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Abbot's Message for the New Year: ROMANCING THE STONE

aszc location facade
No, it's not about the 1984 movie staring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. When I was working for a design firm that specialized in designing and implementing environmental programs for brick-and-mortar retailers in the 1990s and early 2000s, this term was frequently used to describe what we did for our clients.

Most companies in the business of selling hard and soft lines of merchandise, banking, automotive and other products and services, were then and are still today faced with the dilemma of a competitive climate in which it was more and more difficult to distinguish yourself based on the unique products you sell, the "stones," owing to the fact that others in your niche had the same or similar ones.

Last Updated (Sunday, 25 January 2015 11:10)



This year's Winter Ango (90 day retreat) at ASZC will take place from January 1 through March 31, 2015. Everyone is invited to take part in the increased opportunities for practice and study. Rev. Tesshin James Smith, from the Atlantic Soto Zen Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia, will be in residence throughout the 90 day Ango.

There will be an enhanced practice schedule including:
• Weekday Morning, Midday & Afternoon Zazen
• Monday Evening Zazen & Selected Readings with Gatsu Jabez Maurer
• Tuesday Evening Cloud Dharma Skype with Elliston Roshi
• Wednesday Evening Newcomers Workshop with Disciples in Rotation
• Thursday Evenings: An 11-week Workshop: "Observing the Precepts, Deepening Samadhi"
• Sunday Evenings: Group Sutra Study (Surangama)

For those who like getting a little sawdust on themselves, Saturday afternoon zendo kitchen renovations.

Additionally, on the last week of each month there will be an open mic musical entertainment evening. Come bring your instruments and voices to sing along with others. It will be held on either a Friday or Saturday evening. You can let us know which evening you prefer by emailing:
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All are encouraged to meet with Tesshin for practice discussion by appointment, at ASZC or for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or coffee as time allows.

Tesshin will undergo Shuso (head student) and Shiho (Transmission) ceremonies while in residence. You will be invited to participate in the public parts of those ceremonies, which will be announced in advance and take place on appropriate Sunday mornings. This is the "PhD of Zen" as Matsuoka Roshi called it, so Jim is to be congratulated.

Last Updated (Friday, 19 December 2014 09:59)




Each year at this time we look back, sometimes with regret; and forward, sometimes with trepidation. Setting aside the intellectual sloppiness, or arbitrariness, of selecting a given time of year to make such an assessment — winter introspection likely being a vestige of our agricultural and tribal heritage — any excuse for taking a time out from the hectic pace of modern life is welcome.

Zen meditation is a top-tier example of such a time-out. Shohaku Okumura Roshi referred to zazen as a "vacation." Where every other activity is a form of output, zazen is all input, he said. Everything else is work. We are fortunate to have this "excellent method as the essence of the teaching" as Master Dogen puts it. So, if we are making a year's end inventory of those things for which we are thankful, zazen is certainly near the top of the list.

Last Updated (Saturday, 17 January 2015 12:24)

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