October 2013 Update


Time flies – just as it is said in the Last Admonition by the National Teacher Kozen Daito: 光陰箭の如し(ko in ya no goto shi) “time flies like an arrow”. We have found our new home on Spring Street to be a nice and welcoming place. The spacious room with the wood floor leaves plenty of space for newcomers to add to the line of cushions that are occupied by the steadfast members of the sangha.

We have the great pleasure to welcome Patrick from Vienna, who moved to the Boston area to take up teaching at one of the local universities. Patrick has trained at Mt. Baldy Zen Center and Rinzai-ji in California and also spent some time in Montreal. Welcome Patrick, we are so glad to have you here!

On October 16 Dokuro participated as a Harvard Chaplain in the twice annual Silent Vigil for Peace. Three hours of seated meditation in front of the Science Center, sitting with fellow chaplains from a variety of traditions and with students who joined – quite an experience. The bustle of a vibrant and busy university campus, streams of students, faculty, staff, and visitors… flowing effortlessly around the vigil.

For November 13 we have planned a public talk “What is Zen” – please mark the date and invite anyone who you think may be interested!

On July 21 the new Business Abbot at Rinzai-ji was installed, Hoju Eshin, Osho. On October 18, 2013, Sasaki Roshi has officially retired from direct teaching of students and disciples. Joshu Roshi’s advanced age has kept him de facto from direct teaching since early 2012 but his retirement makes this step official. Our sangha will continue to practice and is looking at more opportunities to “manifest into the ten directions” while keeping the core of Rinzai Zen practice vibrant and alive. The leadership and the long time practitioners are continuing to attend retreats, give retreats, and set up these opportunities locally as well.

Rinzai-ji is finding its way after the retirement of Sasaki Roshi, and the community is in the process of maturation. The analogy of the stone tumbler comes to mind: all sangha members are thrown into this process, tossed around, tumbled, but with the continued movement and development sharp edges will disappear and some polished outcome emerge. Patience, compassion, and willingness for change and forbearance are needed.

Earlier this year Dokuro participated in a sesshin at Dai Bosatsu International Zendo, in the Catskill mountains, where our “cousins” in the Rinzai tradition practice. There are two major lineages after Hakuin Ekaku 白隠 慧鶴 (1686-1768), who is a common ancestor in all living Japanese Rinzai lineages. At the bifurcation stand the notable masters Inzan Ien 隱山惟琰 (1751–1814) and Takujū Kosen 卓洲胡僊 (1760–1833). Sasaki Roshi’s lineage traces back to Inzan, Eido Roshi’s ancestry is from the Takuju lineage. The opportunities to train and experience Rinzai Zen in America are rare, and both the disciples of Joshu Roshi and Eido Roshi are continuing to pass the practice and heart of Rinzai Zen into the future.

Please come and join Charles River Zen, bring someone who is interested, or make them aware that there is a place to practice. We will receive anyone willing to join the communal practice with open mind, open heart, and open arms.