February 25, 2013

Zazen in Olsztyn

A photo from the 2013 Kangeiko (winter training period) just concluded at Masakatsu Dojo in Olsztyn, Poland:  martial art students during morning zazen, led by Meido roshi.

February 15, 2013

Calligraphy seminar recap

[Submitted by Rev. Tesshin Brand, Daiyuzenji]

This past Sunday's Zen Calligraphy Seminar went rather well. There were a total of 14 in attendance and it was nice to see representation from both Daiyuzenji and our affiliated practice groups.

We started with some basic technique.  Everyone had an opportunity to practice some of the fundamental strokes, and then progressed into more advanced techniques. This was followed by a study of all of the pieces of calligraphy displayed throughout Daiyuzenji. So'zan Roshi did a wonderful job of translating each, pointing out the subtleties and nuances in the spacing and construction of the characters. There was also an emphasis on the importance of this particular practice and how it fits in with Omori Roshi's Zen-Ken-Sho methodology of training which we've inherited.  Everyone then had an opportunity to use the large brushes and practice a few of the characters that we often use, and which are evaluated by our Roshis, during Sesshin.

Thank you to all those who participated in making this a wonderful event, and special thanks to So'zan Miller Roshi for sharing his insights and knowledge of this wonderful aspect to our practice.

February 12, 2013

Sesshin in the snow

Aalstveit Farm, the sesshin location
[Submitted by Meido Roshi]

Our first sesshin in Norway was concluded this past Sunday.  Eight students gathered on a farm in the small town of Hemsedal, set in a long alpine valley about four hours by car from Oslo. 

Our event organizer was Jeremy Wilson:  a farmer, mountain guide and long-time practitioner of martial arts, he and his wife Kirsten have converted an old cowshed on their farm into a beautiful space for training, massage therapy and other activities.  Looking out onto acres of fields and spruce forest rising up to the slopes of  the mountains which ring the valley, it is a silent and ideal place for practice.

Students from both Norway and Germany trained together, including several with only a little sitting experience.  I expect the beginners especially found the training challenging, but they met it well and with an almost joyful stubbornness that was wonderful to witness.  Kirsten served as our tenzo, and mealtimes were a highpoint:  wonderful fare eaten in a dining room with windows opening up to views of the white mountains.  Jeremy essentially served as shika, taking good care of everyone and seeing to their needs.  Lars Limburg from Kiel, Germany served as handaikan during formal teas.  I was happy to give several informal talks, taking one of Omori Roshi's teisho as inspiration and also instructing essential breathing methods and Hakuin Zenji's nanso no ho.

Many thanks to everyone who participated.  I look forward to future sesshin in Hemsedal, and invite all of our members to come train in the future with our friends there. 

February 6, 2013

Calligraphy seminar in Chicago

Feb. 10:  A seminar instructing the etiquette and forms of calligraphy with brush and ink as it is practiced within our Zen lineage.

This Seminar will be held at Daiyuzenji in Chicago (www.daiyuzenji.org).  10am - 1pm. Donation $25 for RZC members, $30 for others.