in working with people who anger us using these ways of seeing.  For more on that, you’ll have to listen to his talk!

Ryushin also mentioned the story of the Bodhisattva Never Disparaging from the Lotus Sutra.  This Bodhisattva bowed to everyone he met, saying “I have reverence for you because I know you will become a buddha.”  Some were angry and critical, or they threw stones.  Bodhisattva Never Disparaging would run to a safe distance and repeat his words.  How would it be to practice with this kind of mind?  How would we treat people if we saw them as future buddhas?  We might think this silly, but there are many great exemplars – Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King are two.

Let’s think about these things and experiment with practicing them.  And that includes me – we’re never too old or have too many years of practice to do a bit of work on patience and forgiveness.

― Zuiko

* Sekito’s poem is in Ben Connelly’s Inside the Grass Hut:  Living Shitou’s Classic Zen Poem.

* The five subjects for contemplation can be found in the Anguttara Nikaya, “Upajjhatthana Sutta: Subjects for Contemplation” – https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.057.than.html

A downloadable, simpler version is at  www.floridamindfulness.org/resources/Documents/The%20Five%20Remembrances.pdf

* Torei Zenji’s vow is at https://www.zentexts.org/texts/bodhisattvasvow.html

* The story of the Bodhisattva Never Disparaging is chapter 20 in the Lotus Sutra. In the translation by Burton Watson it begins on page 265.


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.

Sesshin(Daruma)– October 15 – 175:00 am to 5:15 pm pmplease register

Introduction to Zazen – by Zoom – Wednesday, October 20, 7:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Contact us for the link.

Sangha Meeting October 24

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