(Original Email Version)

Newsletter for April, 2015
Gateless Gate
Happy Spring!

Please check out the Zenwest Abbot Update, a brief message from Eshu Osho on Youtube. This is the first of what promises to be a monthly offering in which Eshu will talk a bit about what’s going on with Zenwest. Please take seven minutes and have a look and listen.

April will see a two-day Zen Weekend at Kokizanji (Red Flag Mountain Temple) in Sooke. At around 3:38 on the Abbot Update Youtube, Eshu describes the idea of this event.  He says he’s thinking of it as a “Zen camp.” It will be open to everybody, not just members and associates, so you can invite friends and family. This will be a fantastic opportunity to transition with the season, and sample what residential Zen training can offer. Check out the details by clicking this. (Scroll to the bottom of this newsletter for an agenda of the Zen Weekend.)

One-Day Intensive on April 19th. The Dharma talk at the one-day intensive will be about koan practice in the Rinzai tradition. There will be some history, but it will focus on the actual practice of koan training, how to approach it, and how koan practice is useful in everyday life.

April 7: Tuesday Zen (UVic)
April 8:  Wednesday Zen (Roseberry)
April 12: Sangha Sunday (Kokizan-ji)
April 14: Tuesday Zen (UVic)
April 19: One-Day Intensive (Kokizan-ji)
April 21: Tuesday Zen (UVic)
April 22:  Wednesday Zen (Roseberry)
April 24-26: Zen Camp (Kokizan-ji)
April 28: Tuesday Zendo (UVic)
Special Events
Kokizanji Workday: April 4. 9am-noon
Orientation: April 11, 18.
Zenwest AGM: April 15
Kokizanji Retreat Weekend: April 24-25

作務 Samu

Workdays at Kokizanji. Help keep the temple shipshape with the practice of samu. This month there’s just one workday: April 4, 9am-12 noon. Come for all or part of it. Any help is needed and appreciated. Please bring a hat, water bottle, sunscreen, and yard tools like loppers and shovels and other implements of shipshapery. Please let Eshu Osho know if you’re coming so that he can plan accordingly. (eshu@zenwest.ca)

A message from Eshu Osho

Samu offers us the opportunity to come together as a Sangha and literally and physically co-create Zenwest. The spirit of Samu is a significant aspect of the Zen tradition, even a defining trait, so much so that Baizhang Huaihai, Linji (Rinzai)’s Dharma grandfather famously exclaimed “A day without work is a day without eating!” It has been an aspect which as a community we have not yet developed well. Everyone is busy, and all of us work hard in our individual lives, so it can be hard to come up with the energy to put into work practice. That said, there is a tremendous joy and satisfaction that comes from coming together as a community to develop our place of practice.

Tommi Hōyū Boulter offers this haiku, with Sparky starring as Squirrel.

Squirrel sits, twitches
Brown tail flicks, paws poised now
Squirrel knows nutting.

(The editor of this newsletter would like to offer the personal observation that he, too, knows nuttin’.)

The Zenwest Fishing Club… really? There is such a thing? The editor of this newsletter does not know. But the estimable Kendō Ralfs offers this submission from the aforementioned Zenwest Fishing Club and the 40 lb halibut he caught off Clover Point, bringing to your editor’s mind the following:


That is born will die,
What has been gathered will be dispersed,
What has been accumulated will be exhausted,
What has been built up will collapse,
And what has been high will be brought low. 

—Sogyal Rinpoche The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Zenwest Spring Retreat Weekend “Zen Camp”
April 24 & 25

Friday April 24

1630 Participants are welcome to arrive
1700 Participants who are camping set up/independent practice 1730 Introductions and orientation
1800 Dinner
1900 Zendo (2 x 25 minute sits with walking in between)
2030 Tea and circle
2100 Closing

Saturday April 25

0530 Wake up (optional for those that wish to do yoga) 0600 Yin Yoga (optional)
0700 Wake up
0730 Zendo (2 x 25 minute sits with walking in between) 0830 Wash up

0840 Breakfast
Care-taking (15 minutes)

Independent Practice
1000 Dharma Class and Discussion*
1200 Interview sign up and Independent Practice 1230 Lunch

Independent Practice
1400 Chanting class and practice
1500 Interviews – independent/guided hiking**
1730 Dinner
1830 Zendo (2 x 25 minute sits with walking in between) 1945 Closing tea & campfire (weather permitting)

* Dharma class will be an exploration of Buddhist teaching and Zen practice based on the Bhavacakra – “The Wheel of Birth and Death”. There will be handouts, an overview, and an opportunity for discussion and questions.

** Maps will be made available of nearby hikes, and instruction on our practice of silent group hikes. Depending on who is attending, we may be able to offer hike leaders, otherwise, hikers will be on their own, and expected to be back in time for dinner at 1730. 

Bhavacakra – “The Wheel of Birth and Death”
Copyright © 2015 Zenwest Buddhist Society, All rights reserved.

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To see the full schedule in all its glory, click here.

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