Congratulations to all our Providence Zen Center members who took Precepts this Sunday!!
Didn’t we have fun this past weekend? The Hae Jae party Friday night marked the end of the long 90 day Winter Kyol Che retreat and even with a little snow on the ground, you could tell that “Spring has Sprung”! All our friends were back at the Zen Center from around the world for the Buddha’s Birthday Celebration on Saturday with quite a few new friends as well. There was the first bonfire of the season Saturday night, with the stars being covered and uncovered by the clouds … followed by the Sunday morning Precept Ceremony. There was a large contingent of new Dharma Brothers and Sisters who took their five precepts. It is so fun to see them in their brown kasa the first time they walk into practice!
We also have some new Dharma-Teachers-In-Training (DTIT), a few new Senior Dharma Teachers and Several DTITs that received their long robes and bowls as their training period has ended. Now they are full Dharma Teachers. Congratulations to everyone!
… so here an idea for a quick photo contest … how many pictures do you think we took all weekend? The attached photo is of our PZC family with several teachers and friends, but more photos will be posted to the photo gallery very soon …. if you couldn’t make it this April, maybe you can join us for the next Sangha Weekend! We’d love to have a photo of all our PZC members …
Almost time for dinner at Providence Zen Center. Our three month long winter Kyol Che is finishing up today and so begins three months of Hae Jae. Kyol Che is the intensive meditation retreat period. Hae Jae is the looser, less formally scheduled period in the spring and autumn.
The Hae Jae period provides more of an opportunity to practice in everyday life situations. During this time, monks and nuns traditionally travel from temple to temple to visit other great masters at or meet with their Doban (Dharma friends).
BUDDHA’S BIRTHDAY 2011 Tonight:
FRIDAY, APRIL 1
5:00 pm dinner
6:00 pm chanting to 7:00 pm
7:15 pm Kyol Che closing ceremony
7:45 pm Hae Jae party
While on the Kwan Um website, I came across this mp3 of a closing talk at the end of Kyol Che from over 25 years ago . Enjoy!
“The Providence Zen Center just paid a hefty chunk o’ change to give their Gold Guys a makeover, commissioning master gilders to re-cover their hollow forms with gold leaf. So even though Buddha’s been sitting a long time, he’s looking fabulous these days with a fresh application of ruby-red lip paint and spring-green eyebrow and moustache appliques:”
As always, there’s lots of activity today at the Zen Center. Kimball is busy helping our carpenter Jim install more of the new bamboo flooring. Diana is busy in the Kitchen with Charlie getting things in order for tonights public vegetarian dinner, meditation instruction and Dharma talk. Our house master Troy will be giving the introductory talk and we are very excited to have Zen Master Bon Yeon (Jane McLaughlin-Dobisz) of Cambridge Zen Center answering questions.
I also wanted to share this hand painted Korean Buddhist mural that’s currently hanging in one of our stairwells. One of our co-guiding teachers, Nancy Hedgpeth, JDPSN told me it had been used years ago for a special outdoor ceremony in Korea. Somehow, it was stored away for many years here at the Zen Center and wasn’t found until recently after some of our renovations. It’s quite impressive, it probably measure 20′ x 20′ practically reaching from the floor to the ceiling.
Finally I want to leave you with this video that Jason Quinn, Abbot of Empty Gate Zen Center in Berkley, California posted to our Facebook wall. It is a talk excerpt from 03/16/2011 with Zen Master Dae Kwang, former guiding teacher here at PZC and Abbot of the entire Kwan Um School of Zen.
One of the things that makes Kwan Um School of Zen so great, is sitting retreats and having interviews with our teachers. Yesterday at PZC we had the privilege to sit a one day retreat with Zen Master Bon Haeng (Mark Houghton). It consisted of sitting and walking meditation from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm followed by an informal meal. Robin ran a smooth retreat as Head Dharma Teacher, I heard many people comment on how quickly time seem to pass. Tam was our Moktak Master as we chanted the Heart Sutra in English and the Great Dharani. A highlight and surprise to this retreat was a impromptu period of walking meditation outside led by Zen Master Bon Haeng. It was a beautiful day as we walked “as one” past two geese, the pond, the monastery, people sleeping in a field…
Here is a video of Zen Master Bon Haeng as he answers a student’s question about regret by recounting a story about the late Su Bong Sunim, a much beloved monk who was a former resident of the Cambridge Zen Center.
I’m laying on my back looking out the window at the “supermoon” and typing this post on my BlackBerry. Just about an hour before morning practice and 108 bows begin at Providence Zen Center. Today we have a one day retreat in the main dharma room at PZC.
This one day retreat consists of sitting and walking meditation from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm followed by an informal meal. It will include kong-an teaching interviews with Zen Master Bon Haeng (Mark Houghton) with an orientation at 8:45 am for first-time retreat members. Prior meditation experience or attendance at a meditation instruction class is recommended.
To register for your retreat online – please fill out the retreat registration form, click here.
Around Providence Zen Center we have no shortage of relaxing meditative spaces. As Robin mentioned in a previous post there are many projects happening on the grounds of the Zen Center, one of which happens to be the creation of the “Room of Awesomeness”. With views overlooking the pond, Diamond Hill Zen Monastery, and the Abbot’s House, this brightly painted, naturally sun lit room is the perfect spot to drink some tea or coffee while reading your favorite book or blog. It even has a fully functioning kitchen!
Last Sunday after the Dharma Talk some of us were able to spend some time together in the Room of Awesomeness. George, Tam, Darlene, Emily and I all shared some of George’s birthday cake while we talked about our shared appreciation for geeky science fiction movies and television. My kind of together action!
Have you ever considered doing a solo retreat? Here at Providence Zen Center we have the Jung Wol Gak hermitage, a retreat cabin situated in a secluded area of the woods just behind the zen center. It is available for solitary retreats from one to one hundred days. It is open to any student of one of the Zen Masters or Ji Do Poep Sa Nims, who follow a schedule approved by that teacher. The hermitage was completely renovated in 2005 and has been a popular spot over the last six years. There is electric heating and cooking facilities, including a small refrigerator and a sink. Bathroom facilities are available in a quiet area of the nearby main building. For more information please contact the Abbot of the Providence Zen Center.