The Day after our Winter Retreat came to a close we woke up to an active snowfall. It has been fairly mild since the very cold week at the end of December and signs of spring were everywhere: daffodils and tulips popping up everywhere, buds and new growth on all the trees, little flowers on the umi and cherry trees, leaves bursting out on a few shrubs and trees and so on.
The snow this morning was very wet with slush everywhere. This late in the winter (a month to spring!) dry powder is a real rarity. But as the sky lightened it cooled down a little further and light dryer snow continued to fall.
We begin the Spring Training period with a virtual weeklong winter retreat recommitting ourselves to our great vow. For this retreat we will focus on the foundations of our practice. There will be a morning instructional talk that will emphasize right view, the condition of our minds that facilitate practice, right effort, the way that we direct our attention and energy to fruitful practice and the cultivation of being in alignment with what is. There will be opportunities throughout the week for feedback, questions and dialog during this period. The afternoon dharma talks will build on the morning instruction with discourse on the essentials of practice: great trust, the fury of great determination and great uncertainty. We will use numerous sources for these topics, but the Chan Whip Anthology by Jeffery Broughton will be the primary text.
Participants are encouraged to commit for as much of the retreat as they are able to do. Once you’ve committed to a schedule stick to it. We can get as much out of a virtual retreat as any period of sustained practice, but it is up to us. The schedule that will be followed at the monastery can be found here which you can use to coordinate self-directed work practice, physical practice, meals and breaks. Observe noble silence throughout, for sesshin is a retreat from words and language as much as anything else. In all activities take the single minded approach of practice.
Broadcast Schedule 5am to 7am: Choka; Zazen 9:30am to Noon: Instructional Talk; Zazen 2pm to 4:00pm: Dharma Talk; Zazen 5:30pm to 8:30pm: Zazen
February finds us deep in the icy depths of winter, a time for hibernation, inside work and contemplation. A perfect time for deep, sustained practice. We will hold a Winter Retreat on this second week of February and take this opportunity for intensive practice. This retreat will be online only and will be more oriented toward the virtual experience. As we come into February there will be a detailed post with the full schedule, practice details and study material. This information will also be published in February Newsletter (subscribe here). To have our virtual events and their zoom links emailed to you join our Events Mailing list (subscribe here).
Tentative Broadcast Schedule 5am to 7am: Choka; Zazen 9:30am to Noon: Instructional Talk; Zazen 2pm to 4:00pm: Dharma Talk; Zazen 5:30pm to 8:30pm: Zazen
Once again the planning team write with sad news – we are cancelling the upcoming sesshin.
Roshi and Chisan are unable to travel to the USA, and have asked that we cancel the February Sesshin at Tahoma and the ko-sesshin in Los Angeles and Mexico.
The current wave of Omicron has created significant travel restrictions that have led to this unhappy decision. Japan is now requiring all returnees to quarantine at a designated hotel upon re-entering the country and flights between Osaka and the West coast are reducing to one per week.
Along with these difficulties the potential for a large surge in cases creates a real possibility of break-through infections at our gatherings with real health risks to all present.
Roshi and Chisan have said they hope to come in May, they ask that we keep that time available and plan to meet together then.
With deep regret, Tahoma Zen Monastery Sesshin Planning Committee
The February 2020 training period at Tahoma Zen Monastery will consist of an OSesshin led by Shodo Harada Roshi.
OSESSHIN: February 5th – February 12th, 2020 Kokuho is Wednesday evening, February 5th. Osesshin concludes the evening of Wednesday, February 12th. Full time participation is required.
The application deadline is Sunday, December 29th. Acceptance emails will be sent soon after the first of the year. Please send your Osesshin fee once you have been notified of your acceptance. The cost of Osesshin is $400.
Schedules, guidelines for conduct, and directions to the monastery can be found on the Sesshin page.
Please consider arriving a day early to help with set up or staying a day after to assist with clean up. Any help you can provide towards this effort would be greatly appreciated. Temple housing is limited and we appreciate your flexibility. There may be a wait-list. People on the wait-list will be contacted immediately as spaces become available.
One Drop Zendo Los Angeles: February 13th – February 15th, 2020 Kokuho is Thursday evening. Space is limited and you must be registered to attend. For further information, please contact Jikun.
Continuing our regularly scheduled day of practice we will devote Saturday February 23rd to zazen. This year for the reading and study portion of the practice day we are going to be focusing on the Diamond Sutra. We will be utilizing the Red Pine translation and commentary if you’d like to engage in this with your own copy. As always one is welcome to come before evening zazen on Friday and stay through Zazenkai on Sunday for a full 36 hours of practice. Further details on practice at Tahoma over this weekend can be found at the end of this post.
Do note that for this Day of Practice we will be using Tending Clouds as our zendo. Tending Clouds is the next building down the path from the kitchen. There will be signs and schedules posted on the main buildings to facilitate getting to the correct locations.
The Schedule for this day will be:
Seated in Zendo; Gosei
Han; Zazen; Zazen
Samu (Clappers; meet at deck)
Samu ends (Clappers)
Seated in Zendo; Gosei
Seated in Zendo; Gosei
Reading; Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin; Zazen; Zazen*
Supper (optional, free-style)*
Seated in Zendo; Gosei
Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin;
Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin; Zazen; Zazen
Kaichin in kitchen
The Monastery’s regularly scheduled periods of zazen from 5 am to 7 am and 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm will still be observed and anyone can drop in for either of these or any of the other zazen periods. You are also welcome to arrive on Friday before the Practice Day and/or stay though Zazenkai on Sunday, if you’d like to extend your practice. In all cases it is expected that the monasteries schedule will be followed.
Please email us If you’d like to attend, especially if you will be coming early or staying later or if you have any questions: email@example.com
* Note In the case that the only registered participants in the Day of Practice are Monastery Residents, the 2pm to 4pm period will be freestyle zazen. Drop-ins are welcome to sit in the zendo, just know that it will be unstructured until Zazen at 5:20pm.