Saturday, April 18, 2015

Meet Steve Allan



 

My name is Steve Allan, almost as far back as I can remember, even in high school in Sydney Australia back in the 60’s, when ever there was a ‘what is your religion?’ question , as a semi serious, semi rebellious joke, I always said I was a ‘Backyard Buddhist’ – I don’t know why! However it never got me out of Christian Fellowship 1st period every Friday morning.

In the 70’s we were all getting in to TM, The Beatles and the Marharishi and then life kicked in, career, family, stress, the time when we really need some meditation but are too busy and too stressed with life to fit it in.

For me , 25 years later the circle closed and my meditation practice started again and then I began to look behind the meditation to the to the concepts, the teachings and its origins, the more I looked the more rational the whole thing became.

10 years ago, living in a rural tourist town in Australia I began the practice of the ‘Trilogy of Hearing’ studying via book and internet and travelling throughout Australia, Asia and India for teachings, so instead of a backyard Buddhist I became a mobile Buddhist.

In a question and answer session after a teaching with the Dali Lama, he was asked,”what is the meaning of life” – his answer,”I don’t know the meaning of life but I know the purpose of life – to be of benefit to others, do no harm and be happy”. On the surface this seemed a simple little sentence, so why did it affect me so much? So I delved into it – Be of benefit; the practice of compassion and generosity. Do no harm; take up the practice of The 5 Precepts. Be happy; end suffering via ‘The 4 Noble Truths’ and the ‘8 Fold Path’, mixed with ‘The 5 Hindrances’ and a dab of ‘Dependant Rising’ and a whole lot of ‘Karma’ What a simple little sentence!!

In an effort to be of benefit I instigated Buddhist teachings in my Australian home town of Airlie Beach, bringing Tibetan Geshi’s and a teaching nun to town and I built, open and ran ‘The Whitsunday Meditation Society‘for 5 years until I retired.

But something in the Mahayana system was not quite right for me. I think it was the ancient Tibetan traditions that permeate their practice. I found them colourful, dramatic, awe inspiring and full of pageantry, but I kept coming back to just the Buddha’s words, maybe I was a fundamental mobile Buddhist!

It was these thoughts that reignited my search in Buddhism and after a couple of years I came to Zen due to its simplicity, honesty of practice and its focus on meditation.

Now retired and living in Bali I looked around Australia and S.E. Asia for a Sangha, I knew it was time for this mobile Buddhist to settle down.

After looking at a wide variety of Zen centres I settled on a small and very personal Zen centre on the central coast of NSW Australia, Silky Oak Zen, where I have now formally taken the precepts and found a home sangha.

In my desire to continue to be of benefit to others I am now seeking ordination and hopefully the opportunity to open a Zen centre in the mountains of North Bali in association with OBW.

With Metta, 3 bows.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Open Gate Zendo Spring Sesshin



It’s Spring again and time for the Open Gate Zendo 2015 Spring Sesshin. This year’s retreat will be held on Saturday May 2nd and Sunday 3rd. Spring sesshin is a wonderful opportunity for those of us who may not attend regular group practice sessions to enliven and rejuvenate our personal practice. The intensive weekend provides a venue for refining techniques that may have lost clear definition over the course of time. Sesshin allows us to refocus and renew our commitment to a strong and regular personal practice, which is the very foundation of the Zen tradition.
 
The Sesshin begins officially on Saturday morning, however anyone attending is welcome to come Friday evening and spend the night in the zendo, otherwise non-resident attendees should try to arrive around 7:00 am on Saturday.

As usual, there will be an informal breakfast with social time Saturday morning, but otherwise we will be following our traditional sesshin schedule and etiquette. There is no fee for attending sesshin, but donations to help pay for food and heating costs are greatly appreciated. Mattresses will be provided for those who wish to remain in residence for the duration of the sesshin, but if you plan to stay you should bring your own additional bedding.

Please e-mail opengatezendo@msn.com to confirm your plans to attend, as we need an accurate head count for buying food stuffs.

2015 Spring Sesshin

Saturday Schedule

7:00-7:15 Arrive for Sesshin
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony
8:05-9:00 Informal Breakfast in Hojo
9:00-9:30 Break and kitchen cleanup
9:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:30-10:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
9:30-10:45 Dokusan (one on one meeting with the teacher) by rotation.
10:45-12:30 Samu (work period- clean up, yard work, meal preparation)
12:30- Call to Lunch (Han roll)
12:45-1:45 Lunch ceremony (Oryoki)
1:45-2:15 Break and kitchen cleanup
2:00- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
2:15-3:30 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
3:30-4:30 Angya practice. (monk procession walk)
4:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
4:45-5:15 One period Zazen
5:15-6:15 Dinner ceremony (Oryoki)
6:15-6:45 Break and kitchen cleanup
6:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
6:45-8:00 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
8:00 -8:50 Tea ceremony & Teisho (teaching)
8:50- Closing ceremony
9:00- Prepare for bed or leave for the night.
9:00 Konsho (striking the evening bell)

Sunday Schedule

7:00-7:15 Arrive for Sesshin
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony
8:05-9:00 Breakfast ceremony (Oryoki)
9:00-9:30 Break and kitchen cleanup
9:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:30-10:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
9:30-10:45 Dokusan (one on one meeting with the teacher) by rotation.
10:45-11:45 Samu (work period), meal preparation and/or exercise.
11:45- Call to Lunch (Han roll)
12:00-1:00 Lunch ceremony (Oryoki)
1:00-1:30 Break and kitchen cleanup
1:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
1:30-2:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
2:45-3:00 Short Break
3:00-3:55 Tea Ceremony, Teisho/Group Discussion
3:55 Closing ceremony
4:00 Konsho (striking the evening bell)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meet Andrew McNee



Greetings to Everyone

I was born in Adelaide, South Australia with 2 weeks left of the 70s. A fortnight in the Royal Ashford Hospital with my Mother after her C-section is the longest stint I have done in my birth-town. Adelaide was the closest capital city to Leinster in Western Australia where my Dad worked as a nickel miner until I was 2. My younger brother was born in the same hospital before we moved to Brisbane, Queensland where Dad owned a milk-run. When I was 5, Dad moved us to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea where he resumed working as a cocoa and coconut plantation manager, returning to Brisbane after the onset of the Bougainville civil war in 1990. 12 bouts of malaria and no access to TV left me very small for my age and completely out of touch with all things cool for an eleven year old. Dad struggled for work for a few years in the early 90s and we moved between 2 caravan parks before renting a small place across the fence from my primary school.

My parents paid an exorbitant amount to send me to a secondary school called Churchie which is well known for grooming boys into the type of man that would choose to wear knee high socks with short pants. By this time Dad was back working in PNG and Mum held the fort in Brisbane. After a very unsuccessful season masquerading as a rugby league player, I tried my hand at ice speed skating. Both my brother and I had a talent for it and went on to represent Australia at 2 Winter Olympics each, 98 and 02 for me and 02 and 06 for my younger brother.

I retired from competing at 22 and enrolled in a Bachelor of Science after an eponymous gap year in the United Kingdom. I chose to major in philosophy of science which provided me with the opportunity to begin communicating thoughts and ideas directly related to notions formulated since my direct experiences as a 9 year old.

I now work as a high-school science teacher on the New South Wales Central Coast where I live with my young family. I am privileged to practice with the Silky Oak Zen Sanga and cherish the guidance of Jishin Hoka (Matt). Officially my involvement with the Dharma is new, however I have found Zen, particularly Rinzai, to superimpose perfectly with conclusions and notions I have brought with me. I have actually lived for 26 years with the same Koan: If there was not This, there wouldnt be this. The earliest recollection I have of being just dumb-struck in the face of the brute fact of experience, is as a 9 year old staring up at the stars and repeating those words in my head. The ineffable transcendent brutality of no-thing-ness has stayed with me all this time and I have never changed the wording of the uttering in my head.

I would like to express my gratitude and support for our wider Sanga and look forward to engaging with the members along our shared path.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Meet Christopher Price


 
Namaskaaraha, I bow to you all.
I have lived and worked in the Washington DC area for 16 years now, but my roots are in the Pacific Northwest, with grandparents buried in Poulsbo and Bremerton, and parents living on the Oregon coast. I was born into a not terribly religious family, and can still remember the day my parents decided we needed to start going to church, as I was old enough they wanted me to have such a foundation. For over 30 years, I did what I was told, and for some of that time was a true believer. Some things never made sense to me, and as I aged, I grew bolder in questioning them. I grew inactive, and a couple years ago when my wife fell ill with Cancer, her best friend died of it, and my so-called faith was shaken to the ground. The church had no answers for my questions, there was no substance under the platitudes, and I was lost.

I became a seeker, looking for some answers, looking for meaning, looking for something to cling to, when I discovered Buddhism. A good friend who practices gave me some things to ponder, and I explored out from there. One day, it clicked, and I had a moment of sublime understanding, a brief glimpse of Samadhi. It still took me another year or so to adequately describe what had happened, and find a system which would both accept my experience as genuine, and give me a framework to re-discover it at need. This led me to Zen Buddhism, and eventually my teacher Koro Kaisan Miles. I owe him a great deal of thanks for validating my assertion that solitary practice has as much (if not more) value than large organized zendos. Even before I was more than superficially aware of Buddhism, I had always found more divine nature in the great outdoors, in the desert, in the wilderness and woods, upon the ocean, and away from “civilization” than I ever had in a chapel or temple.
So now, I am no longer a seeker, I am an apprentice Wayfarer, with great love for the peace and acceptance of the Teachings, and a devotion to the Practice of Zen. I am attracted to compassionate service to others as a Bodhisattva, a way of cultivating my Buddha nature and living a selfless life, as much as living in modern America allows anyone who still has a family and mortgage, responsibilities that I choose to uphold, while fulfilling my spiritual needs through Zen.

My hobbies include expression through music, I’m trying to nurture my writing skills, and I practice metalsmithing at a pro-hobby level. I have been a Scoutmaster for 20 years, though I’m slowing down now and have retreated to serving on the committee, attending an occasional campout, and leading our annual High Adventure trip as my main focus.  I also have three daughters, the oldest of which was adopted out of the Washington State foster care system many years ago. My wife continues to struggle with her health, but we remain optimistic that through good living, and good medical care, we’ll enjoy each others company for quite a while yet.
Thank you for your kind attention.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Meet R.T. Good

 
 
Nine Bows to Everyone,

I am pleased to share with you a bit about myself.  My name is RT Good.   I am a lifelong resident of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia where my husband and I share a home.  We are both practitioners of the way.  I am also an educator and administrator at Shenandoah University where I have been employed for 23 years.

 
Fourteen years ago I stumbled onto the Zen Buddhist path during a men’s retreat hosted by the Bodhi Manda Zen Center (BMZC) in Jemez Springs, New Mexico.  Immediately, the Dharma within me was lit and has grown brighter ever since.  I have returned to sit sesshin at BMZC as well as with Zen Mountain Monestary in Mt. Templer, New York.  In the local area, I have sat with the Delaplane Sangha and the ZCB Clare Sangha.  I have also gone on pilgrimages, the most transforming of which was to Bodhi Gaya, India.  I knew after that journey that it was time for me to ask for the teachings so that I might mature in my practice.  Like my first discovery of the Zen Buddhist path, the universe suddenly revealed to me the writings of Koro Kaisan Miles.  I knew immediately upon reading his teachings that I would go to him and ask for his guidance.  In August 2013, Sensei Miles accepted me into apprenticeship and I have had the privilege to attend several sesshins at Open Gate Zendo under his tutelage.
 

 
Coinciding with my affiliation over the last couple years with the Boundless Mind Zen School I have also had the good fortune of building and leading a community of practice at Shenandoah University.  For the past two years I have introduced students and colleagues to Zen Buddhist practices.  Recently, on December 8, 2014, the community at Shenandoah University held its first Bodhi Day ceremony on campus, an auspicious event that was very well received by everyone. 
 
 
 
It is with humble gratitude that I affiliate with the Order of the Boundless Way and join a Sangha that is my spiritual touchstone.  While I live a considerable distance away, I keep the Sangha close at heart.  I also hope that I am, in some small way, planting the seeds of Boundless Mind Zen to sprout here in the Shenandoah Valley.

In gassho,

RT


Monday, December 22, 2014

Open Gate Zendo Winter Sesshin




Open Gate Zendo Rohatsu/Winter Sesshin

This years Open GateWinter Sesshin starts at 7:30 Saturday January 17th and runs through Monday, January 19th. Our three day practice schedule will include the 8th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Silent Peace Walk around Olympia’s Capitol Lake (beginning at Marathon Park at noon on Sunday).
Anyone wanting to arrive early is welcome to come Friday evening and spend the night in the Zendo. Attendees arriving in the morning should try to arrive by 7:00.  There will be an informal breakfast with social time Saturday morning, but otherwise we will be following our traditional silent sesshin schedule and etiquette.

There is no fee for attending, but as usual, contributions for food and to help pay for supplies and heating costs would be greatly appreciated. Mattresses will be provided for those who wish to remain in residence for their duration at sesshin and showers will be made available.
    
Please e-mail; opengatezendo@msn.com with any questions and/or to confirm your plans to attend, we need an accurate head count for buying food stuffs.

2015 Winter Sesshin

Saturday Schedule

First Morning Session
6:30 Wake-up bell
7:00 Non-residents Arrive (Chosho -morning bell tolled 9 times)
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen (Chosan- first morning meditation)
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony
8:05-9:00 Informal Breakfast and kitchen cleanup (in Hojo)
9:00-9:15 Sesshin Introduction and Instructions

Second Morning Session
9:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:30-10:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
9:30-10:45 Dokusan (one on one meeting with the teacher) by rotation.
10:45-12:30 Samu (work and/or exercise/rest period)
12:30- Call to Lunch (Han roll)
12:15- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for lunch- bring out trays
12:45-1:45 Lunch ceremony (Oryoki)
1:45-2:10 Break and kitchen cleanup

Afternoon Session
2:00- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
2:15-3:30 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
3:30-4:30 Angya practice. (monk procession walk)
4:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
4:45-5:15 One period Zazen
5:15- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for Dinner- bring out trays
5:30-6:15 Dinner ceremony (Oryoki)
6:15-6:30 Break and kitchen cleanup

Evening Session
6:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
6:45-8:00 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
8:00-8:10- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for tea, bring out trays
8:10 -8:50 Tea ceremony & Teisho (teaching) and/or Dharma Discussion.
8:55- Closing ceremony
9:00- Daily Closing- Konsho (striking the evening bell) tolled 9 times
9:00- Prepare for bed or non-residents leave for the night.

Sunday Schedule

First Morning Session
6:30 Wake-up bell
7:00 Non-residents Arrive (Chosho -morning bell tolled 9 times)
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen (Chosan- first morning meditation)
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony
8:05- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for breakfast - bring out trays
8:15-9:00 Breakfast ceremony (Oryoki)
9:00-9:25 Break and kitchen cleanup

Second Morning Session
9:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:30-10:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
9:30-10:45 Dokusan (one on one meeting with the teacher) by rotation.
11:15-1:15 Angya practice. (MLK Silent procession walk Capitol Lake)
1:15-2:30  Hosted Sangha Lunch in Olympia.

Afternoon Session
2:30- Call to Zazen (time adjusted to return time)
2:45-4:00 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
4:00- 4:30 Work and/or exercise/rest period (may be adjusted for schedule)
4:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
4:45-5:15 One period Zazen
5:15- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for Dinner- bring out trays
5:30-6:15 Dinner ceremony (Oryoki)
6:15-6:40 Break and kitchen cleanup

Evening Session
6:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
6:45-8:00 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
8:00-8:10- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for tea, bring out trays
8:10 -8:50 Tea ceremony & Teisho (teaching) and/or Dharma Discussion.
8:55- Closing ceremony
9:00- Daily Closing- Konsho (striking the evening bell) tolled 9 times
9:00- Prepare for bed or non-residents leave for the night.

Monday Schedule

Morning Session
6:30 Wake-up bell
7:00 Non-residents Arrive (Chosho -morning bell tolled 9 times)
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen (Chosan- first morning meditation)
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony
8:05- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for breakfast - bring out trays
8:15-9:00 Breakfast ceremony (Oryoki)
9:00-9:15 Break and kitchen cleanup

Second Morning Session
9:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:30-10:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
9:30-10:45 Dokusan (one on one meeting with the teacher) by rotation.
10:45-11:45 Samu (work and/or exercise/rest period)
11:45 Han Roll
12:00-12:30 One Period Zazen
12:30- 12:40 Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for lunch- bring out trays
12:40-1:30 Lunch ceremony (Oryoki)

Afternoon Session
1:30-2:00 Break and kitchen cleanup
1:45- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
2:00-3:15 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
3:15-3:30 Short Break
3:30-4:30 Tea ceremony, Teisho/Group Discussion
4:30-Closing - Konsho (striking the evening bell) tolled 9 times

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Meet Patrick Hughes




 
Greetings to Everyone,

Hello my name is Patrick Hughes. I’m Canadian born, but now live on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia with my Australian wife and two children: My son Bodhi (3yo) and baby daughter Ondine. I currently study at the University of Newcastle.

I actually decided I was Buddhist when I was still a kid. I read whatever I could find at the local library about Buddhism, but there was slim to no chance of joining or even finding a group then.

I eventually started Tae Kwon Do, then boxing, and Judo. When I was twenty I started training in Ninjutsu. Stephen Hayes, who was the fellow who brought it to North America, was an ordained Tendai priest. He incorporated Tendai Mikkyo into his teachings. I wrote a letter to his teacher, Rev. Clark Jikai Choffy, a professor living in Missouri. We corresponded for a while, and then he invited me to visit him. During my visit in '93, Jikai Sensei accepted me as his student, and initiated me into a Tendai ceremony.

Back in Canada. Rev. Jikai and I continued to correspond and talk on the phone. He would send me books and material to continue my studies. As well he encouraged me to attend other Buddhist organizations, like Nichiren and Jodo Shinshu. Then in '95 or '96, he geographically moved, and we unfortunately lost contact.

I then began a search for another Tendai teacher, but they were (and still are) few and far between in North America. Around this time I met Doreen Hamilton, the then Buddhist chaplain at University of Toronto. She was with the Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) sect. She was never my formal teacher, but more of a mentor. I also began attending Karma Kagyu in Toronto; a Tibetan Buddhist centre. When I moved it became harder to make it down to regular teachings.

I then continued my interest in Buddhism generally. I studied Buddhism in various forms and saw The Dalai Lama twice in my travels. Eventually I became interested in Zen and contacted Hoka Matt Lawther (Fa Zhāo) through ZBOHY. I had been previously in contact with Matt for a few years before commencing my attendance at Silky Oak Zen. I have now been sitting with the Silky Oak Zen community for almost a year and they have become great friends. In this time I’ve become a student with The Boundless Mind Zen School and regularly keep up with OBW activities, through our local practice and on social media.

Over the years I've continued in many different martial arts, achieving multiple instructorships. I’m also a Feldenkrais Practitioner. I've practiced yoga on and off for years, and became a certified teacher in 2011.

I also like to play the Shakuhachi flute and am studying with Grandmaster Riley Lee.

Great to be part of the big family.

Cheers!
Patrick Hughes

Monday, November 17, 2014

Women's Hermitage Retreat

Ece gifts Heart-rocks  

The first women’s retreat was held at the Clouds and Water Island Hermitage September 19th through the 21st, 2014. Wayfarers who stayed the full three days included Ece Yildirim, Valerie Grigg-Devis and  Maitri Sojourner.  Ece recently completed a four-year course of study of traditional Chinese medicine at Oregon College of Oriental Medicine in Portland, Oregon. She is on her way to a three-month volunteer residency at a women’s clinic in Nepal and plans to open her own women’s clinic in New York. Ece served as our Tenzo and ran a wonderful kitchen! Valerie is a transportation planner with Oregon Department of Transportation from Corvallis, Oregon, and an ordained member of the Order of the Boundless Way. Valerie is deepening her practice and wants to do chaplaincy work. Maitri Sojourner is also ordained as a member of the Order, who lives in Olympia. Her practice includes sewing meditation cushions, shirts, and robes upon request.

Maitri presenting the Empty Cup

Ann Tjung, Buddhist chaplain at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, and newest member of the Order,  joined the group on Saturday, along with Johnnie Paradiso, who donated the land for the Hermitage. We all participated in a precept ceremony for Johnnie who was presented with books, a meditation cushion, mala beads, a heart rock from her beloved beach and a bell. These were offered, along with our good wishes, to help her along with developing her practice. On Sunday, Valerie and Maitri renewed their dedication to practice by reciting the Ten Grave Precepts together. Maitri continued her tradition of “humorous seriousness” by wearing the sock monkey hat Valerie had given her for her ordination a few years ago. They were joined by Jessica Morgan on Sunday. Maitri presented everyone with a small empty cup, as a reminder that we sometimes to need to empty ourselves out before we can fill ourselves up again and Ece presented all with heart shaped rocks.

Ece demonstrates Tai Chi

The weather was beautiful, and the group pulled the overgrowth of Canadian Thistle and continued defining the walking path around the perimeter of the property. Despite our efforts, a raccoon family visited our campsite and Valerie did valiant battle with a broom. She witnessed one raccoon carrying off a garbage bag of soiled paper towels draped over a seven-pound fire extinguisher, another one carrying an empty macaroon can under its arm like a football, and another one licking the contents of a non-dairy creamer packet! We moved Valerie into the hut with us, and can tell you that three people and all their “stuff” fits nicely in the sleeping hut Miles built. We took turns giving short dharma talks, and we had meaningful discussions about our practice and how we use it in our everyday lives. We watched beautiful sunsets each evening, sipping our hot tea.

Ah!
Maitri Sojourner
 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Meet Merelyn Tripolone

 
 
 
'If with kindly generosity
One merely has the wish to soothe
The aching hearts of other beings,
Such merit has no bounds.'
~ Kuan Yin
 
Hi Everyone,
 
My name is Merelyn Tripolone. I live on the Central Coast of NSW (Australia) with my partner Maz, our two cats “Ted” and “Tiny” and our one year old dog “Hunter”.   I had previously studied aromatherapy together with two styles of yoga meditation and was looking for a local group to practice with. Quite by chance, Maz found a sign for a Zen Centre in our local area in 2011. I then contacted the teacher Hoka Matt Lawther and began a journey into Zen practice.
  
I found my home in Zen and have now been sitting with the Silky Oak Zen community for three years. I’ve become good friends with all the Sangha and have regularly attended weekly Zazen and Teisho, as well as incorporating Zen practice in my daily life.  I’ve also participated in all the Zendo activites including Zazenkai, “Mantras to Music”, weekly discussion meetings and other informal gatherings.    
 
In my first year at Silky Oak, we studied the basic tenets of Buddhism and I became particularly interested in how they relate to the study and practice of Zen. After regular Dokusan with Hoka, I had the wish become a student with The Boundless Mind Zen School. I now study and practice more formally and keep up with OBW activities.   
 
I also love art galleries and have become interested in Asian styles. There are so many beautiful representations of all the masters, Kuan Yin etc. I also love getting out in nature, walks along the waterfront, reading great books and watching interesting TV series. All of my activities now help me to understand the impermanence and interconnection of everything.   
 
It’s great to be part of our local and extended Sangha family, all over the world.
 
In the Dharma
Gassho
Merelyn


Monday, September 1, 2014

Recent Precepts Ceremonies at Silky Oak Zen- Australia

 
Our Sangha member Debbie-Anne, reciting “The Five Lay Precepts”
 

“To speak no ill, to do no harm, to practice restraint according to the fundamental precepts, to be moderate in eating, to live in seclusion, to devote oneself to higher consciousness, this is the Teaching of the Buddhas” ……………..Dhammapada, No. 185


Hi Everyone!

We would like to share some photos of our most recent “Five Precept Ceremony” held at Silky Oak Zendo on 3rd August 2014.  Items within the Zendo were arranged especially for the event and the ceremonies reflected the main tenets of the Linchi/ Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism.

Our table arrangement for the ceremony

Most of our Sangha were in attendance, as the taking of “The Five Lay Precepts” has now become a standard at Silky Oak Zen. The first to take them was Merelyn Tripolone in February 2013, followed by Patrick Hughes and Andrew McNee in May 2014.

We now welcome our dear friends Debbie-Anne Sergeant and Kay Podmore into the refuge of “The Three Jewels”, “The Four Noble Truths” “The Eightfold Path” and all the sublime teachings of The Buddha Dharma.


Members our Sangha who were there in support for Debbie-Anne and Kay

 

In Kindness and Friendship
 
Hoka Matt Lawther and the
Silky Oak Sangha – Aus.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Meet Charlie Barlow

 
My Life is my practice
Each breath,
a new moment

My curiosity regarding spirituality began when I was endeavoring to earn a coveted God and Country medal in scouting. It was a beautiful and impressive medal, and it would only take 12 months of bible study and weekly meetings with the pastor to earn it. When asked of that pastor to explain the Trinity (father, son, and holy ghost) as opposed to just one 'God', he replied 'one must believe that they are all the same'. I remained confused with that answer, and have been ever since, sparking my skepticism of organized 'belief' systems, aka religions. While I can't now remember all of the names of the books of the Old and New Testament, in their respective order, I have that medal still though.

In the early 1980's I began to study Zen, reading the usual texts by Suzuki, Watts, but especially Richard Alpert, starting with his text 'Grist for the Mill'. I studied many of his other works, and was fortunate enough to attend several of his lectures. His humanity is humbling.

In the recent years I have been introduced to more texts on Zen and similar spiritual works, notably Bryon Katie, Charlotte Joko Beck, Wayne Dyer, Pema Chodron, Depak Chopra, and Adyashanti. By far though, my heart is so very deeply touched by the humor and grace of Anne Lamott.

But working with Miles is where the rubber meets the road. Laughs, tears, touching of hearts, he has brought me further into the light and joy of loving what is, and pointing to a place where we can all enjoy and cherish this miracle of life.

Charlie lives with his partner Jessica Morgan, artist/photographer, and Aysel,Cat of the Realm, in Tumwater, Wa. In his spare time he also practices planting/weeding/mowing, jazz guitar, being a Big Brother, dabbling in chess, tai chi, and counting his blessings.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


2014 Summer Sesshin
 
The time is here for the Open Gate 2014 Summer Sesshin and Ordination Ceremony. The Sesshin will held on Saturday and Sunday August 16th &17th with the Ordination ceremony beginning Saturday at 11:00 am (followed by a pot luck lunch and social period). Attendees are welcome to come Friday evening and spend the night in the Zendo as well.

Attendees arriving in the morning should arrive by 7:00. Below is the two day schedule. Guests coming only to the Ordination and potluck social should arrive between 10:30 and 11:00.
 

Ordination Ceremony
 
This summer we will be welcoming four new members into the Order of the Boundless Way; local Open Gate Sangha member- Charlie Barlow, Stuart Tennis of Seattle, Ann Thjung of University Place, and Thor Mitchel of Portland. All of these initiates are Open Gate Sangha members, who have spent the last two years preparing for their ordination.
 
Everyone is encouraged to come for the ordination ceremony to meet our new members, even if they are unable to attend the full Sesshin. (Small gifts and/or cards from sangha members to the new initiates are always welcome). Please send an e-mail opengatezendo@msn.com in order to confirm your intentions in attending. As usual we need an accurate head count for planning and buying food stuffs.
 
If you would like more information about this sesshin or the ordination, please feel free to contact to contact Miles at- opengatezendo@msn.com

 
Saturday Schedule
 

Morning Session
6:30 Wake-up bell
7:00 Non-residents Arrive (Chosho -morning bell tolled 9 times)
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony (Remain standing to exit Zendo)
8:05-9:00 Casual breakfast and social time (in Hojo)
9:00-9:15 Break and kitchen cleanup

Second Morning Session
9:00- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:15-9:45 One periods of Zazen
9:45-10:45 Samu (Arrange Zendo for Ordination Ceremony)
10:45 Han Roll (Call to Ordination ceremony)
11:00-12:00 Ordination Ceremony
12:00-1:30 Potluck Lunch and Social Time (Cards and Gifts)
1:30 Han roll (announcing end of lunch and social time)
1:30 – 2:00 Samu (Clean up and return Zendo to original configuration)

Afternoon Session
2:00- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
2:15-3:30 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
3:30-4:30 Angya practice. (Monk procession walk)
4:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
4:45-5:15 One period Zazen
5:15- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for Dinner- bring out trays
5:30-6:15 Dinner ceremony (Oryoki)
6:15-6:40 Break and kitchen cleanup

Evening Session
6:30- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
6:45-8:00 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
8:00-8:10- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for tea, bring out trays
8:10-8:50 Tea ceremony& Dharma talk
8:55- Closing ceremony
9:00- Daily Closing- Konsho (striking the evening bell) tolled 9 times
9:00- Prepare for bed or non-residents leave for the night.

Sunday Schedule

Morning Session
6:30 Wake-up bell
7:00 Non-residents Arrive (Chosho -morning bell tolled 9 times)
7:15-Call to Zazen (Plank drum (Han) roll)
7:30-8:00 One period of Zazen (Chosan- first morning meditation)
8:00-8:05 Incense Ceremony
8:05- Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for lunch- bring out trays
8:15-9:00 Breakfast ceremony (Oryoki)
9:00-9:15 Break and kitchen cleanup

Second Morning Session
9:15- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
9:30-10:45 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
9:30-10:45 Dokusan (one on one meeting with the teacher) by rotation.
10:45-11:45 Samu (work and/or exercise/rest period)
11:45 Han Roll
12:00-12:30 One Period Zazen
12:30- 12:40 Kitchen aids prepare Genkan for lunch- bring out trays
12:40-1:30 Lunch ceremony (Oryoki)

Afternoon Session
1:30-2:00 Break and kitchen cleanup
1:45- Call to Zazen (Han roll)
2:00-3:15 Two periods of Zazen alternated with Kinhin
3:15-3:30 Short Break
3:30-4:30 Tea ceremony, Teisho/Group Discussion
4:30-Closing - Konsho (striking the evening bell) tolled 9 times