The Missouri Zen Center
The Missouri Zen Center
220 Spring Avenue
Webster Groves, MO 63119
Rosan Returns July 23
Please welcome our teacher Rosan when he returns to St. Louis on July 23. We wish him a safe journey and look forward to sitting with him again. He will remain in St. Louis through September 17.
While we await his return, please sit in perfect peace with the sangha during the regular sitting periods and during the sesshin to take place on June 22-23, when Daigaku Rummé will join us. See the article elsewhere in the newsletter. We have another sesshin scheduled for August 3-4, when Rosan is here.
Food Outreach Donations Continue
The Zen Center will continue to accept donations for Food Outreach during June and July. Food Outreach is the only St. Louis area organization focused exclusively on providing nutritional support to men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS. For more info on Food Outreach, visit their website, www.foodoutreach.org.
Nonperishable food items can be placed in the Food Outreach barrel located on the front porch of the Zen Center anytime, since the front porch is always accessible. Among other items Food Outreach can use are canned tuna and other canned meats and fish and canned vegetables and fruits.
Movie Nights June 9 and July 7
The Zen Center will hold Movie Nights on two Saturday evenings, June 9 and July 7, beginning at 6 p.m. with a dinner, followed by the movie and an informal discussion.
Our movie for June 9 will be Fast Food Nation, directed by Richard Linklater. Fast Food Nation is a fictionalized thriller inspired by Eric Schlosser’s best-selling nonfiction expose of junk food companies. The story of fast food is the story of postwar America. Though created by a handful of mavericks, the fast food industry has triggered the homogenization of our society. Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic
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of obesity, and propelled the juggernaut of American cultural imperialism abroad. Schlosser’s myth-shattering survey stretches from the California subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many of the fast food’s flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths—from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate.
Dinner (6:00-7:00 p.m., movie following directly) will be prepared from all locally produced food and will include Oatmeal Shiso Bake and mixed green salad. John Hale will prepare the dinner.
The movie for July 7 will be The Red Violin, directed by Francois Girard. The plot centers around a violin created in 17th century Italy. The violin travels through four countries over a three hundred year period and affects people along the way. It explores the human tendency to cling and the skill of letting go, especially in relationship to compelling beauty.
Dinner (6:00-7:00 p.m., movie following directly) will be prepared by Brittany Lueken and will consist of Pesto Pasta, including basil from Brittany’s garden, and salad.
Dinner is optional. Please call or email by Friday, June 8 or Thursday, July 5, respectively, if you’d like to join us for one of the dinners so John and Brittany will know how much food to prepare. (A $5 donation is asked for those eating dinner. Proceeds will go to the Zen Center.)
For dinner reservations call (314) 961-6138 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sesshin with Daigaku Rummé
We’re happy to welcome Soto Zen monk Daigaku Rummé to the Missouri Zen Center for a sesshin on June 22, 23, and 24. Daigaku will give a two-part dharma talk on Dogen Zenji’s Fukanzazenji (A Universal Recommendation for True Zazen). Part One will be given on Saturday, June 23, from 2:40-4:00 p.m. Part Two will be given on Sunday, June 24, from 8:30-10:00 a.m.
Daigaku Rummé was ordained as a Soto monk by Harada Sekkei Roshi in 1978. For more than twenty-seven years, he practiced under Harada Roshi at Hosshinji Monastery in Fukui, Japan. Since March 2003, he has been on the staff of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center located in San Francisco. He resides at the San Francisco Zen Center and is the translator of The Essence of Zen by Harada Roshi, which will be republished in 2007 by Wisdom Publications.Daigaku Rummé will join us for the full sesshin. The schedule for this sesshin is as follows.
If you’d like to join us for all or part of the sesshin please register in advance by calling (314) 961-6138 or by e-mail to: email@example.com. To register give your name and a way you can be contacted. In this way we can
Dokusan is a private interview with a teacher, in which you may receive advice regarding issues usually having to do with some area of your practice or to ask further questions relating to Zen or more general questions about life. This opportunity to meet with Daigaku will be done by signing up. More info will be provided to sesshin attendees.
Family sitting will take place at the usual time of 10:00-11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 23.
If you’d like to become more involved in making the sesshin happen, we are looking for volunteers to help out prior to the sesshin with cleaning, organizing sutra books, and so forth. During the sesshin, we need a Tenzo (cook) for the morning
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oriyoki, Tenzo assistants, oriyoki servers, dokusan assistant, samu leader, and other work. No experience is required, training will be provided.
Oriyoki participation is optional. If you’d prefer to eat informally, you may eat mindfully on the patio during the meal times. We do encourage you to join us for the oriyoki meal. There are many details involved with oriyoki but those who have never tried it are encouraged to participate. The details will not keep you from getting something out of the practice and we will not be stopping to check to see if you’re getting every detail. The details are to help you with developing mindfulness, not as a way for you to be graded by others. As in life we practice with whatever we have available to work with in this moment. It’s an adventure! We’ll have more experienced practitioners mixed in with the newcomers, so you will be able to follow your neighbor. We encourage you to come for oryoki instruction, which will be available for those who’d like to deepen their understanding of this practice opportunity. Please contact us for more info.
Dana (donations) will be accepted as a way a defraying sesshin costs and to help Daigaku with the expense of his travels in spreading the dharma. A $10 donation is suggested, although everyone is welcome regardless of how much you can afford.
Rosan at Ethical Society on July 29
Our teacher, Rev. Rosan Daido, will offer the platform talk on Zen and Global Ethics at the Ethical Society of St. Louis on Sunday, July 29. The Ethical Society of St. Louis is located at 9001 Clayton Road, 63117 (a little west of the Galleria). The Ethical Society’s program begins at 11 a.m. and ends at noon. It is free and open to the public. Rosan will speak for approximately 30 minutes in conjunction with music and announcements. At 12:00 p.m. a coffee hour will take place, at which time you are encouraged to stay, enjoy refreshments and talk with Rosan. For more info about The Ethical Society, visit their web site: www.ethicalstl.org or call (314) 991-1020 ext. 242.
This will be an excellent opportunity for members of the public to learn more about Zen practice. Please pass on this info to anyone you know who might be interested.
We will follow our usual Sunday schedule on that day, with Rosan leaving from tea and discussion in time to get to the Ethical Society.
Sesshin August 3-4
The Zen Center will hold a sesshin beginning on Friday evening, August 3, and continuing all day on Saturday, August 4. The normal Sunday schedule will be followed on Sunday, August 5. Rosan will be in town for this sesshin. The sesshin schedule is not yet formalized except that it will begin on Friday evening with zazen starting at 7 p.m. An oriyoki lunch will be held on Saturday. Schedule details will be posted to the Zen Center listserv and at the Zen Center when they are developed. Please join us for this extended sitting with our teacher Rosan. Because he will be leaving town earlier than usual this fall, we may not be able to hold another sesshin while he is here.
Great Sky Sesshin, Aug. 11-18
The Great Sky Sesshin, an annual Soto Zen style sesshin, draws together teachers and practitioners from around the Midwest for seven days of deepening understanding of the dharma under the extraordinary big sky of Hokyoji. The daily schedule will consist of zazen, dharma talks, services, dokusan, meals with oriyoki, tea breaks, and work. Teachers will be Dokai Georgesen (Hokyoji), Tonen O’Connor (Milwaukee Zen Center), Zuiko Redding (Cedar Rapids Zen Center), Genmyo Smith (Prairie Zen Center, Champaign-Urbana, IL), and Rosan. The sesshin is limited to 24 participants. Cost is $250 or $285. The registration deadline is July 1.
For more information or to register, visit www.milwaukeezencenter.org or contact:
Volunteers Needed Labor Day Weekend!
The Zen Center’s biggest fundraising event will occur over the Labor Day weekend, September 1-3, when we run a food booth at the Japanese Festival, taking place at the Missouri Botanical Garden. We continue to be offered the opportunity to run a food booth because of the high quality of the food we make each year. We are very grateful to the Missouri Botanical Garden for making the booth available to us and to our sangha and friends for volunteering their time for all the different tasks involved in running a successful food booth. Rosan will be offering talks on Zen practice at the Japanese Festival as he does every year.
For many people in our sangha our presence at the Japanese Festival has been their introduction to the practice of Zen or to the Zen Center as a place to practice. Thus this event is both a crucial fundraiser helping to keep the Zen Center in operation and an outreach opportunity to inform the wider community about our practice and invite them to join us.
It takes many volunteers to allow our food booth to run safely and in an enjoyable manner for all involved while producing high quality food for our customers. Please plan to spend a few hours working at our booth on one or more days during the Festival. More details on how to participate will be forthcoming in the next issue of Sangha Life and on the Zen Center’s listserv. All volunteers will receive a free pass to the Festival and free parking.
Be sure to enjoy the Japanese Festival’s many activities when you are not working at our booth! The Japanese Festival is one of St. Louis’ premier cultural events and is a great way to learn more about Japan and Japanese culture. The sumo wrestling exhibition will return this year. To learn more about the Festival, check the Missouri Botanical Garden’s website, www.mobot.org.
Family Sitting on Saturdays
On Saturday mornings starting at 10 a.m. the Zen Center offers a special sitting open to families with children of any age, from infants on up. Usually the adults sit for about a half hour, with the children engaged in age-appropriate activities and
A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center
From tiny urban yards to huge suburban expanses, from private lots to public parks, from coast to coast and from cold northern states to hot southern states, lawns are a ubiquitous feature of the landscape. All those lawns use land which could otherwise grow food or remain wild, require time and money spent on maintaining them, and create pollution and waste resulting from the care and feeding of them. We may want to consider whether we need or want a lawn, and if so, what to plant and how to care for it in a simple, ethical manner.
While I am not a fan of large lawns, smaller lawns do have their uses. Children often enjoy having a small lawn on which to play games or lie to watch clouds. Adults may like the way a small lawn frames garden areas … and they, too, might enjoy lying on the grass to watch clouds. Rabbits and birds frequent lawns or the edges between lawns and other plantings. For those who want a lawn, the key is learning simple, ethical ways to maintain it. Others want to know what they might have in place of a lawn and how to transition from their current lawn to something more ecologically sound and easy to maintain.
In this and the next few issues of Sangha Life, I will offer suggestions on how to establish and maintain a lawn in ways that seem to me to be compatible with simple living and the Global Ethic. For those of you who, like me, want to reduce or eliminate your lawn, I will offer suggestions for how to do this and ideas on what you might put in to replace it. If any readers have replaced their lawns with something else, I would be interested in knowing what you replaced it with, how you like it (or don’t), and what kind of care and maintenance, if any, it requires. You may contact me through the Zen Center.
Lawn grasses are plants whose function is to rapidly cover bare soil resulting from some kind of disturbance. The grasses grow quickly with lots of sunshine and adequate rainfall. Over the course of several years, the presence of the grasses improves the soil as the grasses die back in the winter, mulching the soil, and as they hold leaves and shelter earthworms and insects. As the soil improves, seeds of taller plants sprout and grow. Eventually, the taller plants create too much shade for the grasses to survive, and they die. In order to maintain lawn grasses over a period of years, the competing plants (“weeds”) need to be removed. Mowing the grass cuts more of the taller, competing plants, weakening them more than it does the grass and thereby favoring the grass, but power mowers also pollute the air as they cut the grass. Since WWII, when herbicides were first manufactured on a large scale, herbicides that kill so-called broadleaf weeds but not lawn grass have been developed and extensively marketed. However, what the weeds don’t absorb soaks into the soil or enters rain runoff, where it may kill other plants or animals or accumulate in the ecosystem. Fertilizers help the lawn grass to grow rapidly and out-compete ’the other plants which grow more slowly. However, much of the fertilizer is not absorbed by the lawn and instead enters rainwater or groundwater. From there it makes its way into area streams, causing overgrowth of algae which uses too much of the oxygen in the stream, killing some of the life in the stream.
The first characteristic of a simple, ethical lawn is that it does not need to be maintained through the use of chemical fertilizers or herbicides. A smaller lawn requires less mowing, reducing fossil fuel use and producing less pollution. Maintaining the lawn with a non-powered reel lawnmower, which uses human energy to cut the lawn, further reduces fuel use and pollution. A simple, ethical lawn needs little if any additional water over normal rainfall to maintain it. Choosing the smallest possible lawn area reduces the resources, time, and money needed to maintain it. You may wish to eliminate the lawn altogether in favor of a groundcover or garden, in which case you need to decide what to grow and how to grow it in the simplest, most ethical way. In the next issue of Sangha Life, we will consider how different grasses measure up to the characteristics of a simple, ethical lawn. In succeeding issues we’ll consider how to establish and maintain a lawn following the characteristics of a simple, ethical lawn and investigate various simple, ethical alternatives to a grassy lawn. This should give you time to ponder your options and be ready by next spring to make any desired changes.
A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center
the adults tending to their needs as required. Some of the older children may sit zazen along with the adults. Following sitting there is time for discussion. Families are welcome to bring toys, books, and other supplies as needed for their children. For those of you who want to sit together as a family or who want to talk with other parents about Zen in the context of family life, this is an ideal time to do it. Adults without children are welcome too; do expect a less than totally silent period of zazen!
The Zen Center is run entirely by volunteers; there is no paid staff. Our teacher Rosan volunteers his time just as the rest of us do. There are always opportunities available for people to help us out on short-term projects or on a continuing basis for a particular activity.
During the summer, our greatest need for volunteers is for yard and garden work and for making zafus and zabutons for sale. Weeding various areas of the garden is an ongoing need, as is mowing the lawn; contact John Hale at the Zen Center if you are interested in helping with these tasks. We may be installing one or more rain gardens and a fence this summer. Needs for these projects will be announced through the Zen Center’s listserv and by posting at the Zen Center.
Every Tuesday evening, volunteers are making zafus and zabutons for sale. Work begins about 5 p.m. and continues until the evening sitting begins. Anyone who is interested in helping out is welcome to show up. We have a particular need for people who are willing to stuff the newly made zafu shells with kapok. Please come and show your “stuff!”As noted elsewhere, we will need many volunteers for our Labor Day weekend fundraiser. As we enter fall, we will need help with raking leaves. Please check the listserv and the Zen Center for more volunteer opportunities, or offer your skills and time to one of our board members. We may need your skills and not even know it!
All members and friends of the sangha are invited to subscribe to the Missouri Zen Center e-mail list. To subscribe, send an e-mail message from the address you wish to use for list messages to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The message field should remain blank.
You will receive a message asking you to confirm your subscription. Follow the directions in that message and your address will then be added to the list. If you encounter difficulties, consult the list owner at this address: email@example.com
Please note: we may lose our current e-mail server at any moment. To help us make the transition if and when we need a new list server, new subscribers should also please send their subscribed e-mail addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regular Zendo Schedule
You are welcome to come throughout the morning, but please do not enter the zendo during zazen. Enter quietly at other times.
6:40-7:30 pm Yoga
Work periods may be scheduled following zazen.
A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center