March 7, 2012

Recent interfaith dialogue and internal training seminar

[Submitted by Kristen Radtke, Chicago]

On Thursday, Feb. 16 Moore Roshi participated in an interfaith discussion at Sheil Catholic Center in Evanston, IL.  The event began with a brief presentation given from the Catholic perspective on the common ground between Christianity and Buddhism, emphasizing the work of Thomas Merton and the Catholic Church's position on the worth of other religious traditions expressed during the Second Vatican Council.  Moore Roshi then spoke about Zen from a practitioner's perspective, sharing his story of being drawn to religion at an early age, eventually landing within Zen as a tradition rich in methods of facing the fundamental human existential questions.  After some 30 minutes of dialogue, he made the final statement, "To me, it is perhaps not so important what religion you follow, but what sort of person you become through it.  If you have some insight, experience or belief but fail to integrate it into your being, into your interactions with other people, what good is it?"  Heads bobbed in agreement around the room, and participants affirmed that the goals of their different traditions were not different in terms of how they call us to become and act within the world, rather than to simply follow or believe.  The evening concluded with basic instruction in zazen and a brief period of group practice.

This past Sunday, March 4, Daiyuzenji in Chicago hosted an Internal Training seminar also led by Moore Roshi.  He began by lecturing on the intent and contents of the internal training curriculum, and then gave several hours of detailed instruction on tanden kokyuho, the hara-centered breathing and energetic cultivation method which is fundamental to our practice of meditation.  Hakuin's naikan no ho and nanso ho ho methods were then taught, followed by self- massage and the 16 primary breathing forms from the Do-in Ho section of the curriculum.  Donations from this event benefited the Korinji monastery building fund, and nearly $900 was raised:  thank you to the participants from Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan who came!