Volunteer Opportunities

Posted on Jul 29 , 2011 in Blog & Newsletter

Providence Zen Center always has numerous opportunities for volunteering!  If you enjoy cooking, you can volunteer for the Wednesday night community dinner, either as a head cook, as an assistant, or you can bring a dessert to accompany the meal.  People with any level of skill in carpentry, painting, electrical, plumbing, flooring installation, or any other construction related skills can be helpful in helping with the maintenance and improvement of the Zen Center buildings.  Folks are welcome to work in the garden or grounds throughout the summer.  Our office staff welcomes volunteers to help with filing, data entry, and other office tasks.  Or if you have a skill which isn’t listed here which you feel would be of use to the Zen Center, we’re always open to suggestions for ways our members might be able to contribute to PZC.  We’re grateful for any help you can give to PZC:  it would be impossible to keep this place running smoothly without many hours of dedicated work from members and friends of the Zen Center.  Contact the PZC director at director@providencezen.org if you are interested in getting connected with volunteer opportunities here at the Zen Center.


July Thank You

Posted on Jul 28 , 2011 in Blog & Newsletter

Thank you to Diana Daniels, Darlene Demers, Scott Beck and Theresa Murphy for continuing to tend our flock of chickens. We are up to nine eggs a day: all our pullets are laying now! Thanks to Diana and Theresa for tending our bees. As always, a big thanks to the Alternative Market in North Attleboro for generously allowing us to purchase bulk organic foods for the Zen Center at cost. Learn more about the Alternative Market here. Thanks to Doug Walsh for his ongoing weekly volunteer time on Wednesdays, and for joining the management team at PZC as Vice Abbot. Thanks to Edith Lebowitz for continuing her work of sewing robes for PZC. Thanks to Pete O’Connell for his regular visits to PZC to help with electrical work that needs done around the place. Pete has also been clearing brush and weeds around the monastery to help get ready for Summer Kyol Che. Thank you Chong Yew Heng, our kitchen master, for teaching calligraphy classes at PZC. Thanks to resident Scott Beck for cutting the grass and volunteering in the office. Thanks to Mel Milligan and Nancy Jacobs for coming out from Orlando early and spending several days helping us get PZC ready for founder’s day weekend. Thanks to Eddie Wisdom, David Barstis and Kimball Amram for putting in extra hours when we rented a wood chipper to tackle the brush pile (“Mount Brushmore”) on the path to the back pasture. Thanks to Robin Hoffman for her work on the Providence Zen Center newsletter. Thank you to our Abbot, Jiri “George” Hazlbauer for your leadership and House Master Troy Rapp for being the glue that holds us together. Finally thanks to any volunteers who we may have overlooked: please remind us if you’ve been left out so we can express our gratitude in the next newsletter!


Morning Bell Chant

Posted on Jul 27 , 2011 in Blog

Performed by Jason Quinn

The Morning Bell Chant is an extremely rich chant, combining three major Buddhist traditions: Hwa Yen (Hwa Om) Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, and Zen Buddhism.

For more info and translation: http://www.kwanumzen.org/2001/the-morning-bell-chant/

won cha jong-song byon bop-kye
chor-wi yu-am shil gae myong
sam-do i-go pa do-san
il-che jung-saeng song jong-gak
na-mu bi-ro gyo-ju hwa-jang ja-jon
yon bo-gye ji gum-mun po nang-ham ji ok-chuk
jin-jin hon ip chal-chal wol-lyung

ship-cho ku-man o-chon sa-ship-pal-cha il-sung won-gyo
na-mu dae-bang-gwang bul hwa-om gyong
na-mu dae-bang-gwang bul hwa-om gyong
na-mu dae-bang-gwang bul hwa-om gyong
je-il gye yag-in yong-nyo-ji
sam-se il-che bul ung gwan bop-kye song il-che yu shim jo

pa ji-ok jin-on
na-mu a-tta shi-ji-nam sam-myak sam-mot-ta gu-chi-nam
om a-ja-na ba-ba ji-ri ji-ri hum
na-mu a-tta shi-ji-nam sam-myak sam-mot-ta gu-chi-nam
om a-ja-na ba-ba ji-ri ji-ri hum
na-mu a-tta shi-ji-nam sam-myak sam-mot-ta gu-chi-nam
om a-ja-na ba-ba ji-ri ji-ri hum

won a jin-saeng mu byol-lyom a-mi-ta bul dok sang su
shim-shim sang gye ok-ho gwang yom-nyom bul-li gum-saek sang
a jip yom-ju bop-kye gwan ho-gong wi-sung mu bul gwan

pyong-dung sa-na mu ha cho gwan-gu so-bang a-mi-ta
na-mu so-bang dae-gyo-ju mu-ryang su yo-rae bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul

chong-san chop-chop mi-ta-gul
chang-he mang-mang jong-myol gung
mul-mul yom-nae mu gae-ae
ki-gan song-jong hak-tu hong
na-mu a-mi-ta bulBsan-dan jong-ya jwa mu-on
jok-chong nyo-yo bon ja-yon
ha-sa so-pung dong-nim ya
il-song han-ang-nyu jang-chon
na-mu a-mi-ta bul

won gong bop-kye jae jung-saeng
dong-im-mi-ta dae won-hae
jin mi-rae je-do jung saeng
ja-ta il-shi song bul-do
na-mu a-mi-ta bul

na-mu so-bang jong-to gung-nak se-gye
sam-shim-nyung-man-ok il-shib-il-man
gu-chon-o-baek dong-myong dong-ho
dae-ja dae-bi a-mi-ta bul
na-mu so-bang jong-to gung-nak se-gye
bul-shin jang-gwang

sang-ho mu-byon gum-saek-kwang-myong
byon-jo bop-kye
sa-ship par-won do-tal jung-saeng
bul-ga-sol bul-ga-sol-chon
bul-ga-sol hang-ha-sa bul-chal mi-jin-su
do mak-chug-wi mu-han guk-su

il-shib-il-man gu-chon-o-baek
dong myong dong-ho dae-ja dae-bi
a-dung do-sa kum-saek yo-rae
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul
na-mu a-mi-ta bul

bon-shim mi-myo jin-on da-nya-ta
om a-ri da-ra sa-ba-ha
om a-ri da-ra sa-ba-ha
om a-ri da-ra sa-


Thirty Years of Teaching Abroad Poem

Posted on Jul 26 , 2011 in Blog

Mountain is mountain, water is water,
Mountain is blue, water is flowing.
East, West, South, North.
Circling around, around and around this globe for thirty years.
Running, running, and running, not resting even for a day,
In order to show correct Way, correct Truth, and correct Life.

This empty world becomes substance world,
Substance world becomes truth world.
Truth world changes into function world.
World after world, life after life, only following the Bodhisattva path.
To attain that, could not even rest one minute, not even one second.
White faces, black faces, yellow faces.
Numberless eyes all become one.
Holding both hands with palms together:

Blue sky, white cloud, universal love and service.
Throughout world after world, life after life, following the Bodhisattva Way.
Kwan Se Um Bosal, Kwan Se Um Bosal. Great Love, Great Compassion, save
those in suffering, in difficulty,
Kwan Se Um Bosal.
What is this?
Don’t know!

The heavens collapse, and the ground caves in.
The great universe is split from side to side.
In the midst of true emptiness, without even one thing.
Where do you come from, and where do you go?
What is this?
Only don’t know!

The frightened rabbit with horns runs to the South,
the stone snake with wings flies to the North.
The Sunrise at dawn brightens the Eastern sky,
a beautiful white cloud passes towards the West.
Thirty years pass by just like a dream.
Shin Myo Jang Gu Dae Da Ra Ni
with palms together:

How may I help you!

Given by Zen Master Sueng Sahn June 20th, 1996


Trusting In Mind (Third Patriarch of Zen, Seng-Ts’an)

Posted on Jul 19 , 2011 in Blog & Newsletter

A New Translation of the Hsin Hsin Ming, the classic poem by the Third Patriarch of Zen, Seng-Ts’an

The Great Way is not difficult,
Just don’t pick and choose.
If you cut off all likes or dislikes
Everything is clear like space.

Make the slightest distinction
And heaven and earth are set apart.
If you wish to see the truth,
Don’t think for or against.

Likes and dislikes
Are the mind’s disease.
Without understanding the deep meaning
You cannot still your thoughts.

It is clear like space,
Nothing missing, nothing extra.
If you want something
You cannot see things as they are.

Outside, don’t get tangled in things.
Inside, don’t get lost in emptiness.
Be still and become One
And all opposites disappear.

If you stop moving to become still,
This stillness always moves.
If you hold on to opposites,
How can you know One?

If you don’t understand One,
This and that cannot function.
Denied, the world asserts itself.
Pursued, emptiness is lost.

The more you think and talk,
The more you lose the Way.
Cut off all thinking
And pass freely anywhere.

Return to the root and understand.
Chase appearances and lose the source.
One moment of enlightenment
Illuminates the emptiness before you.

Emptiness changing into things
Is only our deluded view.
Do not seek the truth.
Only put down your opinions.

Do not live in the world of opposites.
Be careful! Never go that way.
If you make right and wrong,
Your mind is lost in confusion.

Two comes from One,
But do not cling even to this One.
When your mind is undisturbed
The ten thousand things are without fault.

No fault, no ten thousand things,
No disturbance, no mind.
No world, no one to see it.
No one to see it, no world.

This becomes this because of that.
That becomes that because of this.
If you wish to understand both,
See them as originally one emptiness.

In emptiness the two are the same,
And each holds the ten thousand things.
If you no longer see them as different,
How can you prefer one to another?

The Way is calm and wide,
Not easy, not difficult.
But small minds get lost.
Hurrying, they fall behind.

Clinging, they go too far,
Sure to take a wrong turn,
Just let it be! In the end,
Nothing goes, nothing stays.

Follow nature and become one with the Way,
Free and easy and undisturbed.
Tied by your thoughts, you lose the truth,
Become heavy, dull, and unwell.

Not well, the mind is troubled.
Then why hold or reject anything?
If you want to get the One Vehicle
Do not despise the world of the senses.

When you do not despise the six senses,
That is already enlightenment.
The wise do not act.
The ignorant bind themselves.

In true Dharma there is no this or that,
So why blindly chase your desires?
Using mind to stir up the mind
Is the original mistake.

Peaceful and troubled are only thinking.
Enlightenment has no likes or dislikes.
All opposites arise
From faulty views.

Illusions, flowers in the air —
Why try to grasp them?
Win, lose, right, wrong —
Put it all down!

If the eye never sleeps,
Dreams disappear by themselves.
If the mind makes no distinctions,
The ten thousand things are one essence.

Understand this dark essence
And be free from entanglements.
See the ten thousand things as equal
And you return to your original nature

Enlightened beings everywhere
All enter this source.
This source is beyond time and space.
One moment is ten thousand years.

Even if you cannot see it,
The whole universe is before your eyes.

Infinitely small is infinitely large:
No boundaries, no differences.
Infinitely large is infinitely small:
Measurements do not matter here.

What is is the same as what is not.
What is not is the same as what is.
Where it is not like this,
Don’t bother staying.

One is all,
All is one.
When you see things like this,
You do not worry about being incomplete.

Trust and Mind are not two.
Not-two is trusting the Mind.

Words and speech don’t cut it,
Can’t now, never could, won’t ever.

Seng-Ts’an was the third Chinese patriarch of Zen, having received transmission from Bodhidharma’s successor, Hui K’o. The poem attributed to him, the “Hsin Hsin Ming” (lit. “Trust Mind Inscription), is one of the earliest and most influential Zen writings, blending together Buddhist and Taoist teachings.

The translator, Zen Master Hae Kwang, teaches Zen at the Kansas Zen Center and Classics at the University of Kansas.


Ox Herding with Barry Briggs

Posted on Jul 15 , 2011 in Blog

Barry Briggs a.k.a. @Layman_Pang on Twitter is doing a series of posts on food this week over on his blog Ox Herding. Check it out!


Finger Wrestling

Posted on Jul 12 , 2011 in Blog & Newsletter

One time Un Mun Zen Master was visiting the capital city. Because of his fame as a teacher, a high government offical wanted to meet with him. During the audience the offical asked, “What is the meaning of the Hwa Yen Sutra?”

Un Mun said, “Putting that aside for a moment, what is the meaning of ‘sutra’?”

“The cover is gold and the inside is white,” was the minister’s reply.

“You only understand the form of the sutra; you don’t understand its meaning.” The minister was completely stuck.

Recently, at the Centennial of the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago, the Dalai Lama gave a speech in which he said that the true basis of the ecumenical movement is spiritual attainment. True understanding of another’s religion can only come from first attaining the meaning of your own religion; not just understanding it. Ritual and theology may be important but what’s most important is what’s inside the fancy robes. If the inside is real, then cooperation is possible.

Zen Master Seung Sahn, too, emphasizes attainment over understanding. Often he will say that a lot of people understand the bible or the sutras, but very few people understand the “behind meaning”–they have not attained the meaning. Zen is a special transmission outside the sutras, not dependent on words or speech. One familiar metaphor concerning this situation is that the various religions are like fingers pointing at the moon. Unfortunately, human beings spend much of their energy finger wrestling, rather than helping our world.

When Su Bong Zen Master was just starting to practice Zen, he was very interested in the story of the Sixth Patriarch’s enlightenment. The Sixth Patriarch got enlightenment upon hearing one line being recited from the Diamond Sutra. Zen Master Su Bong was very interested in this one line, and one day took the sutra into Zen Master Seung Sahn’s room to ask him about it. Pointing to the book, he asked, “What does this mean?” Zen Master Seung Sahn said, “Bring it closer. What line are you pointing to?” Just as Zen Master Su Bong brought the book close, Zen Master Seung Sahn slammed the book on his finger–POW!–and shouted, “What are you?!”

So, if you were the government minister and Un Mun asked you, “What is the meaning of ‘sutra’?” how could you answer?

By Zen Master Dae Kwang


The Life of Great Zen Master Seung Sahn and His Dharma Talk

Posted on Jul 11 , 2011 in Blog


Don’t Make Difficult; Don’t Make Easy

Posted on Jul 06 , 2011 in Blog & Newsletter

Hard training is not difficult
Beginner’s training is not easy.
A hundred day retreat is a pile of shit
And a monastery is useless.
A single thought?
The sound of typewriter keys!


Hard training….. very difficult!
Beginner’s training……. not difficult
Don’t make difficult; don’t make easy.
Not only a hundred days….. whole life bullshit!
Attain bullshit; whole universe, wonderful monastery.
A single thought? Big mistake


Clack, clack clack, clack…. the typewriter



Article From Korean Magazine

Posted on Jul 05 , 2011 in Blog & Newsletter

This past Spring, Providence and Cambridge Zen Centers were host to a reporter from a Korean Buddhist and Culture Magazine. You can find the original article here.

Cambridge Zen Center:

Between Harvard University and MIT, Cambridge Zen Center is a place where many people gather to learn and practice Zen Buddhism. Currently, there are 52 residents living at the Zen center. Built in 1973 by students of the late Zen Master Seung Sahn, CZC has provided a space to people who genuinely wish to practice together.  Located in the center of metropolitan area, many people from different walks of life

Everyday begins with 108 bows and ends with a short meditation period:

At the Cambridge Zen Center, both monks and laypeople are required to participate in the daily practice. Sitting, bowing, chanting, kong-an interviews, and work period are all part of our daily practice. Despite the busy schedule of each individual, it is important for residents to keep in mind the importance of practice and why they need to practice everyday.

Thich Huey Ji is a Vietnamese-American monk who studies psychology at Harvard University. Instead of living in the dorms, Huey Ji sunim has chosen to live in the Zen center. He said it has helped him understand not only Korean Buddhism but also the culture and history.

Harvard Professor who has been living at CZC for seven years: After completing her Ph.D in philosophy at the University of Chicago, Professor Choi Bomi is a professor at Harvard University. Having lived at CZC for seven years, she says she is still not ready to leave the Zen center. “Usually one would think that for someone who has completed her Ph.D, she has understood everything and is ready to be independent. But over the years, I’ve come to realize that it is through meditation that this world can be understood.”

Importance of Living Together:

Zen Master Bon Haeng is the Abbot of the Cambridge Zen Center and Providence Zen Center. He met Zen Master Seung Shan in 1970 and received inka in 2000. In regards to practice, he encourages all practitioners to bow. The reason is because he believes it to be the fastest way for the mind and the body to become one. “The most important aspect of our practice is to be able to put it down,” he says. Like his teacher, Zen Master Bong Haeng encourages his students to live together in Zen centers where they can derive strength and support from each other’s continuing practice. The regular schedule of practicing, eating and working together acts as a backdrop for seeing our karma appear and disappear. We use the analogy of washing potatoes together in a big pot of water. As the potatoes bump into one another, they clean each other more quickly and efficiently than if each potato was cleaned individually.  In the Zen center, we can see clearly how our opinions create problems by coming between us and the situation that we find ourselves in. When we let go of these opinions it is possible to live our every day lives with clarity and harmony. As we learn to cooperate, to see clearly and to accept people and situations as they really are, our minds become strong and wide. Then it becomes possible to act harmoniously and help other people with no trace of ourselves. His eldest daughter who is a web designer living in New York is thankful to her dad for giving her the experience to live in the Zen center.


All residents are required to participate in the daily practice, as well as the monthly retreats held at the Zen center.

Eligibility for community living
Zen Center, you want to live more than twice that anyone taking four days devoted to training experience valor must, meditation, public security check, leading to the prayer should be fully involved in the program performed. Zen master or person in charge there also should be checked with the interview. Even after a short geojuman will be accepted. Practitioners move you until the full and thorough preliminary education in the United States, the most respected could become a training center. Cambridge Zen Center, especially the schools, including Harvard and Boston University. Close ties with other Zen groups is in a position to lead. Justice Department at the University of Bonn, Boston Zen teaches, writing activities, plus some other Zen master in the sharing of community college classes, etc.

The next day Kannon Zen Bonn International School Zen Master and their (Kwanum Zen School) in Providence chongbonsain Zen Center, headed by. Sung by the monks there, the first Buddhist South Korea introduced the Varadero. The first start the 1972 in the state of Rhode Island, Providence was So the name omgyeoon keombeoraendeuro will continue to go after. A place where I emigrated in 1979, ranging from 200,000 to 2,342 ㎡
Bearing the Main Menu is a mountain-minded. 25 minute to the center of Providence, Boston, even an hour away by car everything. Kannon Zen school in the Gregorian calendar celebrates the Buddha’s day. In the first week of May found more than 10 people there. Only family members were Zen Center bangmungil everyone else in the western region is naseotgi.

Providence Zen Center:

Providence Zen Center was the first Zen center built in America by Zen Master Seung Sahn and his students. Built in 1972, PZC occupies more than 202,342m of land in the outskirts of Cumberland, Rhode Island. The location provides ample space for practitioners wanting to do Zen practice or solo retreats and also to group rentals wishing to hold yoga sessions or workshops. As the head temple of the Kwan Um School of Zen, many events and gatherings are held throughout the year for the teachers and the sangha to come together and bond

A Space Beyond Religion:

Providence Zen Center is a place where people from different walks of life can come together to practice. You don’t have to be a Buddhist to be here. Father Kevin Hunt has been the guiding teacher for the Christian-Buddhist retreats. He has been a monk since 1953 and has been holding Christian-Buddhist retreats for many years. He believes that meditation is not restricted to religion. Meditation techniques can be a big help to daily living, he says. People come here not only to learn about Korean Buddhism or Zen. They come here in order to put things down. As Robin says, “If you ask me what I’ve attained, I don’t know. But I feel much at peace and happier!”