It is truly the case that the universal nature of the teachings of the Sotoshu’s “Shakyamuni Buddha and Two Founders” is being actualized such that globalization is occurring...
…However, with the passage of time and generational change among Soto priests, we have changes arising little by little in the “form” (sometimes in attire, sometimes in the movements of ceremonies and so forth) that has been traditionally transmitted within the Sotoshu.
Here, within the same Soto Zen that we share, there is concealed a potentially big problem. Nevertheless, it isn’t possible to move forward unilaterally saying “that isn’t the way to do it. ‑ this is the correct way,” dealing with this sort of matter as if we were the originators of Soto Zen. It is necessary rather to sincerely meet the local people and while deepening mutual understanding correctly assess what is all right to change and what must not be changed, proceeding with actions that are in line with each situation.
In recent years, words such as “mindfulness” and “meditation” have been adopted and used as if they were synonyms for zazen. Interest has grown in these teachings and many people are now practicing these methods. Nevertheless, it is a fact that people are practicing and understanding zazen – which is originally a deep Buddhist practice – as if it were simply a practical tool, “a method to resolve problems” or “a means to train the mind.” In these circumstances, the “complete Buddha Way,” the correctly transmitted zazen will disappear. It will simply end as a technique for getting on in the context of the everyday world…
DHARMA EYE - News of Soto Zen Buddhism: Teachings and Practice
dharma talks @10:15am, saturdays
__________ hszc speakers __________
Rev. Myō Lahey (our Abbot) - Mar 11, 18; Apr 8, 15; May 6, 13
Rev. Daiko Tanzen, David Bullock - TBD
Rev. Hogetsu, Max Swanger - way seeking mind talk - Mar 25
__________ guest speakers __________
Rev. Kogen Seido, Jamie Howell - Mar 4; Rev. Jisan, Tova Green Apr 1; Rev. Fugan, Gene Bush - Apr 22; Rev. Daigan Gaither - way seeking mind talk - Apr 29; Rev. Anshi Daigi, Zachary Smith - May 20; Rev. Shokan, Jordan Thorn - May 27; Rev. Fugen, Gene Bush - Jul 15; Rev. Shosan Victoria Austin - Jul 29; Rev. Anshi Daigi, Zachary Smith - Aug 19; Rev. Ko Shin, Steven Tierney - Sep 2; Rev. Shokan, Jordan Thorn - Sep 30; Rev. Shokan, Jordan Thorn - Oct 14; Rev. Kogen Seido, Jamie Howell - Nov 11;
we now offer a queer meditation space evening, on tuesdays 6pm, please join us. no formal zen forms, a shorter mediation period than our usual zazen & discussion time/social time included. the format is designed to evolve to the desires & request of the attendees. it is from 6pm to 7pm.
Shukke Tokudo (Soto Zen Priest Ordination)
Saturday, March 11 @ ~11am - Immediately following our usual Saturday schedule and the Dharma talk at 10:15am - For the first time in over 20 years a priest will be ordained at Issan-ji temple! The Sangha is very excited to announce the ordination of Hogetsu, Max Swanger who will receive ordination from Rev. Myō Lahey. It is an honor and celebratory moment to have Hogetsu, Max join the lineage of hartford street zen center/Issan-ji temple priests! This is looking to be a heavily attended event, but please know all are invited to celebrate the continuation of the Soto Zen priest lineage through HSZC! *See below to read about Max's Buddhist study past*
Saturdays March 18 and April 15 @ 12 noon - council runs for ~ 90 minutes maximum — we’re continuing this format that is flexible enough for a diversity of needs. the primary focus has been recently on operational matters & new programs. the session is open to added topics as well & you do not need to have an ‘issue’ or overt concern to attend. All are welcome!
Full Moon Ceremony
Saturday, March 11 @7:10am - March’s Full Moon is traditionally called the Full Worm Moon by the Native Americans who used the Moons to track the seasons; Colonial Americans also used these names, especially those of the local Algonquin tribes who lived between New England and Lake Superior. At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. In some regions, this is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins. For us this is our monthly opportunity to renew our bodhisattva vows. The ceremony is about 30 minutes in length and occurs after the Dharma talk.
Thursdays each week @7:30pm - currently: selected Studies of Zen Master Dōgen. see our website for details. So far all have been from the Dōgen Shobōgenzo version compiled & translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi.
Closure & Schedule Changes -
mondays - no morning program, only evening schedule
tuesday evenings - queer dharma at 6pm
April 17, 2017 - closed
May 29, 2017 memorial day - closed
Study hour canceled due to Myō travel: February 8 & April 20, 27 & May 4
Founder Monthly Memorials - Issan Dorsey's is the 6th of each month & Philip Whalen's is the 26th (or closest dates to these if cant be on that day) - evenings at 6:40pm or saturday mornings
Practice discussions at hszc are available with Rev. Daiko Tanzen, David Bullock & Dokusan with Rev. Myo Lahey please call us, approach them directly, or email: email@example.com to request to schedule time.
Max Swanger, our to be ordained priest, sangha member & hszc resident student, @ tassajara zen monastery
Words from our Abbot, Rey Myō Lahey (transcribed by sangha)
…There is a lazily drifting compass needle of the relative, the absolute, the apparent, the real. This is the realm of practice you could say. You’re sitting right at the hub of the lazily drifting compass needle wanting it to stop and point somewhere. For the one who is free is the one who doesn’t mind particularly drifting or spinning. Because of that I want to congratulate you all on coming to encounter the effortless effort, zazen. That’s that pivot point again between effort, no effort. Today a few of us have decided to act contrary to the usual flow and spend the day not doing much; kind of bearing a sort of useless witness.
To me that seems to take some kind of effort. It’s a little strange. Sometimes after or during sesshin, those of you who’ve sat zen style of sitting and then you go back to you hut or your hovel, wherever you're living and you go in your bathroom and look in the mirror and you see this wiped out looking creature and you have this feeling “man I am wiped out” but you weren’t doing anything, just sitting. This feeling of making this tremendous effort sometimes is a little cue to us that maybe the effort we are making needs a little more refinement. It’s really when we grit the teeth and force the rivers of sweat out that is and that’s how it is, that there is something that is a little off and it’s not quite the right mix of effortlessness and effort. Each of us has the same practice conundrum repeated over and over again for each practitioner. What is this effort of practice?
The Buddhas and Ancestors have given us some pointers actually, to make things easier for us. They taught us a lot about yoga, the yoga of sitting. The ceremony of arranging body and mind that is optimally geared for appreciating doing nothing. And usually it takes a while to acquire some of that repertoire, that yogic repertoire. Slowly little by little the body-mind finds its way, towards something or maybe away from something. And that region, the body-mind moves towards is quite still.
On the Road Again...
Sangha member and soto zen ordain priest, Rin McCarthy will again tackle to the road to walk by foot and cart across the united states, having conversations and raising awareness of global climate change as she crosses the country.
"Otherwise, aside from whatever odd-job work is available, my attention has often been focused on 'walk practice', and participating in those sorts of gatherings (more frequent these day) that involve marching with signs and yelling slogans! As to the subject mentioned above - time will tell how this year's walk (Stage III!) unfolds, but based on past experience it seems possible that, through meeting the challenge of engaging in openminded mutual inquiry with others, I will continue to encounter kind and generous people, which does wonders toward the maintenance of a positive attitude!"
Click here to keep up and be engaged with Rin's trek
From Max Swanger on his priest ordination -
"For me priest ordination is an expression of my deep devotion to Buddha and the Buddha Way. For some an ordination may be the start of formal training; to me this is a celebration of my many years living in Buddhist Community and Monasteries and the transition from residential student to priesthood. I am honored to be ordained at Hartford Street Zen center under Abbot Rev. Myo Lahey, and I look forward to my continued practice and life in the dharma as a priest in the Soto Zen Lineage."
Our Sangha offers our deepest congratulations to Max!
Illustration created by Max Swanger's sister in honor of his ordination event
(note her website for more of her works and available art to purchase)
Our soon to be ordained Priest's (Hogetsu Max Swanger's) history in Buddhism & Buddhist studies:
8 years in residence study at San Francisco Zen Center, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Tassajara Zen Monastery and Hartford Street Zen Center, between Fall 1998 and Spring 2008
- Resident study, Issan-ji Temple, Hartford Street Zen Center, San Francisco, CA July 2005 - 2006
- Zen Priest Training with Rev. Reb Anderson, Green Gulch Farm, Muir Beach, CA, 2003 - 2008
Spirit Rock Meditation Center, employee and studies Marin, CA April 2011 - January 2015
Sesshin, Toshoji Monastery, Japan, November 2015 sesshin
Teaching Assistant, Antioch Education Abroad, Kyoto, Japan, Sept. to Dec 2015
Resident study, Issan-ji Temple, Hartford Street Zen Center, San Francisco, CA July 2016 - current
Chaplaincy CPE (Clinical Pastural Education) Training, UCSF Sept. 2016 - current
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please contact us for rental space & events, ceremonies performed by a zen priest - weddings, memorials, coming of age & baby naming events
Soji-ji December 2016 - above, and water basin picture at top of this newsletter
find other sf & bay area lgbtqqi/queer community events here - or - here
may this newsletter find you well & equanimous! __/|\__
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