Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Distant Temple Bell Heard Through Beautiful Snow Rohatsu Sesshin

This past weekend we celebrated one of our Zen holidays, commemorating the morning that our ancestor Shakyamuni Buddha, after a long night of struggling with his inner and outer demons, saw in the darkness the morning star and realized the nature of reality, the Dharma, the way things really are.  It's traditional to hold a silent meditation retreat, called a sesshin, around the alleged date, usually celebrated on December 8 (Rohatsu in Japanese).  The smiling faces in the photo above belong to the people who participated in this sesshin via Zoom.  This was the fourth virtual sesshin hosted by the Temple since the pandemic began in March and we closed our building to keep us safe from the virus.  We quickly got going on Zoom, and haven't missed a beat since then, holding daily practice sessions, classes and retreats online, keeping the practice of our Zen Temple alive through the miracle and mystery of the internet.  (For more information on our offerings, and to join us, please visit our website:  Boundless Way Temple.)

People attended the sesshin from all over the country and the world.  In Worcester, MA, USA, where the Temple is located, we had a big snowstorm on Saturday, the second full day of the sesshin.  Our tanto (head seat) named the sesshin after a quote from one of our ancestors from the Tang Dynasty in China, Layman Pang, who talks about beautiful snowflakes not falling anywhere else.  This is our life of practice, one that we can only do right here.  Whether in person or on Zoom, we are a community sincerely dedicated to realizing the Great Way of the Buddha.  I'm grateful to everyone who makes this possible:  our many ancestors and our current community.  We are so lucky in these dark times to be able to see the small light shining in the darkness!