I have just been sent this fascinating video by one of our Sangha members.
Zen’s ancient teachings seem a mystery to many. But actually, Zen is very simple: Zen means attaining my true self — “What am I?” In this revolutionary film by acclaimed filmmaker Christine Schmitthenner, we see a Western Zen monk in his daily activities in the world: chanting, meditating, preparing breakfast, riding public transport, meeting with friends, even shaving his head — from moment to moment, not attached to conceptual thinking, everything is Zen, which just means everything is “moment.” The subject of this unusual film, Hyon Gak Sunim, allowed filmmakers to follow his daily living and teaching activities for a week as he met with students and organized his daily activities.
The Newport Soto Zen Buddhist group has cancelled their Thursday meeting due to the Beast from the East!
Nationwide temperatures plummeted again overnight, with Farnborough in Hampshire recording a low of minus 11C. For most places, the mercury hovered at between -4C and -7C.
Motorists have been urged to take extra care on the roads, after four people died in car crashes on Tuesday and forecasters have warned of long delays on rail, bus and air travel. Temperatures could plummet to minus 15C by midweek where there is lying snow.
On top of all that Storm Emma is forecast to hit Britain tomorrow, leaving parts of southern Britain hit by blizzards and strong winds which are expected to cause snow drifts.
The Newport Soto Zen Group is affiliated to Reading Buddhist Priory which in turn is a subsidiary of Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in Northumberland.
Last Friday the group had a daylong meditation retreat and were joined for the day by the Prior of Reading, the Reverend Gareth Milliken, a certified Buddhist priest and teacher in the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives and a monastic disciple of Rev. Master Daishin Morgan, the Abbot of Throssel Hole.
By all accounts a good day was had by all!
It’s just occurred to me that the original Blogger based West Wight Sangha Website is ten years old this month. Back on Wednesday the 6th of June 2007 I posted our first item………….
I’m launching the “West Wight Sangha” Blog today but it is still very much a work in progress (subtle Buddhist joke). Being a total Blog newbie I am still finding my way through the terminology and trying to fit the “personal” format of a Blog to suit a group. Hopefully this will be a way of either having a “public face” or possibly a private on-line notice board, or both?
This was followed on the 14th with our first proper story!
A Zen Monk on the Isle of Wight
I received this email the other day……….
I’m an English Zen monk, just on my way back from Japan. I’m going to be walking the length of Britain starting on the Isle of Wight at dawn on June 21st. Full information is on the news section of my website, zenways.org. I’d be delighted to meet you and other spiritual friends around that time. Please drop me a note if you’d like to make contact.
I am now in contact with Daizan Roshi with a view to sorting something out, I will keep everyone posted.
And the rest is history………………….
Spotted this shared photo a friend posted from “Totland and Freshwater Today”. The scene is Freshwater Bay in the West Wight and is very Zen………………..
Creating delicately balanced piles of rocks is a wide spread Buddhist practice. Its origins are unclear but it has been a long term tradition within Korean Buddhism and Japanese Zen.
Some scholars have speculated that the piles are lay peoples emulations of stupas but others point out that stacking the stones is incidental, and it is the coordination, balance and concentration needed to control the mind and body that is the intended outcome.
Leonard Cohen, poet, singer and Buddhist monk wrote this letter to Marianne Ihlen, his muse, his lover and the subject of his song So Long Marianne and the inspiration behind Bird on the Wire, on hearing of her impending death.
“Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.
And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and for your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey.
Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.”
Leonard Cohen died early today…………………………….
You may recall that back in July 2013 we reported that a fierce fire was burning in the vicinity of the Tassajara Zen Mountain Centre, a Buddhist monastery-retreat which is part of the San Francisco Zen Centre.
Now the same thing is happening again with California’s most destructive wildfire this year already claiming Anam Thubten’s Sweetwater Sanctuary. On Friday, an inspection revealed that many of the buildings were burned to the ground following the evacuation of residents, with the exception of a few structures, including the meditation yurt.
The Tassajara Zen Mountain Centre is again threatened. According to the LA Times, the Soberanes fire in Big Sur was started by an unattended illegal campfire. The fire has caused one death and burned 67-square miles of Monterey County.
Tassajara is one of three practice communities that comprise the San Francisco Zen Centre (SFZC). The SFZC posted an update on their Facebook page, saying evacuations are underway at Tassajara as a precautionary move against the erratic pattern of the fire. An evacuation notice was issued for Tassajara on Sunday morning. Fire officials say the wildfire may not be contained for another month.
California has been experiencing a severe drought since 2011.