The Missouri Zen Center

April-May, 2009

The Missouri Zen Center
220 Spring Avenue
Webster Groves, MO 63119
(314) 961-6138

Coming Events

Rosan Returns To St. Louis

Our teacher and abbot, Dr. Rosan Yoshida, has retired from Toyo University in Japan. He will return to St. Louis on April 1 and will remain here. We look forward to his continued presence with us!

We are planning a gathering to celebrate Rosan’s retirement and return to St. Louis. The date and the activites for the gathering will be set in consultation with Rosan, once he returns. Please watch for postings at the Zen Center and on the Zen Center’s listserv and website for more information. You can also contact the Zen Center in early April to request information on the gathering or to submit a suggestion for activities to take place at the gathering.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Zen Center always has need of volunteers for various short and long term projects. Those projects change from time to time. For a list of current projects and the work needed for them, please contact John Hale at the Zen Center. We will also

discuss these at the April 4 sangha meeting; please join us for an excellent vegetarian lunch and to learn more about how you can contribute your energy and talents to the Zen Center’s work to awaken all beings. Thanks to everyone for past, present, and future help with projects!

Board Members For 2009

At the Annual Meeting on February 21, those present elected three members to the MZC Board of Directors. John Hale (Vice President) was re-elected to the Board. Suzanne Reinhold (Treasurer) and Brittany Lueken (Secretary) were elected to the Board. The other members of the Board are Kuryo (President) and Rosan. Gary Byrd, Ryushin, and Mitsudo have resigned from the Board due to conflicts between their ability to serve on the Board and their other commitments. We regret their departure but look forward to continuing to practice with them.

New Zazen Times

On Wednesday mornings, a zazen period beginning at 6:50 a.m. has been added to the weekly schedule, for those who may not

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be able to make it for the 6:00 a.m. weekday sits. This new zazen time may also be of interest to those who would like to have an extended practice period during their workweek. The new Wednesday morning schedule is 6:00 a.m. - zazen, 6:40 a.m. - kinhin, 6:50 a.m. - zazen, 7:30 a.m. - service, 7:40 a.m. - end. Join us at the beginning of any of the scheduled segments of practice.

The Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 11:00 a.m. zazen continues to be an alternative to evening and early morning zazen. Recently, a lunch break zazen period has been added. This new zazen period is taking place on Thursday afternoons, 12:15-12:55 p.m.

The new zazen times have been added to the MZC website schedule. The changes are not yet being added to our brochures. If the new sittings are well attended, they will be added to brochures.

Sangha Meeting, April 4

On Saturday, April 4, we will hold a sangha-wide meeting to keep everyone informed about what is happening at the Zen Center and to hear from the sangha about their ideas and concerns. We’ll combine the meeting with a vegetarian potluck lunch. The meeting and lunch will begin following the conclusion of the family sitting and discussion period, around 11 a.m. Please join us for lunch and a conversation on what we are doing and how we can do it better.

Buddhist Study Group Begins Again April 9

The Missouri Zen Center’s Buddhist Texts Study Group will begin meeting again on Thursday, April 9, from 7:50 - 9:00 p.m. The group will begin by studying The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha and when we are ready (perhaps three to four months), we will complement our studies with other Buddhist texts as well. In considering how our group might study The Middle Length Discourses, the idea of doing an exegesis appealed to most of us. In a fundamentalist way, this would be done from the Pali, word for word, and since our teacher, Rev. Rosan Daido, is a Pali scholar, we find the idea of asking him to translate some passages to be an exciting avenue to pursue. Another approach would be to work directly from the Nanamoli/Bodhi translation we have. We would ask Rosan for a brief explanation of the content of a given paragraph, then read the first sentence and take it apart: what does this phrase mean, what does that word imply for your practice, how does this understanding differ from an Abrahamic religious understanding of the topic under discussion, etc. Maybe discussing paragraphs and their related structure is all our group will be able to handle, maybe paragraphs and a few sentences, maybe sentences and important words. When communicating with Carl Jerome about these sutras, he commented that right view alone could take a lifetime to study. This is very dense material we’re looking at.

We will be inviting Rosan to join our study group to guide us, and we suspect that he will. We’re looking forward to beginning the group and hope you can join us too either regularly or on occasion.

About The Middle Length Discourses: “This collection is the second of the Buddha’s discourses found in the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon. Containing some of the most profound discourses in the Canon, it covers a wide range of the Buddha’s radical insights into the nature of existence.” - From Sharda Rogell’s preface to the study guide, Pressing Out Pure Honey: A Companion for The Majjhima Nikaya (The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha). The study guide can be downloaded for free from the Internet:

The Missouri Zen Center has one copy of The Middle Length

Discourses of the Buddha available in the library for checking out to MZC members and one copy for in-the-library use only. In addition, we have a few copies available for purchase. To order a copy, please contact the Zen Center.


Board Meeting, May 3

The next meeting of the MZC Board of Directors will take place at MZC on Sunday, May 3 following the teisho and samu (beginning about 10 a.m.). All are welcome to attend.

Movie Nights, April 17 & 24

Two consecutive Fridays - April 17th & 24th
Shtetl, part one - Friday, April 17th, 8:00 - 9:30 p.m.
  (following zazen 7:00-7:40)
Shtetl, part two - Friday, April 24th, 8:00 - 9:30 p.m.
   (following zazen 7:00-7:40)

The next MZC Movie Night will take place on Friday, April 24 at 8:00 p.m., following the 7:00 p.m. zazen. We will be watching Frontline’s broadcast of “Shtetl,” a documentary produced by Marian Marzynski. Please bring snacks to share if you’d like.

From Frontline: This documentary investigates the circumstances surrounding a shtetl in Poland, whose inhabitants suffered the same fate as most Jewish people in Poland, during Germany’s invasion of the country in 1939. Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939 was a death knell for many Polish people, but especially for the Jews. Of the approximately 3.25 million Jews living in Poland, less than 300,000 would survive. Today, the Jewish population in Poland numbers less than three thousand. Issues of power, inclusion, and exclusion have been played out continually throughout the history of Poland. We can all learn from looking at this country, its people, and the plight of the Jews who lived there. Polish shtetls were those villages and small towns that dotted the Polish landscape and that were sometimes partly, sometimes preponderantly, Jewish.

The Movie Night movie and date for May are as of yet not decided. If you’d like to suggest a movie and date for May or if you’d like more info about the April movie night please call or email the Zen Center.

Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo at MZC, May 15

Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Associate Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego, will give a talk at Missouri Zen Center on Friday, May 15, from 7:45 - 9:00 p.m. following the 7:00 p.m. zazen. Ven. Lekshe asks us to offer suggestions for a topic for her talk. To submit a topic for Ven. Lekshe’s talk, call (314) 961-6138 or e-mail You can pick from a list of topics she has suggested or suggest a topic of interest other than those listed.

Ven. Lekshe will also be the guest speaker for Vesak Day on May 17. See the article on Vesak Day for Ven. Lekshe’s biography.

Preparation for Vesak Day, May 16

The Buddhist Council of Greater St. Louis, of which the Zen Center is a member, needs help setting up tents, tables, and chairs at Fo Gaung Shan for Vesak Day. A workday will take place on Saturday, May 16, at Fo Guang Shan from 10:00 a.m. until about 2:00 p.m. Lunch, provided by Fo Guang Shan, will be served at 12:00 p.m. followed by a talk by Ven. Lekshe, the Vesak Day guest speaker. The workday is a good chance to meet people from other Buddhist communities and is an important part of putting this event together. 
Please email or call the Zen Center to let us know if you will be able to help and for more info. We’d like to get a count of those who will attend the workday.

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Vesak Day, May 17

Vesak Day, which commemorates the birth, awakening, and death of the Buddha, traditionally takes place on the fifth full moon of the year. The 2009 Vesak Day celebration in St. Louis, sponsored annually by the Buddhist Council of Greater St. Louis, will take place on Sunday, May 17 from 9:30 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. on the peaceful ground of Fo Guang Shan St. Louis Buddhist Center at 3109 Smiley Road in Bridgeton. The celebration is free and open to the public.

This year’s Guest Speaker is Ven. Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Associate Professor, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego. Karma Lekshe Tsomo’s doctoral research focused on death and identity in China and Tibet. Her primary academic interests include women in Buddhism, Buddhism and bioethics, religion and cultural change, and Buddhism in the United States. In addition to her academic work, she is actively involved in interfaith dialogue and in grassroots initiatives for the empowerment of women. She is president of Sakyadhita: International Association of Buddhist Women ( and director of Jamyang Foundation (, an initiative to provide educational opportunities for women in the Indian Himalayas and Bangladesh.

The schedule for Vesak Day is as follows.

9:00 a.m.   Arrival and parking
9:30 - 9:45 a.m.  Opening Ceremony, led by the Monastics
9:45 - 10:30 a.m.  Bathing Buddha Rite, led by the Monastics
10:30 – 11:45 a.m.  Guided Meditation and Dharma Talk by Ven. Sungak Sunim, Abbot of the Buddhanara Monastery (Children’s programs at the lower level: origami, painting)
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Vegetarian Lunch & Entertainment. Music by John Goldstein et al; Joe & Kim, the Jugglers, will perform
1:00 – 1:20 p.m.  Walking Meditation
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.  Dharma Talk on “Buddhism vs. Consumerism” with Q & A, by Guest Speaker Karma Lekshe Tsomo, Associate Professor, Dept. of Theology & Religious Studies, Univ. of San Diego
3:00 p.m.  Dedication of Merit & Closing Ceremony, led by Ven. Miao Han, Director, Fo Guang Shan St. Louis Buddhist Center

Directions: From I-270, head east on Dorsett Road. Turn left at Millwell Dr. (0.6 miles). Turn right at Midland Ave. (0.4 miles). Turn left at Smiley Road (0.4 miles), and stay on Smiley Road (0.3 miles). Fo Guang Shan St. Louis Buddhist Center, 3109 Smiley Rd, Bridgeton, MO 63044 will be on the left. See the Fo Gaung Shan St. Louis Buddhist Center Website at:

For more information contact Don Sloane, 314-576-4900, e-mail

Grow Your Own Veggies:
A Month-by-month Guide

by Kuryo

With the current economic and environmental challenges in mind, more people are interested in growing more of the vegetables they eat. For the benefit of those of you who want to grow vegetables but have not done so before, this column will, for the next year, focus on what to grow and when to grow it. If you can

keep houseplants or garden plants alive, you can grow vegetables using what you already know along with the information I will include in these columns. Although I won’t include information on garden preparation, I will include good references which have information on garden preparation. During the winter months, I’ll focus on seeds: from whom to purchase and how to start them in order to have plants ready for your garden at the right time.

If you are converting a currently existing garden space to vegetables, you need only cultivate and add some compost and maybe some rock powders or seedmeal for fertilization. If you are converting a bit of lawn into your veggie garden, you’ll need to remove the sod layer first. Then you’ll need to dig the garden by hand or rent a tiller. These steps are the most strenuous part of gardening. The book Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times, by Steve Solomon, includes detailed instructions on digging and fertilizing a new garden that I have found helpful. For a new gardener with a small garden the best single source of information on preparing, planting, and maintaining the garden is All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space, by Mel Bartholomew. The spacing information I have given for each plant is what I use and will in most cases be the same as in Square Foot Gardening.

You can buy seeds in many grocery, hardware, or garden stores, or you can buy seedlings from nurseries or garden departments of larger stores. The Bell Community Garden, 3871 Bell Ave., 63108 in St. Louis, offers seedlings for sale on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. till noon. The cost is $1 for a 4-pack, and your purchase will benefit Gateway Greening’s community garden programs. For a beginning gardener, the particular variety isn’t as important as just getting whatever is available and learning how to grow it. As you learn how to grow food, you can learn more about variety characteristics and choose the ones that offer what you want.

It’s important to plant vegetables when conditions match their growing needs. Here is what to plant in April and May in the St. Louis region.

April: lettuce, greens, turnips, beets, potatoes, onion sets

Greens: includes cabbage, kale, collards, mustard greens, bok choy, and chard. Grow from seeds or from purchased seedlings. Start seeds right after you finish preparing the garden (end of April at the latest). I suggest waiting to plant purchased seedlings till mid April, in case we have a stretch of very cold weather early in April. These plants can stand lows in the 20s. Chard and collards can produce well from late May through summer and fall, but the others will need to be harvested in June (kale, mustard greens, bok choy) or July (cabbage), before they put up a flower stalk (bolt). They can be planted one to a 1' square (large cabbage varieties should be planted one to a 2' x 2' square)

Lettuce: you can begin from seeds (throughout April) or seedlings (plant in the garden mid to late April). They can survive lows in the mid to upper 20s. Harvest will occur from mid-May through mid-June; after that, lettuce will bolt from the heat. Small lettuces can be planted 4 to a 1' square; larger ones are better at 1 to a 1' square.

Turnips and beets: plant seeds sometime in April; earlier is better. Square Foot Gardening suggests planting 9 to a 1' square, but 4 to a 1' square might be easier to manage for new gardeners. They will be ready in late June through mid July.

Potatoes: these are grown from purchased “seed” potatoes that you plant instead of eat. Plant those that are the size of small eggs whole; cut the larger ones into pieces that are roughly egg-sized and contain 2 or 3 “eyes” (in seed potatoes, these look like dimples rather than the larger sprouts we call eyes). Many nurseries

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Live an Uncaught Life

By Rosan Daido

We are caught by our own fabrications (object/subject, other/self, etc.), creating alienation and antagonism. Zazen ceases them and conduces to unconditioned peace (nirvana) and unattached prognosis (bodhi): the Awakened Way.

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carry seed potatoes in late March through mid-April. They need to be planted by the end of April at the latest (earlier is better) because they need to grow during cooler spring and early summer weather. Plant them one piece to a 1' square, a few inches deep. After the aboveground plant dies (usually in late June or July), dig out the potatoes.

Onion sets: the same nurseries that carry seed potatoes also carry onion sets. These look like very small bulb onions; you can find yellow, red, or white sets. Plant them in April, as early as possible. They need cool weather to grow the greens that feed the bulb, and then the warmer weather of early summer to make the bulb grow large. After the green part dies, harvest the bulb for full-sized onions (July) or, for green onions, harvest as soon as the green part gets large enough to make it worth your while. For green onions, you could plant 16 to a 1' square; for bulbs, 9 to a 1' square.

May: beans, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, summer and winter squashes

Beans: choose from “bush” beans (plants grow about 2' tall or so and don’t need support) or “pole” beans (vines that grow several feet long and need a support of some sort). Plant the seeds anytime in May. Plant bush beans either 4 or 9 to a 1' square. Pole beans can be planted about 4-6" apart along the perimeter of the support structure. Bush beans will start bearing in June but bear for less than a month so you need to plant more every 3 weeks through July. Pole beans are planted just once and may not bear until August, but they will bear until the first frost in fall.

Peppers: plant seedlings 1 to a 1' square in mid to late May and either tie them to a stake or use a tomato cage to support them. Otherwise the branches or the whole plant tend to break when it is heavy with peppers. Harvest can begin in late June if you eat them unripe (green peppers are unripe), usually not till July or August if you let them ripen to their final color. They will produce until frost.

Tomatoes: choose from “determinate” varieties (grow to a certain size and then stop) or “indeterminate” varieties (continue growing until frost kills them). Plant seedlings anytime in May. You can let determinate types sprawl on the ground, but they take a lot of space, a 4' x 4' square. Better to use some kind of support, like a stake or cage, and allot enough room for the support. Indeterminate varieties need to be grown on a tall stake or in a tall and very sturdy cage. If you stake and prune them, you can grow 1 to a 1' square. A sturdy tomato cage is usually closer to 2’ in diameter (use one to a 2' x 2' square). Depending on the variety and when you plant, you might get your first tomato as early as late June or as late as August. They will produce until frost.

Zucchini, summer and winter squashes, pumpkins: grow from seeds planted in May or purchase seedlings and plant in early May. Choose bush varieties; each plant will need a 3' x 3' square. Zucchinis and summer squash will be ready to harvest in July. Winter squashes will be harvested anytime from late August through October.

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Regular Zendo Schedule


6:20-7:00 am Zazen
7:00-7:20 am Service (sutras)
7:20-8:00 am Zazen
8:00-8:10 am Kinhin
8:10-8:30 am Zazen
8:30-11:00 am Talk/discussion, work period, tea

You are welcome to come throughout the morning, but please do not enter the zendo during zazen. Enter quietly at other times.


6:00-6:40 am Zazen
11:00-11:40 am Zazen
 Beginner's Night*
6:30-7:00 pm Instruction
7:00-7:20 pm Zazen
7:20-8:00 pm Discussion/Q&A


6:00-6:40 am Zazen
11:00-11:40 am Zazen
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen
7:40-9:00 pm Tea/discussion


6:00-6:40 am Zazen
6:40-6:50 am Kinhin
6:50-7:30 am Zazen
11:00-11:40 am Zazen
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen


6:00-6:40 am Zazen
12:15-12:55 pm Zazen
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen
7:50-9:00 pm Buddhist Text Study Group (call for details)


6:00-6:40 am Zazen
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen


8:00-8:40 am Zazen
10:00-10:20 am Family Sitting
10:20-11:00 am Children’s activities

Work periods may be scheduled following zazen.

* Anyone bringing a class to the Monday Beginners Night, or wishing to bring a class at any other time to the Zen Center, should contact the Zen Center well in advance.


April-May, 2009

A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center