ONE PINE HALL NEWSLETTER
A Community of Soto Zen Buddhists in Seattle Washington
December 9, 2012
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.
One Pine Hall
425 23 Ave S. #114
Seattle WA 98144
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
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 Red Cedar Zen Community in Bellingham Washington http://www.redcedarzen.org/