March 29, 2011

Spring sesshin report

Spring sesshin, co-sponsored by Daiyuzenji and Korinji, was completed this past Sunday. It turned out to be a solid, strong training period with twenty-one participants. The beginning students in particular displayed tremendous effort.

The weather was cold at the camp we rent in Lake Delavan, Wisconsin; outside the building which served as our zendo the lake itself was still caked with ice upon which flocks of gulls huddled for warmth. There was even snowfall on Saturday. Though little of it stuck, it combined with a bitter cold wind coming off the lake to give us a truly wintry, rather than spring-like, feeling. The uphill hike from the zendo to the dining hall or sanzen room was often rather invigorating.

Tesshin Brand served as jikijitsu, and James Traywick performed the role of shika. Soen McCarthy Roshi served as tenzo (and the shojin riori meals were truly excellent as always). Teisho were given by So'zan Miller Roshi and Meido Moore Roshi. Sergey Petrov and Dionne Milton were our handaikan, with Nikolai Miczek and Alex Shakar serving as inji.

Thank you to everyone who participated in and supported this sesshin!

SAVE THE DATES for Daiyuzenji's and Korinji's summer sesshin. It will be held in Burlington, WI, on August 2-7 (~7pm Tuesday evening through ~8am Sunday morning). And if you'd like to join our European friends for practice, we'll again be conducting sesshin this year in Laufen, Germany: August 25-28. For more information on these events, email Korinji (

March 21, 2011

Japan benefit: results

About 30 people came out for Korinji's benefit event this past Sunday. After zazen, a traditional memorial ceremony was conducted by Meido Roshi. Following that, Aikido students gave us their energy with an hour-long training led by Enmei Hunter Sensei.

A few donations are still coming in, but the total amount raised at this point is over $700.00*...not bad for an impromptu event. Upon advice from contacts on the ground in Japan (as well as the Japanese consulate here in Chicago) Korinji will be donating the entire amount to the Red Cross' Japan earthquake/tsunami recovery fund. Many thanks to everyone!

Here's a recent photo from Korinji to get everyone geared up for the next event on our calendar: the first monastery work weekend of the year on April 2-3.

Don't worry, the snow should be gone by then...

*[UPDATE: the final total from Sunday stood at $715.00, but we've just received a matching donation: our total is now $1430! Thank you!]

March 14, 2011

Japan relief: memorial ceremony and benefit

We're relieved to report that, as far as we've been able to ascertain, our numerous friends in Japan are safe and personally uninjured by the disastrous earthquake and tsunami.

Especially because of our many connections to people and places in Japan, we're certain that Korinji community members share our desire to make some contribution to ease suffering there. For that reason we'll come together this Sunday, March 20, for a short meditation, memorial service and benefit event in Chicago. There will be a donation box there, and any funds received will be passed on to an appropriate relief organization.


3717 N. Ravenswood #113
Chicago, IL 60613


11:30am - 12:45pm: Zazen (Zen meditation). Non-meditators are welcome to come in and sit silently with us, on cushions or chairs, during this time.
1:00pm: Zen Buddhist memorial ceremony, for the many disaster victims who lost their lives.
1:30 - 2:30pm: Budo training: Shinjinkai Aikido students will train together.
Tea will be served afterward.

Even if you can't donate, please come participate to share your energy and good wishes. If you can't make it but would like to pitch in, feel free to drop off a contribution beforehand - or consider sending a donation to one of the reputable relief organizations which are easily found online, such as here.

March 10, 2011

Seminar: Energy and Healing Practices of Zen

Shinjinkai in Chicago is hosting a seminar on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17 entitled The Energy and Healing Practices of Zen. Participants will learn internal training practices handed down within the Rinzai Zen lineage for cultivating ki (internal energy) in the body.

Some of these methods come from from the 18th century master Hakuin, and have been valued for their ability to improve health, increase longevity and deepen meditative attainment. Also taught will be self-massage, breathing and movement exercises for circulating energy and removing blockages to its flow. A more detailed description of these practices may be seen on the Shinjinkai site here.

The seminar will explore in depth the history and theory behind these various methods, as well as transmit the details of their practice. This April seminar will cover foundation practices and get through as much material as possible. A second seminar on September 3-4 will review the fundamentals and then complete the main block of instruction. A study manual will be distributed to participants in both seminars.

Donations for this seminar benefit the construction of Korinji monastery.

Please RSVP to, or by phone as shown on the flyer.

March 7, 2011

Spring Sesshin: March 24-27

The 2011 Spring sesshin, jointly sponsored by Daiyuzenji and the Korinji Foundation, will be held starting on the evening of Thursday, March 24 and ending in the early morning of Sunday, March 27.

Sesshin is an intensive Zen retreat, and one of the most important training methods used in Zen practice. Beginning very early each morning and lasting until late in the evening, sesshin includes meditation, chanting practice, art practice and other activities.

The intention of sesshin is to completely focus and unify mind and body; the schedule facilitates concentration, and forces participants to face themselves clearly without distortion or distraction. Sesshin is a unique opportunity to see who and what you really are...and to emerge with new insight and the strength to change old patterns of thinking, doing and being.

We encourage everyone who is ready to take advantage of this precious practice opportunity. For more information about attending sesshin, eligibility, what to bring, suggested donation info, directions, etc. please visit Daiyuzenji's sesshin information page.