One Pine Hall Newsletter December 9, 2012

 ONE PINE HALL NEWSLETTER

A Community of Soto Zen Buddhists in Seattle Washington

Issue 29                                                                                                          

 December 9, 2012

 

Hello friends,

 

Through a cloud of breath

White from the chill of the night

Seeing a lone star

We celebrated the awakening of our original teacher Shakyamuni Buddha yesterday.  He who sat under the Bodhi tree just as we do on our cushions, benches and chairs mindful of the sensations that arise moment by moment as well as our various thoughts.  The story of his awakening cites Mara with sending various challenges to try the Buddha, fearful and frightful visions, erotic and sensual temptations and finally the temptation of fame and gain.  But with a calm and serene mind seeing the light of the morning star the Buddha awoke to thusness and realized the 4 noble truths. Would that we all too may soon awaken.

But the power of the story of our original teacher’s experience is that like us he too was challenged by the various sensations and thoughts.  We are not alone as we sit, whether we sit alone or with great sanghas we sit with the Buddha on our seat.  The Buddha who experienced sickness, grew old, and died just as we do.  The Buddha who was confronted with terribly frightening visions of horror.  The Buddha who was confronted with the burning of various passions.  The Buddha who was tempted by the simple yet powerful desires of fame and gain just as we are tempted and challenged.  That we are not alone with our personal experiences that bring tears to our eyes or pain to our hearts is the truth that we sit with the Buddha on our seat.  The Buddha who has also faced everything that we too face.

But the difference may be that while we face our experiences with a heart that struggles against the greed hatred and delusion that assault us on our seat, the Buddha sits with a great open heart spacious as the sky as our Tibetan sisters might say.  With an open heart to the vicissitudes of life and the greed hatred and delusions that are experienced in the context of space and can be seen as the perfect expressions of the causes and conditions that gave rise to them.  Seeing that context in which they arise the Buddha is able to see the changes that will lead to their disintegration.

So let us continue to express our gratitude to our original teacher and the ancestors that have brought this great teaching down to us today that we might have the opportunity to awaken upon seeing the morning star, by opening our hearts as we sit, mindful of the moment by moment unfolding of sensations and thoughts, like the clouds that form and dissipate in the sky.

I remember as a youngster lying in the field on a warm spring day watching the clouds as they seemed to form in one area and dissipate in another right in front of my eyes.  Some were wispy but others were full and fluffy.  I had not yet flown and so I wondered what it would be like to go inside of one of those clouds.  Would it be like the foggy mornings we used to have when I would walk out to the bus stop not able to even see to the other side of the little 2 lane county road that passed by our house.  Or would it be bright and blinding with the sunlight, like the white sparkly stones I would sometimes find in the creek.  The imagination of a child.

I would like to invite us all to bring the child’s mind of curiosity and openness to our sitting.

Best wishes to all for a joyous and peaceful holiday season and the coming of the New Year.   

ZAZEN SCHEDULE   

One Pine Hall

Onepinehall.org      

 

425 23 Ave S. #114

Seattle WA 98144

206-369-5893

Sundays 7:00pm – 8:30pm (40 minute of sitting, 20 minute talk, short service, and tea)

 

Please call to let me know if you are planning to attend

            Robby Ryuzen Pellett

206-369-5893

 

OTHER SOTO ZEN GROUPS IN SEATTLE AREA

 

Seattle Soto Zen Center in Fremont.  They have sittings on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to noon.   http://www.seattlesotozen.org/

 

Or with Bellevue Zen Center, who have sittings on Saturdays mornings 7:30-9:30am.  http://www.meetup.com/BellevueZenCenter/  

 

Or with the EcoSangha, who meet Thursday evenings in the Chapel at Seattle University

 http://www.ecosangha.com/

Or with Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham Washington  http://www.redcedarzen.org/

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One Pine Hall Newsletter March 31, 2013

ONE PINE HALL NEWSLETTER

A Community of Soto Zen Buddhists in Seattle Washington

Issue 29                                                                                                         

  March 31, 2013

 

Hello friends,

 

A one leg woman

In wild abandonment

Dances in the rain

 

Today is Easter Sunday and I am struck by the idea of reincarnation.  Like many American Soto Zen practitioners I was raised as a Christian.  As we moved about regularly (my father was a carpenter not a solider) I attended different churches.  Whichever church was nearby.  While in high school I attended a small country church and actually was considering attending a Christian college but that is another story.  Today I am thinking about the resurrection of Christ and the promise that all good Christians will be reborn in heaven.

 

Resurrection, reborn, reincarnation.  To be able to have a chance for another life.  Reincarnation is one of the big questions of Buddhism.  I grew up learning about reincarnation as a popular concept.  We lived as a famous or important person in a past life was a common theme in the tabloid papers that could be picked up at the checkout counter in the grocery store. 

 

Later, I remember reading Hindu writings about the Law of Karma and reincarnation suggesting that people who do good go on to live a good next life or if a person lives a bad life they will go on to a bad next life.  Finally I came to understand that within the Vedic traditions it is thought that we have been separated from the ‘Source’ or ‘Godhead’ and the process of rebirth is viewed as hell.  To continue to be born separate from the ecstasy of unification.  So the teachings suggest that one has to live a good life in order to be reborn/reincarnated into a better life which will eventually lead to unification with the source.

Over time with the help of our Soto Zen elders I have come to consider the idea of rebirth/reincarnation as a process within the context of unfolding of life moment by moment.  It is said that Karma is the actions we take and the fruits of our actions are experienced either immediately or later or in future generations to use Dogen’s 3 times structure.

 

We arrive at this moment with the inertia of all history back to birth of the universe.  As the song goes we are all just star dust.  Then we have the biological imperative to live.  We are indebted to our ethnic history, our genetic heritage, and the time and culture of our birth which contributes to the story of our life.  Then we are conditioned by the experiences of our life to this moment.  In this very moment we have an inertia for how we will act.  Our action in this very moment will contribute to future inertia and choices.  We might experience the fruits of our action this very moment immediately such as in the look in someone’s face, or a sore thumb, or laugh.  Or we might experience it as the layered context of our life as it continues to unfold, distrust from our friends, an offer of a new job, marriage or divorce. And then there is the fruits in future generations, environmental devastation, social upheaval, changes in state laws or municipality rules.   

 

But our practice suggests that in this very moment we are free to be and act outside of the inertia that led to this very moment.  Just as we sit upright sensations arise, leading to thoughts to fantasies but we can follow these fruits of karma or we can just sit and allow the inertia of our Karma exhaust itself which will create more opportunities of freedom in this very moment.  The liberation that Buddhism talks of.

 

May our practice lead all beings to liberation.

 

  

ZAZEN SCHEDULE   

One Pine Hall

Onepinehall.org      

 

425 23 Ave S. #114

Seattle WA 98144

206-369-5893

Sundays 7:00pm – 8:30pm (40 minute of sitting, 20 minute talk, short service, and tea)

 

Please call to let me know if you are planning to attend

            Robby Ryuzen Pellett

206-369-5893

 

OTHER SOTO ZEN GROUPS IN SEATTLE AREA

Seattle Soto Zen Center in Fremont.  They have sittings on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to noon.   http://www.seattlesotozen.org/

 

Or with the EcoSangha, who meet Thursday evenings in the Chapel at Seattle University

 http://www.ecosangha.com/

Or with Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham Washington  http://www.redcedarzen.org/

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One Pine Hall Newsletter 6-3-12

 

 

ONE PINE HALL NEWSLETTER

A Community of Soto Zen Buddhists in Seattle Washington

Issue 27                                                                                                                       June 3, 2012

 

Hello friends,

 

Alive so alive

Here now this very moment

Simply so alive

 

The gray overcast sky allows the various colors of green of the grass, moss, tree leaves and so on, to shine forth today.

 

This summer on Sunday August 19, we will celebrate Nat’s receiving of the precepts.  The fundamental step in becoming a child of Buddha in the Soto Zen tradition.   It is talked about in the Shushogi that we have been chanting and Dogen wrote about it in the Shobogenzo chapter entitled Jukai.

 

I have been fortunate to have formally received the precepts 4 times in Japan.  The first time was during a O’ Jukai which is a large ceremony last 5 days.  The ceremony was officiated by Zenji Newa Roshi.   A large group of us lived at a local temple for the 5 days sleeping in the Buddha hall.  We participated in the services daily.  The noon service was always dedicated to a patron who had donated for our lunch on behalf of a dead parent or child.  Every morning we did a jundo, a procession to each altar and shrine in the temple grounds to offer incense and bow.  Then we worked.    It was in the spring during the spouting of new bamboo so we dug bamboo shoots most days but we also cleaned toilets, and raked leaves on the grounds.   Each afternoon we heard a lecture on the precepts from different teachers.  We all wore white vestments with a protection  amulet written on the back.  On the 4th night we entered a maze with a list of our past karma written on paper that if we made it past the fearsome guardians of the Dharma we could burn in the fire tended by a bodhisattva.   The next day being made pure the night before we received the precepts and then were given a linage chart and a Dharma name to begin our new life as children of Buddha.  After which there was a mondo where the various monks were able to ask the Zenji questions.  It was quite an experience, hopefully one day we can celebrate an O’jukai here in the United States.

 

The next Jukai or Zaike tokudo (staying home and taking the precepts) was a small intimate ceremony between me and my teacher Suzuki Hoitsu Roshi with my elder brother Koki san assisting.   Paul Descoe and a group of men from the San Francisco Zen Center were also present as they were at Rinsoin to practice for a few of weeks.  I remember being touched by being anointed by the wisdom water and then the water being offered to beings in the 10 directions.   After the ceremony we all ate noodles, which are a favorite food of my teacher.

 

I received the precepts when I was ordained or Shukke tokudo (leaving home and taking the precepts).

 

And lastly I received the precepts again during the transmission ceremony.

 

Making a vow is a powerful and dynamic action.  Unlike making a statement or a promise which if we do not follow through with we are left with the disappointment but when making a vow we incur the consequences of stating our intention to act in accordance with the vow for all beings to hear and witness.  If we do not live up to our vowed intentions we will experience mountains and rivers blocking our way.  We come to the decision to accept the precepts after some reflection and consideration.  I would suggest that it is not something we do lightly or on a whim.

 

Please join us in celebrating Nat’s decision to accept the precepts this summer

 

 

ZAZEN SCHEDULE 

One Pine Hall

Onepinehall.org

 

425 23 Ave S. #114

Seattle WA 98144

206-369-5893

Sundays

7:00pm – 8:30pm

40 minute period of sitting, 20 minute talk, short service, and tea

 

Please call to let me know if you are planning to attend

Robby Ryuzen Pellett

206-369-5893

 

OTHER SOTO ZEN GROUPS IN SEATTLE AREA

Also consider sitting with Seattle Soto Zen Center in Fremont.  They have sittings on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to noon.   http://www.seattlesotozen.org/

 

Or with Bellevue Zen Center, who have sittings on Saturdays mornings 7:30-9:30am.  http://www.meetup.com/BellevueZenCenter/

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3/11/12 One Pine Hall Newsletter

ONE PINE HALL NEWSLETTER

A Community of Soto Zen Buddhists in Seattle Washington

Issue 26                                                                                                     March 11, 2012,

 

Hello friends,

 

After a cold night

The morning comes clear and bright

A plum in blooming.

 

Today is the one year anniversary of the terrible tragedy in Northern Japan.  The violent tremors and giant tsunami destroyed more than 370,00 buildings.  15,854 people were officially noted to have been killed and 3,155 others are still missing.   And there are still 340,00 people living as evacuees.

 

This tragedy was compounded by the nuclear accident at the Tokyo Electric Power Company Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima.   The release of radiation led to a large evacuation.  But a number of people died directly due to the accident.   A number of people were killed by exposure to the radiation at the power plant and many more will live with the results of exposure due to the lack of proper equipment including radiation suits and radiation exposure monitors for the workers at the nuclear power plant.

 

As Buddhists we offer the merits of our practice  and recitations of sutras to those who died and those still suffering from that tragedy.  And it is our path to look directly at tragedy to see it fully with compassion and wisdom.

 

I was able to go to Japan in May last year to participate in the Zuise ceremony at Eiheiji and Sojiji.  While at Eiheiji I and the other 2 priests doing Zuise at Eiheiji  were able to meet with the Administrative  Vice Director Matsubara Roshi for tea.  He talked about a recent meeting he had attended in Kyoto where several Buddhist priests were talking about who should have been saved.   Some argued that the elders should have been saved as they have the wisdom of age, others argued that the children should have been saved as they have the greatest potential for the future.  But Matsubara suggested that those that lived should be accepted as they are here and the other unfortunate people are gone.  To get caught up in speculation only confuses the tragedy for those that did not die but are left to wonder why they survived and their friends or family members did not.  Our path is the expression of compassion and wisdom.

 

Of great interest is the conference hosted by Eiheiji and organized by Matsubara Roshi last November 3, 2011 titled “Caring for Life, How to live without choosing nuclear power”.   The main message was that it is our lifestyle of greed that has led to the development and dependence on nuclear power and this must be examined by all of us.  It was also stated that nuclear power is not compatible with the theory of the earth as sentient life.

 

While in Japan in May and later in October last year I saw a great interest among folks in using less energy and a growing grassroots interest in ‘green energy’.   At this time most of Japan’s nuclear power plants are off line for various reasons, but mostly for safety check reviews.  But many of the local communities are resisting having the plants re-start.

 

So from this terrible tragedy has grown an awareness of the danger of nuclear power and interest in finding safe sustainable power sources.   This is also an opportunity for us all to examine our lifestyles.  The choices we make in our homes, our travel, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away can be considered through the lens of compassion and wisdom.   Our practice of sitting is a source of the deepening of compassion and wisdom within our hearts.

 

Let us sit for ourselves and for all beings everywhere.

 

ZAZEN SCHEDULE 

One Pine Hall

 

425 23 Ave S. #114

Seattle WA 98144

206-369-5893

Sundays

7:00pm – 8:30pm

40 minute period of sitting, 20 minute talk, short service, and tea

 

Please call to let me know you are planning to attend

Robby Ryuzen Pellett

206-369-589

 

OTHER SOTO ZEN GROUPS IN SEATTLE

Also consider sitting with Seattle Soto in Fremont.  They have sittings on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to noon.   http://www.seattlesotozen.org/

 

Or with Bellevue Zen Center, who have sittings on Saturdays mornings 7:30-9:30am.  http://www.meetup.com/BellevueZenCenter/

 

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One Pine Hall Newsletter Feb 12, 2011

ONE PINE HALL NEWSLETTER

A Community of Soto Zen Buddhists in Seattle Washington

Issue 25                                                                                                     February 12, 2011

Hello friends,

Shivers and goose bump

It is particularly

Cold on this clear day.

The sky is uncharacteristically clear today and the though the sun is out and offers its light, it is not a warm light.

I remember a tea teacher once suggesting to me that I relax my skin one cold morning as I was helping to prepare for a tea party while I was shivering.   Then there was the time of changing the paper on the shoji screens at Rinsoin before New Year day.  It was a cold day and a colder night as we wet the screens and washed off the old paper, our fingers stiff from the cold water.   And during my childhood we heated and cooked with wood and I had to chop and carry wood onto the porch.  I remember a snowy day that was particularly harsh with feet and hands that felt like blocks of frozen pain.  The physicality of life is so directly felt on cold days like those.

Our practice of sitting is a place where the physicality of life is also felt.  The erect spine brings a regal sense of uprightness.   The relaxed face and eyes brings a reflected sense of calm.  The kinetics of breathing drawing us ever closer to the present.  The growing sensation of pain in our knees  helps to keep us humble.  Our practice slowly over time brings us to the truth of thusness.

In February we remember the Buddha’s death by reading from the Nirvana Sutra.  This Sutra tells of Buddha becoming sick and falling to the side of the road.  It also tells of the Buddha becoming tired.   And finally it tells of the Buddha’s death.   What a great gift the Buddha gives us by showing that even when enlightened a person subject to death.  Enlightenment did not save the Buddha from getting sick or tired or even from death.  So what did enlightenment do,  it did give the Buddha a clear eye to deeply experience his life directly.  Let us celebrate the Buddha’s life by living our own life as immediately and deeply moment by moment as it unfolds regardless of cold or warmth of the day.

Nehan Sitting

I would like to invite you to come sit together in remembrance of Buddha’s Paranarvana on Friday  February 25 from 7pm to 9pm and Saturday February 26 from 9am to 5pm. Please bring your own lunch Saturday.

ZAZEN SCHEDULE

One Pine Hall

425 23 Ave S. #114

Seattle WA 98144

206-369-5893

Sundays

7:00pm – 8:30pm

40 minute period of sitting, 20 minute talk, short service, and tea

Please call to let me know you are planning to attend

Robby Ryuzen Pellett

206-369-5893

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One Pine Hall Newsletter for November 2010

ONE PINE HALL NEWSLETTER
A Community of Soto Zen Buddhists in Seattle Washington

Issue 25 November 15, 2010

Hello friends,

Rhythms of the rain
On the bushes and concrete
Suggest we should dance

The common weather of autumn has returned, with rain, wind, cloudy skies, and colder temperatures. We have begun wearing sweaters, warm socks and hats. On my way to work I walk by folks sleeping on sidewalks under bridges, wrapped up in their blankets and cardboard. These are truly hard times. With the world and national economies depressed with record numbers of unemployed, more people are falling through the social safety nets. Real people are considering killing themselves due to the experience of failure to find a job, and losing their homes. So while I am stopped in deep awe at the spectacular colors of autumn leaves, seeing trees that go from green to yellow to orange to red from the bottom to the top, I am also painfully aware that others are only aware of feeling cold and hungry.

I remember as a boy hating the winter. In school we would cut out snowflakes and tape them to the schoolroom windows in celebration of winter and Christmas. But I did not look forward to winter. We lived in the Oregon Cascade foothills. Our home was heated by a wood stove and my step-mother cooked on a wood stove as well. It was my job to get up in the morning and get a fire going in the stoves before my parents got up. I learned to make a fire quickly and effectively, for it did not bode well for me if the fire went out before the house got warm. Corporal punishment was the standard of discipline in my youth. For wood, we would get a load of ‘pond lilies’ the butt end of logs cut off before the logs were sawed into lumber, in the fall. It was generally my job to cut these up into usable sizes for the 2 stoves. Then my brother and I would carry and stack the wood on the front porch. I remember nights coming home from school and having to cut enough wood for the fire for the next day. There were times when the rain turned to snow and my feet would be so cold in rubber boots or tennis shoes. I could not imagine why anyone would be excited by the snow. Later as an adult I bought a pair of Sorrel boots with felt liners, and was stunned at how having my feet stay warm changed my whole experience of winter and snow even when I still had to cut wood for the stove in the cabin I was living in then. Such a small thing that had such a large impact on my experience. Later when I moved to Boulder Colorado I remember going for a walk one night with my Sorrels and a thick black sweater on while it was snowing and being warm enough to enjoy seeing for the first time the beauty of the snowflakes in their 3 dimensional forms.

If you have some to spare during these difficult times please consider giving to those in need.

Rohatsu
I would like to invite you to come sit together in celebration in Buddha’s Enlightenment on Sunday December 12 from 9am to 5pm. Please bring your own lunch. There will be no evening sitting that night.

ZAZEN SCHEDULE
One Pine Hall
425 23 Ave S. #114
Seattle WA 98144
206-369-5893
Sundays
7:00pm – 8:30pm
40 minute period of sitting, 20 minute talk, short service, and tea

Please call to let me know you are planning to attend
Robby Ryuzen Pellett
206-369-5893

OTHER SOTO ZEN GROUPS IN SEATTLE

Also consider sitting with Seattle Soto in Fremont. They have sittings on Sunday mornings from 9:30 to noon. http://www.seattlesotozen.org/

Or with Trikaya Zen Center in Fremont, they have sitting on Sundays 10 to 11:30 and Thursdays 7 to 8:15pm. http://trikayazencenter.org/

Or with Bellevue Zen Center, who have sittings on Saturdays mornings 7:30-9:30am. http://www.meetup.com/BellevueZenCenter/

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