Sunday, 26 June 2016

Day of Zen - report back

Well, all done now - seems to have been a great success. Not that we had hordes of people attending (perhaps more notice from me might have helped!), but those who came were sincere and committed and we had a wonderful day of practice together.

Thanks to you all - with special thanks to those who brought food for our lunch, or helped out beforehand with planning (especially Simon).

In the end we had to clear out of the venue in a bit of a rush, so I didn't manage to take a photo of the venue or of us... so here's a silly drawing of the space we sat in, in front of the hall's stage curtains!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Day of Zazen - Update

Just to add some further details about this weekend's zazenkai. As mentioned previously, we'll be at the Collingtree Village Hall, and we'll be running from 9.30am to 4.00pm. The dress is informal (rakusus if you have them, but not robes) - loose, comfortable clothes in dark / neutral (non-distracting) colours. If you have your own stools / cushions / mats, please bring those along, but we do have some equipment for those without their own kit.

Costs - we're asking for £20 for the day, or £15 for concessions (or whatever you can afford). Included is a vegetarian lunch - we don't have much flexibility in food options, if you have specific dietary/medical needs you may want to bring a packed lunch just in case.

To find the venue: point your satnav to NN4 0NE; the village hall is across from the pub (Wooden Walls of Old England - v quaint pub name!). Or... going up the A45 from the M1 junction, take the first exit off at the Hilton Hotel which is only about a quarter of a mile from the M1 roundabout. Pass the Hilton entrance, and about a third of a mile later you get to High Street, Collingtree. Turn right: the village hall is about 50m along on the left. Park anywhere on the street - might be more parking further down the High Street where it becomes Lodge Ave.

If you need help, call me on 07807 753 781... but remember I'll be turning my phone off shortly after 9.30am!

Collingtree Village Hall

Monday, 6 June 2016

Day of Zazen - 25 June

In addition to our new "Second Saturdays" (including this coming Saturday, 11 June), we'll be having our first zazenkai or day of Zen practice later this month: Saturday 25 June. More info on this on Facebook and on

Our practice lives are usually built on daily (mostly!) Zen practice at home with weekly or monthly group practice if we're lucky enough to live close to a group that meets up regularly. This is as it should be - regular practice is our absolute bedrock. However it has always been that practitioners are encouraged to spend some more substantial periods of time in practice, removing ourselves from the busy-ness of our regular lives and purposefully making space for more intense practice.

The schedule of retreats that the StoneWater Zen Sangha run are, of course, ideal for this, especially the two annual retreats at Little Crosby where for 5 or 6 days we adopt a strict monastic timetable and live in community outside of our regular lives.

A half-way house to this commitment is a zazenkai or Zen practice day, a commitment to practice single-mindedly for a day, and I'm really pleased that we're able to offer this opportunity for the first time through SWZ Northampton - hopefully the first of many to come.

I'll say more about zazenkai and deepening our practice in a later post - in the meantime, check your diaries and cancel your trip to the in-laws on June 25!