Tuesday, 19 October 2021

No sitting on 27 October

 Hi all - as I'll be away attending the Autumn Sesshin that week, we will not be holding zazen on the evening of Weds 27 October. We'll pick back up the following Wednesday as usual.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Zen cancelled this evening

Apologies to all, but I'm afraid I am sick (and, more importantly, infectious!) and won't be able to make it to Zen this evening. Have tried to get hold of a couple of people individually, but hopefully this post should also help! We'll pick up next week as usual. 
Sorry this is such late notice, has come upon me quite fast. Lateral flow test tells me it's not Covid, but feeling awful!

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Meetings moved back to Wednesdays!

If you get emails from StoneWater (and if not, you can sign up using the form at the bottom of the main page at www.stonewaterzen.org), you might have noticed that the online Zen sessions are being moved to Thursday evenings because of difficulties with 'broadcasting' the main Wednesday evening in the Liverpool zendo. 

For those of us outside Liverpool, this is great - we'll be able to sit together on Zoom and have interviews with Keizan Roshi, Shinro Sensei or Suigen Sensei each week. 

But, of course, this now clashes with the rescheduled zazen sessions in Northampton! So, from Wednesday 6th October 2021, we're moving our Northampton group meetings back to Wednesday evenings to enable us to participate in the online Thursdays. 

Nothing else changes - venue, times, etc - just the day. And do please note that we'll be meeting on Thursdays for the rest of September. 

Thursday, 19 August 2021

Meetings moved to Thursdays

Right, I've confirmed our booking with the Quakers, and it's all sorted. Note, though, that we're moving our Zen evenings from Wednesdays to Thursdays

So - our first meeting back will be Thursday 2nd September, to arrive before 7.00pm (and a bit earlier if this will be your first visit). 

The move to Thursdays keeps Wednesday evenings open for us to continue sitting online with the Keizan Roshi and the wider StoneWater community via Zoom. Currently (i.e. for August), the sittings are limited to weekday mornings, but the evening sessions will be restarting in September. No specifics yet, but details will follow, and I'm sure that the online Zendo page at www.stonewaterzen.org/stonewater-zen-online will be updated as things are decided.

Can't wait to meet up again! All very exciting.

Monday, 9 August 2021

SWZ Northampton re-opening!

Well, finally it's time to post again because we're hopefully going to be re-opening in a few weeks!  

I have heard from the wonderful folks at the Northampton Friends Meeting House, and they're opening up again from the 1st of September.

I've also asked them if they would be able to accommodate us on either the Tuesday or Thursday evenings instead of the Wednesday evenings, so that this doesn't absolutely stop us from joining in with the online Wednesdays that I believe are going to continue, pandemic or no. I've no idea whether they'll be able to accommodate us with this, but I'll keep you all posted. 

It's been a long, long 18 months, and while the online sittings with the national - and international! - sangha have been a godsend (is that appropriate?!), I can't wait to sit with people in a room again, breathing the same air, having a cup of tea afterwards and just interacting in the usual way! It will feel very odd sitting without Lorna - her absence will be the hardest thing about meeting up again. But I think she'd have been upset if we didn't pick things up again as a group.

So - pencil in Wednesday 1st of September into your diaries for our first zazen of the re-opening. I'll post again here and in the Facebook group if the day or date changes.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Arrangements for Weekly Zazen

While we won't be meeting at the Quaker House until further notice, we've decided to "Commit to Sit" together in our own homes at the same times. Sitting together as a group, in community, is a vital part of our ongoing zazen practice - and this seems to be a practical alternative while still adding the necessary social distance!

The suggestion is that where possible, we maintain our usual schedule (summarised below). We must be realistic, though, and adapt this if necessary to the changed circumstances of our sitting.

7.30 - 8.00pm   Seated meditation
8.00 - 8.10pmKin-hin (walking meditation)
8.10 - 8.40pmSeated meditation

It is always advised to have a quiet place to sit (preferably one dedicated to the purpose, even if only in the corner of a room... but that's not always possible). You might want to set up an altar - the basic elements are a 'rupa' (Buddha-figure or alternative... even just an interesting-looking rock if it has some meaning for you!), a candle, flowers and incense. Or whatever works for you.

I'll be starting by offering incense and three full bows at 7.30pm, and ending by reciting the Four Vows (three times as usual). It's not necessary, but it sets the intention for the coming practice. Here are the Vows if you want to chant them:
Sentient beings are numberless, I vow to save them all;
Desires are inexhaustible, I vow to put an end to them;
The Dharmas are boundless, I vow to master them;
The Buddha Way is unsurpassable; I vow to attain it.
(Yes, it's impossible to keep these vows...! Ask me about them some day and we can chat perhaps after Zen one evening...!)

Even if you don't usually (or often, or recently...!!) sit with us, I'd encourage you to set this time aside and do some or all of the time with us each Wednesday evening. If you've not sat before but want to take advantage of the pandemic to try it for the first time, I'd be very happy to chat with you about it. Usually, I'd spend about 20mins or so chatting face-to-face before your first sit, but as an alternative, give me a call (number below) a day or so beforehand and we can talk. If I can't take the call, leave a message and I'll call back.

I've set up a WhatsApp group for anyone who's keen to join in - send me your phone number (alasdair@gordon-finlayson.net or text me at 07807 753 781) and I'll add you to the group. We'll check in with each other just before the start of the session at about 7.20pm, and say thanks and goodnight at the end. Do feel free to use it to keep in touch more generally for the rest of the week.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

SWZ Northampton closure

Following discussion yesterday evening after our regular weekly zazen, we have decided to stop meeting for meditation on Wednesdays until further notice. Please keep an eye on this blog or the Facebook group for updates.

We will keep up with the practice, though! Please do join us every Wednesday from the comfort of your own home, as we 'commit to sit' at 7.30pm for the usual two 30-minute periods of zazen (or whatever you can manage in the circumstances of your own domestic situation!).

I'll update with an invitation to join a WhatsApp group to keep in touch and synchonise our Wednesday evenings, keep your eyes peeled!

(But don't touch your eyes... or nose or mouth... and wash your hands... mindfully of course!)