Newsletter for July 2016

Mini-Moment Monthly Quote

To say yes, you have to sweat and roll up your sleeves, and plunge both hands into life up to the elbows. It is easy to say no, even if saying no means death.

—Jean Anouilh

Please feel free to send us a short memorable or motivating quote, it could be one of your own or someone you know. Submit your quotes to


July 3: Sangha Sunday (Kokizan-ji)
July 5: Tues. Evening (Sands)
July 10: Mondo Zendo (Kokizan-ji)
July 12: Tues. Evening (Sands)
July 17: Half-Day Zendo (Kokizan-ji)
July 19: Tues. Evening (UVic)
July 24: One-Day Intensive (Kokizan-ji)
July 26: Tues.Evening (UVic)
July 27: Wed. Zendo (Roseberry)
July 31: Mondo Zendo (Kokizan-ji)

Special Events

July 2, 9, 16, 23 (Saturdays): Orientation to Zen 101. 9:30—11:00am

Two Ways to Engage Deeper!

by Elder Kido deRosenroll

Kickstarting your Tuesday night meditation practice into a regular event involves commitment. Here are two simple ways:

1. Offer to pick up another on Tuesday nights at a designated time and place. This “same time, same place” consciousness gets you to your Sands Zendo sit, engages you with others, and offers the opportunity to be of service. If you are able to pick up or if you require a ride, let us know where you’re coming from and, if you’re driving, how many sitters you have room for, and we’ll arrange the initial connections.

2. Step into a role on the Zendo team. Practice from the inside out by learning form while serving others and supporting Zenwest’s reach out to the greater community. Minimal requirement for Tuesday sits is your associateship with Zenwest.

For more information on either of these, please contact Elder Kido deRosenroll at

Calling All Members and Associates—Literally!

Our SMF (so much fun) volunteer coordinator, Seishin Ledingham will be reaching out by phone throughout the month of July. What will she want to talk with you about? Well, on behalf of Zenwest, she wants to hear from you about what you hope for the sangha. We would love to have you enrich our sangha with your ideas, your skills, and your suggestions.

If you would prefer a specific date and time in July when you can share a half hour of your time, please e-mail

You are all jewels in the treasure of our Zenwest sangha!

With Gratitude

by Seishin Ledingham

My absolute, number-one favourite part of the newsletter is the “Meet A Member” interview. The first thing I do when the Zenwest Newsletter arrives in my inbox is scroll down and read this article! I particularly like reading how everyone answers the question, “Finally, in three words, can you express what ‘Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha’ means for you?” Even though I have been practicing with my fellow Zenwest members for years, I always learn something new and interesting about each and every one of them. I appreciate everyone’s honesty. I also appreciate each member’s generosity of spirit and huge hearts as they share with all of us vulnerable, intimate bits of themselves and their practice. I would like to say a huge thank you to those who have taken the time to answer the “Meet A Member” questions!

I would also like to thank the fearless Zenwest Newsletter Team, which does a great job of compiling, editing, and formatting, and often writing their own articles for the newsletter that arrives in our email inbox every month:

• Kyoku Holland – layout

• Hoyu Boulter – journalism

• Renée Layberry – editing

Thank you Kyoku, Hoyu, and Renée for doing such a beautiful job.

Summer Sesshin: August 7–14, 2016

Sooke, BC

Kokizan-ji (Red Flag Mountain Temple)

Sit on it!
Summer Sesshin at Kokizan-ji (Red Flag Mountain Temple) in Sooke is our annual opportunity to dive into seven days of intensive practice.

We fully immerse into the treasures of sangha, dharma and Buddha through sitting (Zazen), chanting, yoga, silent hikes, formal meal practice, work practice (Samu), dharma talks and interview (Dokusan) with Eshu Osho.

Sunday, August 7th, after our regular Sangha Sunday sit, those who are attending will have the afternoon to set up tents (or other accommodations), with the sesshin beginning after dinner.

The following Sunday, half-day sitters will join in, and together we will conclude Summer Sesshin. Requirements are membership, practice assessment (which comes with successfully completing the orientation course), or otherwise demonstrating that you can successfully fit in with the form (for example, by completing a Sangha Sunday sit), and completion of the Intensive Preparation course—or with special permission from the abbot.

For complete details and cost, please visit the website at intensive-sesshin/

Meet a Member: Shinzen

When did I start on the path? And where?

This is a puzzle. Geography, two pet cats, and a death all played their part.

The year I turned fifty, I went on retreat to a spiritual training centre at Naramata in the South Okanagan. I had a history with this region. I came of age in the northern part of the valley. The aunt I was named after was buried in Kelowna. At the retreat I spent the week alone with a friend. At 36 centigrade, all movements were slow—three hours spent with a group every morning mainly in silence. We were being introduced to various forms of contemplative practice.

Back at home in Victoria, despite meditating on my own, I was still not getting along with my neighbour. Her Siamese cat often beat up my Tabby. She was clearly “a flake,” and as a counsellor and Buddhist, she told me nothing could be done to deal with her bully of an animal. I let her know I was a meditator. Sensing my anger, she told me about the Tuesday night sits at the UVic Chapel. I should try it, I thought.

I liked the chapel. I had been to a memorial there recently. At the service, a Buddhist monk named Eshu wore robes and led us in chanting. It made no sense whatsoever, but this miraculous process created an opening in my body and mind. At the reception afterwards, I was relaxed. I enjoyed myself.

So, soon after, on a dark and stormy night, I went to a Tuesday night sit. There I met Doshu, Soshin, Seishin, and Kozan, along with many other mentors and guides. I experienced the fierce presence of Eshu. It felt like water sprinkled on my parched and angry earth. I signed up for the orientation course, and my life partner and husband joined me, the first of many surprises along the way.

What in terms of life challenges, brought me to the practice of meditation?

I was tired and needed to change long entrenched habits of pushing through, despite the “obstacles.” One such “obstacle” was my body. I was in physical pain much of the time—back pain, pelvic pain, headaches . . . you name it, I had it. After each orientation session at the Zendo with Eshu, I immediately fell into a deep and magical sleep. When I awoke, I felt somehow different.

Why do I continue?

Most of the forces in my life push me to stay the same. The Sangha brings me into a community of practitioners who understand transformation.

What do I find, at this time, is my greatest challenge in walking the way?

Opening up to what arises in the present moment. I don’t have a picture of what lies ahead.

One bit of practical advice?

My first piano teacher said, “Don’t ever stop playing.” The same goes for Zazen.

In three words, what do Buddha, Dharma and Sangha mean to me?

Not being alone.

Savouring Reverend Meiten McGuire’s Reflections on the Path – Zen Training in Everyday Life

by Elder Hōyū Boulter

Recently Reverend Soshin loaned me Reverend Meiten McGuire’s Reflections on the Path – Zen Training in Everyday Life. I resisted the urge, as is my usual habit pattern, to devour this book as quickly as possible. However, after a week, I realized if I were to savour each chapter slowly, I would need to, for the time being, own it. Luckily, I found a used copy at Russell Books.

So this is not a review of Reflections on the Path; it is simply a reflection of the practice of restraint and letting the wise words marinate. Reverend McGuire holds a mirror which reflects with clarity and simplicity thoughts, stories and aphorisms. However, please do not think this a simple read. Yes, the communication and language is easy to grasp on the surface. Over and over again she points to that still place beneath choppy waters and the daily turmoil of desire and aversion. This is the “not knowing.” I immerse myself into this, I bob up spluttering, I dive deep. So it goes.

Let me leave you with this quote from the chapter curiously titled, “Humpty Dumpty Had a Great Fall”:

When moving into the unknown, we have to be willing to let go of what we think we know—our beliefs, convictions, old ways. Though he lies shattered on the ground, this much Humpty Dumpty can do, and it is the most important action he can take. For many of us it is only when we have had a great fall that we find the humility to take this vital step of asking for help.

Mary Was an Also

by Elder Hōyū Boulter

Mary was an also.

R.B. was the man.
Who knows love’s courting days?
Or if Mary’s bliss was R.B.’s?
Or what of the family ways?

We know the year of birth’s first gasp.
And the year breath slipped away.
But the dash in between tells us nothing of their days.

Someone knew. Did someone care?
For when they buried Mary also
Did they think her life less than
R.B. who was the man?

Write On!

You are encouraged to share a poem, haiku, meditative moment, book review or a photo in our monthly Zenwest e-newsletter. Send your submissions to by the 20th of each month. Those wishing to be assigned small reporting duties of sangha events can connect with Hōyū at Together, “We Make Zen Come Alive!”

Woodfest IV
Kyoku Sean Holland would like to invite Zenwest members and associates to attend this event on Salt Spring Island. Hey, in between dancing to bands, there are some lovely woods to sit in! The only restriction is please don’t bring your dog. Other than that, it’s pretty free. Contact me at

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