Sunday, August 8, 2021
Monday, June 14, 2021
Sunday, May 9, 2021
here on Youtube.
Now that he is ordained, Corwyn can perform marriages and lead funerals and memorial services, like any clergy person. As an "unsui" or "clouds and waters" priest, he has taken a vow to devote his life to being of service to the sangha, and to all beings. He is not yet a Zen teacher, but functions in countless ways to support our community. You can read more about what it means to be a Boundless Way priest, and the distinction between teacher and priest here.
Corwyn's ordination name, Ryūdõ, means "dragon hall", and is the family name I give to all those I have the privilege to ordain. Kinzan, his first Zen name, means "joyful mountain."
As we say in our ordination ceremony: "The way is perfect like vast space, where there’s no lack and no excess; the person who does not realize this wanders lost in a world of confusion and hurt, while the person who realizes the way is immediately at home."
Welcome home, Ryūdõ Kinzan!
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
Our April Distant Temple Bell online sesshin (Zen retreat) finished up yesterday and here is the screen shot of most of our participants taken by our tanto (head seat) Corwyn Miyagishima. He was joined in running the sesshin by Senior Assistant Teacher Alan Richardson as assistant tanto, along with Jenny Smith and Adam Monty as officers. David Dae An Rynick Roshi and I were the teachers, assisted by Senior Assistant Teacher Rev. Paul Galvin and Senior Assistant Teacher Michael Herzog. Corwyn named the retreat after a story told in one of the talks about a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who, while scattering away a big pile of gold dust, said "All the world is gold to me!" From the evidence of the bright faces in the photo, each shining with their own light, that's easy to see.
Our next sesshin will be held online June 11 -- 13. Stay tuned for information about this and other events by joining our mailing list at Boundless Way Temple. Happy Spring everyone!
Tuesday, March 2, 2021
Westron wynde, when wyll thow blow
The smalle rayne downe can rayne?
Cryst yf my love were in my armys,
And I yn my bed agayne!
--Anonymous (16th centruy)
Last night the wind howled everywhere around the Temple, moving trees and downing branches. The wind chill temperature reached down to -20 F (-30 C). When the power went out briefly around midnight and then returned, the energy surge rang the doorbell and made all the appliances that beep make their small insistent sounds.
My thoughts, as I tried to get back to sleep, drifted back to seeing my first Zen teacher, during a similar late winter windstorm at a sesshin, out on the porch that surrounded the zendo. He was standing still, looking out over the forest that surrounded the little temple that we had rented for the retreat. I went out to stand next to him, and we stayed that way for a while. As he left, he whispered the poem that begins this writing, but in modern English: "Oh Western Wind, when will you blow, the small rain down can rain? Christ if my live were in my arms and I in my bed again."
It's a poem of longing, for the western wind to blow winter away, to bring the spring rains, to return to the intimacy of the comfort of a companion and a warm bed. I don't really know what my teacher, now long dead, was thinking, but I remember that moment vividly in my own heart, as an expression of the power of a strong wind to blow away whatever must go -- not just in the natural world, where we can feel the power of a winter wind, but also in our minds and hearts, burdened by distress and sorrow.
Ultimately, everything must go, even this season of uncertainty that envelopes the planet. What will come next? For now, we trust that it will be spring soon, but beyond that, who knows?
Wednesday, February 24, 2021
Sunday, February 21, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
As Hakuin Zenji sings in his Song of Zazen: "All beings by nature are Buddhas, as ice by nature is water." Training the perceptual mind to see everything as an example of the awakened heart takes some work: we have to let many of our old rigidly held patterns around differentiation, especially our certainty about right and wrong, you and me, this and that, life and death, Buddha and not-Buddha, become looser.
While there are indeed different qualities to everything we encounter, and it's vitally important not to ignore differentiation, there is another view which can provide some delight to the discouraged heart in difficult times. A friend recently told me that she had realized, in mourning a beloved parent, that even though on one level her parent was definitely dead, on another level they weren't. She said to me, "there is no life and death!" Her parent is definitely gone from any ordinary way of perceiving a person, but she realized that everyone she meets, alive or dead, is like this. Her parent was once a baby, once a child, ultimately old and ill. All of these versions of her parent were true. And this perception applies to living people, too. She had discovered the truth of the teachings for herself. In the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) teachings the historical Buddha, who died 2600 years ago, is still alive, and takes an infinite variety of forms, populating the Buddha fields, which can be perceived everywhere.
My two-year-old grandson is learning about Buddhas -- he got a plushy toy version for his birthday. This is a Buddha who needs kisses and also has to brush his teeth. He needs to be greeted with a cheerful, "hi Buddha!" For many months he has been seeing Buddha statues, as well as Christian statues like the one pictured above, as different versions of Buddha. He sees Buddhas everywhere. As his process of ego-development and learning about differentiation continues to develop, I wonder if he will retain this freshness, and say "hi Buddha" everywhere he goes, to every religious statue he encounters. Whatever happens to him, and to my grieving friend, they inspire me to remember to see all beings as Buddha and to see Buddhas everywhere.
Tuesday, February 9, 2021
|Priest and friend, masked and unmasked|
It's been a long time since I posted anything beyond news of events at the Temple. Something about the times we've been living through have left me "taking the backward step" as Dogen says, rather than reaching out to people through this blog. But I've made a new commitment, and, in the way of all such plans, while I am fairly sure that this post will happen, I can only hope and trust that I'll continue to post more regularly.
The photo above is from a billboard in front of our local Roman Catholic church, about a national giving campaign. I love the look on the face of our old friend white Jesus, happily unmasked and looking over the shoulder of one of his priests. There's something about the two of them that points us all to finding a way to our common ground as human beings in the middle of a pandemic. I've been practicing with my reactivity to people who don't wear masks, figuring that, on some level, they don't believe in the pandemic. While the emotional-cognitive reaction I have is based on delusion, since I don't really know why people out in public aren't wearing masks (did they forget? are they having trouble breathing? are they angels, bodhisattvas or saints appearing among us to show us the way?) it provides an opportunity to look deeply into my own tendency to create reality out of a partial understanding of what's happening at any time, anywhere.
Zen teachings point us to the opportunity to meet everything as fully as we possibly can, to engage directly with the world we perceive and to be suspicious of the conclusions we draw. The guideline is to be curious about everything. I will probably never know why the people I meet during my daily walk are masked or unmasked, but I do know that they are probably human beings like me, struggling to figure out how to live in a challenging world. This allows a more spacious internal experience, and I am then free to greet them sincerely, with a hidden, masked smile, as another companion on the path.
Saturday, February 6, 2021