The importance of zazen
From the Development Committee
Mark Jo-e Fraley
Sanshin Zen Community's development team is working to end the year strong. We are two-thirds of the way to our year end goal of $25,000. You can help us meet that goal by clicking here to make a donation. We thank everyone who has made a contribution to Sanshin and especially extend our deepest gratitude to Norma Fogelberg, Jeff Alberts, Tonen O'Connor, Neil Chase, Karla Passalacqua, Laura Miller, Komyo Melfi, Henry Coffey, Mark Fraley, and Gene Elias for leading our annual fund drive.
Bye bye bamboo: During the October work day, practitioners completed removal of the large patch of yellow-groove bamboo that had been growing on the northeast edge of the temple grounds since before it was purchased by Sanshin. This was in response to a notice from the city of Bloomington calling for its removal as a recently designated invasive species. Since then, Sawyer, Sanshin's event coordinator, has been coordinating with the local sangha and small farmers in the area to distribute the large number of resulting bamboo poles for re-use in yard and farm projects such as fencing and plant-trellising. A portion of the poles will remain at Sanshinji, primarily for use in fencing around the moss garden. Since the bamboo had to go, we are glad to see it go to good use.
Dharma study intensive: Founding teacher Okumura Roshi gave a series of ten morning lectures focused on Shobogenzo Zazenshin. The virtual-only event was the successor to genzo-e, with a less strenuous lecture schedule for Okumura Roshi. There was no "retreat" schedule beyond the daily lectures and Q&A periods; participants were encouraged to incorporate regular zazen practice throughout the ten days of the study intensive, as their own schedules and time zones allowed. About 40 people participated on any given day, and a crew of three were in the zendo with Okumura Roshi to manage technical systems and provide general support. The next lecture series is on the calendar for May 2 - 11, 2024, with the topic yet to be announced.
November work day: Sanshin's monthly work day was aimed at finishing the work of bamboo removal and yard cleanup as well as preparing the building for Rohatsu sesshin. Sangha members began installation of a barn door on the kitchen, constructed fold-down shelves in the hall for use during meal prep, recovered the remaining two chairs in the common room and began work on assembly of new folding tables for use during oryoki meals in the zendo.
Holiday closures: Sanshin will be closed, with no practice activities or administrative work going on.
Rohatsu sesshin (November 30 - December 8): Rohatsu sesshin marks Shakyamuni's awakening under the bodhi tree. On the final evening we sit until midnight and hold a brief chanting service. This is our longest and most intensive sesshin of the year. LEARN MORE
Ryaku fusatsu: Our monthly ceremony of renewing our aspiration to practice with the precepts happens December 18 at 7 pm. Both in-person and virtual participation is possible, and everyone is welcome regardless of whether or not you've formally taken precepts.
Visit our Schedules and Calendars page for information on all upcoming events.
American religious landscape
Religious participation declines as kids grow up: A majority (80%) of Americans say they have a religious affiliation, and about 70% of those call themselves Christian. However, the number of those who have a religious identity and are members of or attend a church, mosque, synagogue or temple has declined steeply in the last 20 years. Although practicing a religion with family as a child is associated with regular participation in later life, most of those who attended regularly as children now say that attend infrequently if at all as adults. Those who are not in the habit of regular religious participation say they think it unlikely their pattern will change. Nonetheless, 16% of US adults who did not attend as children now attend weekly or nearly every week now. LEARN MORE
German-language discussion of a text: "Dharma Dinge," a free exchange about short dharma texts takes place via Zoom every Tuesday from 7-8 pm CET. It is meant to be a safe place to share ideas and explore what this means for our lives. Participants take turns in suggesting texts and moderating the group. If you are interested, please email Jinryu Wachowitz.
Minnesota sesshin: Mountains and Waters Zen Community will hold Rohatsu sesshin December 1-7. Arrival is on Thursday evening November 30, with orientation on Friday morning. Partial participation is welcome, and arrangements will be made for less experienced practitioners. For details and registration, see this page.
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