September 23, 2013

Samu and Dedication Ceremony at Korinji

Wrapping up this season's work at Korinji we have two upcoming events:

1.  October 8-13 Meido Roshi and Greg Dekker will be at Korinji for a final extended work period.  During that week they'll be working on the gate which will stand near the stone steps, at the bottom of the hill below Korinji.  Timbers for this purpose had been cut last year and kept in storage; they're now weather-treated and ready to be erected.

Volunteers are needed and welcome at any time during this Tuesday-through-Sunday stretch.  RSVP by email to 

2.  November 2-3 will be our final samu weekend of the year.  At 2pm on that Sunday the 3rd, there will be a short dedication ceremony for our (nearly) completed first building.  Though we have a long way to go at Korinji before residential practice is possible there, this ceremony actually marks the official "birth" of Korinji as a monastery.

Following the ceremony, several members of our community will also undertake zaike tokudo (jukai) on that auspicious occasion. 

All who have donated to, or volunteered at, Korinji are invited to this event.  Because space (and parking) are limited, RZC will shortly be sending out an email with more information and a link to RSVP. 

Thanks to Mike Prindle for the photo.  Mike has been taking a great deal of photos and video for us, and we hope also to soon release professional re-shoots by him of the videos on our website's member resources page. 

Upcoming Zazenkai and Sesshin

The next zazenkai (mini overnight retreat) will be held at Daiyuzenji in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday, October 5-6.  Zazenkai stresses the formal practice undertaken at sesshin, our longer retreats; it's an ideal way to deepen your practice and prepare for sesshin.  For more information or to RSVP, please email to

Speaking of sesshin, online registration for our November. 8-10 retreat at Daiyuzenji in Chicago is now open here.  Please note the registration deadline of Wednesday, Nov. 6 as late or same-day registrations cannot be accepted.

Beginners:  if you have questions regarding your readiness for either of these retreats, please speak directly with your teacher or email to

September 9, 2013

2013 Germany Sesshin Recap

[Submitted by Meido Roshi]

I'm happy to report that we had another wonderful sesshin in Germany organized by Rinzai Zen Community members there.  Participants from Germany and Switzerland gathered once more at the Kapuzinerhof in Laufen, a restored monastery founded in 1655, which lies just outside the medieval city gate of this quiet town on the German/Austrian border.

Our zendo was once again set up in the old monk's choir, but the clear and cooler weather allowed us to make great use of the monastery grounds.  During free practice periods in the afternoon and evening, individuals and groups walked the wooded path along the monastery wall, which is marked by the stations of the cross and was used in past years for contemplation by the resident monks.  Just outside the choir is the entrance to a small monastery cemetery where many of the original monks are buried, and beyond that a larger cemetery with graves and stone tombs stretching back into the 1700's:  these locations were ideal for free meditation periods into the late evening.  Finally, we were able to have outdoor teisho in the cloister garden during which I lectured with a special emphasis on the "direct pointing" which is the hallmark of our tradition. 

This is our fourth annual sesshin in Laufen.  A core group of participants have attended all four, and they demonstrate an increasing familiarity with the forms and schedule of sesshin.  This is wonderful to witness, and of course makes things all the smoother for newer practitioners.

I'd like to thank everyone for their effort, and particularly the following students who performed sesshin duties:  Kai-Uwe Nolte served well as our jikijitsu, his first time in that role.  He was assisted by Thomas Neumann.  Raymond Schroder anchored the zendo as tanto, and Anselm Stahl served dual roles as shika and inji.  Our handaikan were Nora Helbling and Dominic Karcher.

Finally, I was especially pleased to conduct the first zaike tokudo (jukai) ceremony for a member in Germany.  Anselm Stahl (shown in the photo to the right) was given the dharma name Anzan ("peaceful mountain"), which suits him very well in several ways.

We look forward to more practice with our dharma brothers and sisters in Europe next year...and many thanks again to everyone who made this retreat possible.