New Video and Sesshin Report

Here is a new short film featuring our local group:

The May dai-sesshin at Korinji was attended by 20 people, including a group of 5 people from Switzerland who host Meido Roshi for a yearly sesshin there. It was a powerful experience and I was very moved by the efforts everyone made. The group also participated in a practice called shodo sampai, which involves walking to and chanting at a number of special sites across the monastery grounds, giving thanks for the week’s practice. On the final day, we enjoyed a chakai, or group tea ceremony. After the end of sesshin, our friends from Switzerland treated us to some homemade strudel that was amazing! Below are a few photos.

Finally, we will be meeting this Monday on Memorial Day, although it may be a small group due to the holiday. This summer I will be speaking more on topics related to the finer points of our physical practice forms and how they support the core intent of our training, beginning with the breath. We will announce our next half-day retreat soon. And we will plan an opportunity, for those interested, to begin practicing tea ceremony. Looking forward to practicing together!

Spring Updates

Our first half-day retreat this past Saturday was a great success. Attendees were served pickled-plum tea in the zendo, took part in a long chanting practice and a formal breakfast service, making offerings of rice and rinse-water. We did several hours of zazen and had a long walk to the nearby riverfront where the native dogwoods and other flowering trees were in bloom on a beautiful spring morning. A few photos from setting up the zendo the night before are included below. We will plan another similar event sometime this summer, so please stay tuned!

On Monday we had a talk about death and dying as it relates to zen, in response to a member question. Please find a recording of that talk here:

Earlier in the month we had a talk about effort and relaxation in zen practice:

Recordings of all the past talks are available on our Bandcamp page: https://ironcityrinzai.bandcamp.com/

This coming Monday, 4-29, after zazen we will be discussing the Buddhist concept of “self” as an unfolding process of body-mind that does not recognize the modern, Cartesian view of body and mind as separable.

And finally, please note there will be NO PRACTICE on Monday, May 6th because I will be away at Korinji in Wisconsin attending a dai-sesshin practice period.

Spring Half-day Retreat

Here are the details for our upcoming spring half-day retreat on Saturday, April 20th. Partial attendance is allowed and you may arrive or leave as needed from 8:15am on, but please do so only during kinhin and break times. Pre-registration is not required for the practice periods  from 8:30am on.

8:30 zazen

8:55 kinhin

9:00 zazen

9:25 kinhin

9:30 zazen

9:55 break

10:10 kinhin walk to riverfront

10:40 chi-kung/stretching

11:00 zazen

11:25 kinhin

11:30 zazen

11:55 kinhin

12:00 zazen

12:25 chanting/prostrations

We are also offering an additional early morning practice experience using some of the monastic forms. There is the option of arriving the night before, doing yaza (informal night sitting) and sleeping in the zendo, or arriving from home by 6:20am. Please email (genryojones@gmail.com) to pre-register for the early-morning or for overnight as we’ll need to know the number of attendees to plan for the baito tea and okayu (rice porridge) breakfast.

6:00 kaijo (wake up)

6:20 do-in-ho (movement)/baito sarei (pickled plum tea in zendo)

6:30 choka (long chanting service)

7:00 zazen

7:30 shukuza (formal breakfast)

8:00 clean up & break

The suggested minimum donation for the retreat is $20 per person (Venmo @ironcityrinzai (5532) or use the donate button at ironcityrinzai.org), but, as always, ability to donate is not a requirement for participation. Please, come practice together!

Sila, Samadhi, & Prajna Talks

This set of three talks was given this March. Taken together, sila, samadhi, & prajna are one way of describing the practice of Buddhadharma. Sila is ethical conduct or regulating behavior. Samadhi is meditative absorption, both in seated meditation and in activity. Prajna is our inherent wisdom that manifests with the fruition of practice. Please note, you can now find a page with all of the talk recordings linked under the resources heading in the menu. Thank you to everyone for your continuing participation and support!

Buddhist Modernism and Dharma & Practice Talks

A big thank you to all of you who’ve been coming on Monday nights to practice together! Here are the recordings from our last two meetings on Buddhist Modernism and Rinzai Zen from 2/19 and on the concept of “Dharma” and practice from 2/26. (Please note, we’ve switched to Bandcamp from Soundcloud for audio streaming). Next week we’ll start discussing the path of practice in terms of sila, samadhi, and prajna, beginning with sila, or ethical conduct.

“Embodied Spirituality” talk from Meido Roshi & Last Week’s “Six Paramitas” talk

This past Monday night we listened to part of a recorded dharma talk by Meido Moore Roshi: “Zen: Embodied Spirituality”, which was given at the University of Chicago recently, and had a good discussion about it afterwards. The full talk, including the Q&A, is available on the Korinji Patreon page and is open to non-subscribers. Also, a recording of our previous Monday night talk on the Six Paramitas is now available here. Next Monday, at the request of a member, we will discuss how Rinzai Zen fits into the larger picture of contemporary Buddhism. I’ll be referring in part to this interview with Robert Sharf on his critique of Buddhist modernism, if you’d like to read it ahead of time. See you Monday!

“Shugyo & Bodhicitta” Talk, Six Paramitas Reading

We had another full house this past Monday night–it’s truly wonderful to be able to practice together as a group! Here is the recording of the talk on Shugyo & Bodhicitta. Next Monday we’ll talk more about the Bodhisattva path and introduce the Six Paramitas. Here is a short reading selection for some background background information on these topics.

“Impermanence” Talk & Reading on Shugyo & Bodhicitta

Thank you again to everyone who’s been coming out to practice together on Monday evenings! Here is the recording of last Monday’s talk on Impermanence & Causality. Next Monday we’ll talk about the the word “shugyo“–practice or training–and its meaning in terms of Bodhicitta and the Bodhisattva Vow. Here is a short reading from Torei Enji’s “The Whip” that we’ll be referring to in next Monday’s talk and discussion.

“Dukkha” Talk & Six Realms Reading

Thank you again to everyone who attended last Monday! We filled our little zendo, and the difference it makes practicing together as a group was really quite palpable and amazing. Here is the link to the short talk on “Dukkha”. We will continue next Monday, after zazen and chanting practice, and finish the with Three Marks of Existence, taking a look at the concept of impermanence (“anitta”), and touching on causality and the Six Realms. Please take a look at this short reading on the Six Realms for some useful background information if you like!