Dawning of a New Year

“The preparation of a monastery for winter may seem unremarkable. Everything that needs to be attended to is done, yet no trace of effort is apparent.  This expresses the spirit of my teacher, Gempo Yamamoto Roshi, who spent most of his time doing zazen, and who was often completely absorbed in studying the Diamond Sutra. He would say that you are not yet mature if you are seen as great or wise by others. It is not good to be absentminded, but you should be unpretentious while being aware of all necessary matters. This is important!”

Sōen Nakagawa, Endless Vow: The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa, p. 116

As the activity from Rohatsu fades away and the solstice has marked the start of winter I often think of these words from Sōen Nakagawa. The days are surely getting longer but these are the cold, hard times. Especially right now where there is so much suffering that often has to be endured on ones own. It is vital to remember what is important. Today, December 24th, we held a memorial for Mumon Roshi and read these words from him:

All who promise to seek the wisdom of awakening and to serve all human beings are without exceptions Bodhisattvas. Those laymen and women who join our zazen are also Bodhisattvas–Bodhisattvas who study prajña-wisdom.

In the Buddha mind there are two aspects; wisdom and compassion, just as the sun shines making light and heat. To seek for wisdom or “Bodhi” is to train oneself in the practice of awareness. Compassion is the practical manifestation of wisdom. To attempt to save sentient beings is to practice Buddha’s wisdom, even if we are not awakened to it ourselves. “Compassion is not far from us. It is here in our hands whenever we practice.”

Mumon Yamada Roshi, from Lectures on the Zazen Gi in How to Practice Zazen, p. 6

In this time around the solstice people everywhere practice compassion through acts of charity, kindness, helping out others as they can. Likewise when we attend to that which needs attending, preparing the monastery, our homes, our lives for winter, we are manifesting this wisdom, this practice of compassion. At this time, when staying away from others is the most compassionate action we can take, prajna-wisdom is essential.

These times too will pass and we will again gather together to laugh, hug, share a meal, sit together. As the New Year dawns may we all deepen in our maturity, renewing our vows to practice for all beings and with no trace of effort manifest this wisdom.

On New Years Eve we will ring the Kansho Bell 108 times, dispelling all delusions for a moment. Join us if you will. There will be no formal activities beforehand but the zendo will be open for unstructured sitting throughout the evening. Masks and Social Distancing required.

New Years Celebration at Tahoma

Please come and join us at Tahoma Zen Monastery for our annual New Years Celebration. We will begin with a potluck in the kitchen. The Monastery will provide hot spiced cider and a dish or two. Please bring a vegetarian main, side, snacks or desert.

Then we will retire to the Zendo for a series of zazen and kinhin. You can always “sit out” a period of zazen, leaving during a stretch break or kinhin and taking a break, having a snack, or what-have-you, returning during another kinhin or stretch break.

At 11:30 we will have a short chant service and ceremony followed by the traditional 108 strikes on the temple Kansho Bell at midnight.

Do come for all or any part of the evenings activities as your schedule allows. Directions to the Monastery can be found here: Directions to Tahoma.
If you have any questions do contact us: Contact Information.

New Years Celebration Schedule
6:30pm Potluck in the kitchen
7:30pm cleanup
8:00pm Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin
9:00pm Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin
10:00pm Zazen; Zazen; Kinhin
11:00pm Zazen;
11:30pm New Years Chanting
12:00am Bell Ringing

Tahoma Holiday Schedule

For the week of December 24th to the 31st Tahoma Zen Monastery will observe the following schedule:

December 24th
4:50am Choka (chant service) and zazen
Mumon Roshi Memorial

December 25th and 26th
No activities

December 27th and 28th
4:50am Choka (chant service) and zazen
6:20pm Zazen

December 29th
4:50am Choka (chant service) and zazen
8:00am Zazenkai followed by tea

December 30th
6:20pm Zazen

December 31st
4:50am Choka (chant service) and zazen

New Years Celebration
6:30pm Potluck in the kitchen
8:00pm-11:30pm Zazen and Kinhin
11:30pm New Years Chanting
12:00am Bell Ringing

January 1st, 2020
No Activities

January 2nd, 2020
Regular schedule resumes
4:50am Choka (chant service) and zazen
6:20pm Zazen