Just a quick post to wish you and yours all the best for the holidays and for the New Year.
Friday, 9 December 2011
Monday, 5 December 2011
Tuesday, 29 November 2011
As promised, here are the details for our Xmas & New Year closing.
The last meeting of 2011 will be on Monday 12th December
The first meeting of 2012 will be on Monday 9th January
A reminder that I'll be running the Rohatsu night-sitting event in Liverpool on 10-11 December - details on the SWZ Events Calendar.
[Image nicked from Rob's FB feed!]
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Monday, 10 October 2011
No zen holiday for us! :-)
Thursday, 6 October 2011
However, I thought it might be a good idea to provide some links to the original texts that we looked at so that you can refer back to them later if you like:
Oddly, the Soto Zen sect has just celebrated Ryosoki, which memorialises Dogen and Keizan (sometimes referred to as the 'father and mother' of Soto Zen respectively!), who both died on 29 September of different years.
EDIT: Both the above links are broken (2016) - alternate sources for both these texts can be googled, though. Such is the way of the web.
Saturday, 17 September 2011
Monday, 12 September 2011
Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Hopefully as the group becomes more established - and, more practically, if we are able to find storage for all the equipment - we won't need to cancel if I'm not able to be in town, but for now there doesn't seem to be any other option.
Thursday, 18 August 2011
If you would like to attend, please email Jez Lovekin (email@example.com), early booking really helps with the organisation of these events.
Saturday, 6 August 2011
I thought I'd post here a list of the upcoming sesshin (retreats) organised for/by the StoneWater Zen Sangha. The two main retreats each year are in Crosby, one in the Spring and one in the Autumn, and people come from around the UK to sit, eat and work together in a fairly traditional Zen format. Aside from these two main events, there are many other smaller events during the year that anyone is able to attend - though it's perhaps not as easy when you factor in travel time from the middle of the UK!
I've summarised below some details for most of the upcoming retreats (more will probably be organised and details sent out on the mailing list in due course). First, though, I'd like to point to two article on the StoneWater Notes blog:
- First, Andy Tanzan Scott has a great article called About Retreats, in which he looks at some of the reasons for going on sesshin.
- Also, Ron Anzan Bell has prepared some more practical instructions that will be of use to anyone going on their first retreat.
Dates for upcoming events
A Day of Mindfulness - Liverpool13 August 2011
A one-day mindfulness workshop in Liverpool - flyer available for download.
StoneWater Lakes Retreat with Keizan Sensei - Lake District4-8 September 2011
The zendo at Keizan Sensei's house in the Lake District only sits about ten people, so these retreats tend to be quite intimate. Time off in the afternoon for hill walking, usually!
Autumn Sesshin with Tenshin Roshi and Keizan Sensei - Crosby Hall23-29 October 2011
The 13th century barn at Crosby Hall Education Trust that serves as the zendo on these retreats (loads of photos from these and other retreats on the StoneWater website by the way) usually holds 50-55 people, so these are the main events of the year, and people come from all over the UK and from Europe (Sweden, Estonia and Germany recently!) to attend. Highly recommended, if you want a chance to develop your practice.
Lakes or Liverpool? TBC21-25 November 2011
Details need to be confirmed on this retreat...
Rohatsu Retreat - Lake District7-11 December 2011
Rohatsu is the main calendar event of the year for Western zennies... it's the annual remembrance of the Buddha's enlightenment, and is usually observed by holding an intensive meditation retreat in order to actualise the Buddha's great determination to attain enlightenment. Last year, we also had a weekend retreat in Liverpool that included a through-the-night sit, which was very well received and I hope to be able to repeat that this year.
Monday, 25 July 2011
Tuesday, 12 July 2011
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Saturday, 9 July 2011
Monkey Mind: Koan Introspection: A Quick and Dirty Introduction...: "A friend in a recent blog posting referred to a deep question he was pondering as an 'honest koan.' As later today Jan & I are going to t..."
Thursday, 7 July 2011
I guess with some Buddhist groups, this is an issue: perhaps you need to sign up for a particular course or you can't join in with a given activity until you've done some training first... and in certain traditions, this makes sense.
In Zen, though, we don't run things like this - each week, we do the same Zen meditation that we do every other week. Our practice focuses on the here-and-now, and we don't have any formal training curriculum that you need to follow. Each week, anyone who is new will have the basics explained to them, and from then on we all practice at the same level. In fact, influential Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki (pictured) famously stressed the advantages of having 'beginners mind', saying:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few.Newcomers to Zen practice bring an enthusiasm and open-mindedness that is always refreshing, and an important part of any group.
As to whether a regular commitment is required, the short answer is 'no' - there's no requirement for anyone coming to one of our sittings to make any commitment other than for that evening. A few people will go on to become regular sangha (community) members, but no-one should feel under any pressure to do so. Additionally, people who do come, then miss a few sessions, should feel no embarrassment about coming back after an absence - no-one is asking anyone to account for their attendance.
So, should you come? Entirely up to you!
Monday, 4 July 2011
There were seven people in all, so a big thanks to everyone who came. There's room for more, so if you're considering coming along, there will be plenty of room. The sitting was a bit shorter today than it will normally be - mostly because I was rattling off all sorts of guidelines about 'form' and the basics of sitting, but from next week we'll observe the regular schedule. Do note that we'll always make time to give some basic instructions to newcomers, but for the most part it's about getting thrown in at the deep end...
We'll start zazen promptly at 7.30 next week and from now on, so try to arrive by 7.15 at the latest - earlier if you can to help set up, or if it's your first visit.
It turns out that we share the time with a music appreciation society - this week it was American recorded music. I think most of us were a bit worried about how intrusive this would be - regardless of my ramblings about this being a lay practice and being in the world with all its distractions! It was far less of a problem than I'd feared though - and for some, the fact that one of the pieces was "Fanfare for the Common Man" was entirely appropriate.
So - thanks to everyone who came along, and it's same time, same place next week.
Sunday, 3 July 2011
Thanks to everyone in Liverpool who's chipped in with bits & bobs, and to Keizan Sensei for giving us the go-ahead.
Now the practice begins...