December 2017: Realizing the vision of Zen practice
This year, along with talks from various Zen teachers, we have listened to an illustrator, an addiction specialist, a Jewish social worker, a Catholic with stage four cancer, an Episcopal priest, and a coffin maker. I believe that the practice of Zen includes learning lessons from others. Spiritual life is not a competition between paths, but an honest exploration into the nature of ourselves and our world. Zen is a finger pointing at the moon, not the moon itself, and other traditions can help us discover the moon and live more comfortably in the moonlight. I want the Zen Center to be a place of serious practice, and a place where we listen to others. It is my belief that we can have both.
To realize this vision, we have to keep a strong core of Zen practice, deeply rooted in silence. We have to get to know the basic forms and rituals of Zen, its philosophy, and its history. We have to get good at this particular practice.
And we have to get good at connecting with others. Living on an island, I have gotten to know my neighbors and their talents and beliefs more deeply than I might have otherwise. I know something about the lives of a few grocery baggers and I know some of the hopes of the evangelical minister whose church is on my street. I think our island Zen Center has become a place where we can get to know people of different backgrounds and beliefs better, and learn from them.
This combination of seriousness and openness, of silence and discussion, of formality and flexibility may be challenging for us to embrace sometimes. But I believe it also makes our sangha stronger, more resilient, and more understanding. Won’t you join us?
If you have thought about becoming a member, I encourage you to take the plunge today. If you have been following us from afar or attend zazen regularly, and if you appreciate the work that we do, the very best way that you can give back is by becoming a member. If you are already a member, we hope that you will consider increasing your monthly membership.
We appreciate any gift you can give as our sangha grows into the future.