Thursday, 31 March 2016

Zen for Beginners - Introductory evening 20 April

We'll be holding an introductory evening for those who have little or no experience of Zen practice and who'd like to find out a bit more and have a taste of what it's like to sit formal zazen (seated Zen meditation). No commitment to join the group on an ongoing basis (though of course you're welcome to).

Please arrive at around 7.00 for a 7.15 start, in the Marten Room upstairs at the Quaker Meeting House.  The evening will consist of an hour's introduction and discussion, after which we'll join the regular weekly meeting for a 30-minute period of zazen.

We'll conclude with tea and a formal talk on Zen practice by group convenor & Zen monk Alasdair Taisen Gordon-Finlayson.

For repeat offenders, the regular schedule of 7.30 zazen continues of course...!

Monday, 21 March 2016

No zazen 6 April

Hi all - just a quick note that there will be no meeting on Weds 6 April - I'll be away at the Crosby sesshin for the week. We'll pick up again on Weds 13th.

Friday, 4 March 2016

A visit to the UoN's Meditation Society

A big thank you to the organisers of the University of Northampton's Meditation Society who invited me to visit yesterday. There was a great turnout - 20 if you include the photographer (and as he also sat with us, you can definitely include him!), and the session seemed appreciated.

The members of Meditation Society are probably not Buddhist (though some are), and definitely not Zennistas, so I used the forms of Zen as an example of how meditation can be practised in a ritualised context. We bowed, we sat in straight lines with straight postures (and a good strong sitting it was too), and then afterwards we chanted the Identity of Relative and Absolute, then ended with a few more bows!

Chatting afterwards it seems the chanting was considered the 'oddest' element, but that the ritual context helped people get into a good frame of mind for meditation. I asked people to consider what rituals they already use or might develop in their own practice and left them to chew on that for a while.

Thanks especially to Chetack Nangare and Charmaine Sonnex, Pres & Sec of Meditation Society, for the invitation and help setting up & breaking down... as well as permission to share these photos...

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

A very appropriate fundraiser...!

My friend and sangha sister Miranda Forward is taking tokudo this spring - becoming a monk. As you know, part of the ritual is the shaving of the head, and Miranda is using this opportunity to raise funds for the charity Alopecia UK.

If you'd like to contribute, please go to her page (remember GiftAid if you're a UK taxpayer).