The Missouri Zen Center

October-November, 2009

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

Coming Events

• Oct. 18: Board and sangha meetings
• Oct. 24: Mindfulness Day
• Oct. 31: one day sitting
• Nov. 14: Inside Dharma art auction fundraiser
• Nov. 28: one day sitting
• Dec. 4-6: Rohatsu sesshin

Board And Sangha Meetings, Oct. 18

On Sunday, October 18 at the Zen Center, the MZC Board of Directors will meet following the teisho and samu (beginning around 10 a.m.). This meeting is expected to focus on financial matters since the Board’s primary responsibility is to ensure that MZC’s funds are spent to further its mission. All are welcome to attend the Board meeting.

Following the Board meeting (beginning around 11 a.m.), we will have a combined potluck lunch and sangha meeting. The sangha meeting is where we come together to share what the Zen Center is doing well, what it can do better, and what we would like to work on as a group. The more people who attend and contribute to the discussion, the better the Zen Center can become! All attendees are requested to bring a vegetarian dish to share. We always have delicious food at our potlucks!

Mindfulness Day, Oct. 24

The 2009 Mindfulness Day event will take place on Saturday, October 24 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at the Carriage Pavilion Gazebo in Tower Grove Park. The event is sponsored by the Buddhist Council of Greater St. Louis, to which

the Zen Center belongs. This year’s event is an afternoon of reflection with representatives from three Buddhist traditions.

Shaaron Benjamin, member of Do Ngak Choling Tibetan Buddhist Center, will begin with “Clearing the Subtle Channels: Pre-Meditation Exercise.”

Next, our teacher and abbot Dr. Rosan Yoshida will speak on “Meditation, Meaning and Merits.”

Finally, Kongsak Tanphaichitr, M.D. from the Thai Buddhist Temple will present “Insight Dynamic Meditation.”

Lura Koch will perform Native American flute music during the event.

To find the pavilion, from Kingshighway take Arsenal east and turn left on Center Cross Drive. Turn right on Main Drive. Old Carriage Pavilion is on the right just before reaching Humboldt Circle.

For more info, visit

Autumn Full Moon Unites All

Rosan tells us that viewing the autumn full moon is a long-standing tradition in Japan. On October 3, Kuryo and Meiku honored the full moon with a

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gathering at their house, to which they invited sangha members. Maku wrote the following poem after the event.

A Poem in Honor of Moon Viewing at the
Abode of Laypersons Kuryo and Meiku

by Maku

Waxing gibbous and waning crescent –
The names of broken pieces of mirror
Clank about inside my head
As we stand around the fire our hosts have built
To boil moon viewing noodles.
Smoke wafts through the garden
And floats up to the cloud-filled sky
As we catch up on the news of each others’ lives,
And occasionally wonder aloud
Whether the moon will show its face on such a night.
During lulls in conversation we sip saki and homemade elderberry wine,
and read the poetry of Ikkyu, Ryokan, and Dogen,
Just in case their words about the moon must take its place.

Wait! Here it comes! Here it comes!
The clouds grow brighter
And then their veil recedes –
Revealing that mirror within which no words reflect.
I pick up the perfect round disk of daikan radish
Garnishing my moon viewing noodles
And turn it into a waxing crescent with one clean bite.
“The moon will actually be full at 1:00,”
Meiku says at midnight,
When the saki and warm conversation
Are no longer enough to keep the evening’s chill at bay.
“Aha!” I say, my understanding now complete.

In response, Garyo, sangha member now living in Austria, wrote the following poem.

Last night
in looking at the bright moon
hanging in the clear, dark sky
over Vienna
my gaze
built a bridge
between the Old
and the New World
overcoming the gap
between time and space.

Thank you
for letting me be part
of the moon viewing party.

Make Food for Fun and Funds!

MZC to sell food at Inside Dharma Art Auction, Nov. 14.

The Zen Center has accepted an invitation to sell food at the Inside Dharma Art Auction from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, November 14. We need volunteers to help us both with making the food for sale, during the afternoon, and to set up, sell, and clean up at the event itself. The event will take place in the school basement at All Saints Church, 6419 Clemens in University City.

Inside Dharma, the organization that has brought Buddhist practice to Missouri’s state prisons, holds a yearly exhibit and silent auction of objects and art created by prison inmates. Inmates donate their work to Inside Dharma to help support Inside Dharma’s work. In return, their work receives a wider audience and appreciation than would otherwise be possible. This year, the event will feature a theatrical production by members of the Prison Performing Arts group, directed by Agnes Wilcox, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Lura Koch will

perform music on the Native American flute during the event.

For more information on the event and on the objects and artwork that will be available for auction, please see

The Zen Center is very pleased to support the auction by offering some of the same foods for sale that we offer at the Japanese Festival. In turn, sales at the event will help to support the Zen Center. This should be a more low-key event than the Japanese Festival since we expect attendance in the 200-300 person range.

At this time, we expect that we will make the food at the Zen Center during the afternoon of November 14, then transport it to All Saints Church and have it ready for sale by the time the event begins at 6 p.m. After the event, we will need to clean up and return all unused food and supplies to the Zen Center. The work will break up into two main segments: the preparation segment and the setup/sales/cleanup segment. We will need volunteers for both segments.

Anyone who plans to volunteer for either or both of food preparation or setup/sales/cleanup, please contact Kuryo at the Zen Center so that we can inform you as timing firms up. We will also post to the listserv and at the Zen Center as details and timing become better known.

Interested In Living More Simply And Sustainably?
Get A Group Together!

by Kuryo

Rosan often reminds us of the three pillars of our practice: the Awakened Way, the global ethic, and voluntary simplicity. As I see it, doing zazen quiets us so that we can perceive the truth of our lives. The global ethic and voluntary simplicity are how we translate what we’ve learned from zazen into lives that benefit all beings. Sometimes it helps to talk with others when we want to make changes in our lives. The Zen Center now has resources available for small groups of people who want to learn how to live more simply and sustainably.

The Northwest Earth Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Portland, Oregon, has as its mission to motivate individuals to take actions to benefit the Earth. Because they wanted to work with adults who are not part of the formal school system, they needed a model for self-education in small groups. They found it in the study circles movement which began in Sweden in the early nineteenth century and which continues in many places today. In study circles, a few people get together on a regular basis for a period of time to learn more about something of interest to them.

The Northwest Earth Institute developed both products and a process for group study by people who want to live in tune with the Earth. The products are the group discussion coursebooks which are described in more detail below. The process allows anyone with an interest in beginning a course to find other interested people, invite them to learn more about the course, and host the first session of the course. Anyone who can read and talk can take part in a course, and anyone with the desire to do so can find people and host a course. The Zen Center hosted a couple of group discussion courses on voluntary simplicity several years ago. Now that the Zen Center has a supply of coursebooks for several different courses on hand, anyone in the sangha may host a course for themselves and others, whether those others are sangha members, neighbors, friends, family members, colleagues at work, and so forth.

Courses usually meet once a week or once every other week. A course will have between 4 to 9 meetings. After the introductory meeting (if there is one), prior to the next meeting each person taking the course reads several pages of material in the coursebook on the following meeting’s topic and reflects on the reading. During the meeting, which may last for an hour or so, group members participate in a discussion of what they read. Questions to get the discussion going are included in the coursebook, as are some ideas to put each week’s learning into practice. Most people who take a course find that the group discussion is the most enjoyable and valuable part of the course. So

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often, we don’t have the opportunity to discuss the serious issues of our lives. The courses offer a safe space in which those discussions can occur. People often find they make changes, small or large, in their lives as a result of what they learn from a course.

You may download the NWEI Course Organizers Guide 2009 from Northwest Earth Institute’s website,; it’s free and available as a pdf file. The guide says an ideal number of people for a course is 8 to 12 people. I think as few as 4 to 6 people with a strong interest in the material would make a good group. If you decide you’d like to start a course after you’ve read the guide, you can purchase coursebooks from the Zen Center’s supply for as long as they last. Cost for each coursebook will be $15 (lower than NWEI charges because most of the books we have are not the most current editions). Each person taking part should purchase a coursebook so he/she can keep up with the reading, but if two people can work out a satisfactory arrangement that allows each to read the week’s material before the discussion takes place, they can share a coursebook. If you’d like to purchase coursebooks, contact Kuryo to make sure we have enough of the coursebooks on hand. She’ll set them aside for you. All purchases benefit the Zen Center and are made payble to the Missouri Zen Center.

The coursebooks we have in stock, and the current number of each that are available, are given below. All of the courses except the course on globalization are still available through NWEI. You can read more about all of them at If the Zen Center runs low on a coursebook you want, you may purchase more through NWEI’s website, which will benefit NWEI’s work. Please make sure everyone in your group has the same edition of a particular coursebook to avoid confusion from not reading the same material.

Voluntary Simplicity, copyright 2005: 18 books
Deep Ecology, copyright 1998: 4 books
Exploring Deep Ecology, copyright 2001: 20 books
Globalization and Its Critics: 18 books
Choices for Sustainable Living, copyright 2000: 76 books
Choices for Sustainable Living, copyright 2005: 7 books
Healthy Children, Healthy Planet: 8 books
Discovering a Sense of Place: 20 books (you also need to purchase the St. Louis local supplement when taking this course; the supplement costs $10 and we have 18 books on hand).

If you’d like to look at a coursebook before deciding, you may look at one in the Zen Center’s library. They will be available as reference material only, not for checkout. NWEI has asked us not to sell the coursebooks individually, because they feel the real benefit from taking each course is in the discussions within the group.

In addition to these coursebooks, we have 18 copies of Earth Score: Your Personal Environmental Audit and Guide available. These are available for whatever small donation you’d like to make. Groups taking the NWEI courses may be interested in the guide as a companion activity. Contact Kuryo for copies.

For those of you who learn better from watching than from reading, the Zen Center’s library has the following VHS tapes available to lend to members on topics like those covered in the discussion courses:

Your Money or Your Life: A Satellite Broadcast, 11/13/2009
Affluenza and Escape From Affluenza (these have viewers guides, and Escape from Affluenza has a Teacher’s Guide available)
The Zen Center also has a DVD called The Ecological Footprint: Accounting for a Small Planet, that is available to members through the MZC library.

Growing Veggies in October and November

By Kuryo

By October in the St. Louis region, the planting focus shifts from seeds to bulbs and tubers. In this issue, we’ll look at some bulbs and tubers to plant

in October or November for good food next year.

Garlic is planted by breaking garlic bulbs into their individual cloves and then planting the cloves just deep enough for the soil to cover them. Don’t remove the skins of the cloves or cut off the ends; they are needed for the clove to germinate. Plant cloves from 4 to 6 inches apart and mulch after planting. If you forget to mulch, frost-heaving and excess rainfall may lead to your cloves rotting over the winter. Plant them anytime in October to early November at the latest. Check Southern Exposure Seed Exchange,, for garlic stock to purchase.

Once you grow a crop of garlic, hold back several of the biggest, healthiest bulbs and use them for the next season’s crop. I’ve grown all the garlic Meiku and I can use for the last several years without needing to purchase any more bulbs for seed.

There are two different types of perennial (overwintering) onions that you can plant in October for onions next spring and summer. One type, called variously walking, topsetting, or Egyptian onions, can be used as green onions in the spring if you harvest them before the stalk supporting the topsets grows. Or you can allow the topsets to grow and harvest them for use as pearl onions in the summer. If you leave the topsets to mature, the stalks supporting them will dry up, dumping the topsets on the ground, whence they will root and grow in the fall for eating and to spread your onion patch. The original bulb, meanwhile, will go dormant during the hottest part of summer, then grow new green leaves in early fall and can be used for green onions in the fall. If you want a start of these, contact Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. I expect to have some left over after I plant mine this fall, so you may contact me in late October if you want a handful of topsets to start your own patch. You can plant by separating the bulblets in the topset and planting each individually so they are just covered, or you can toss the whole topset on prepared soil and it will root in place. Mulching is good but not absolutely necessary as these are very hardy and not prone to rotting. Plant anytime in October to early November.

Potato onions are actually a kind of shallot that tastes like the yellow onions you purchase in grocery stores. Plant the bulbs so that the bulbs are almost but not quite buried, about 6 inches apart. Mulch the bulbs after planting, or you risk having them frost-heave and rot during the winter. In late spring and early summer, the smaller bulbs you planted will grow large while the larger ones split into a cluster of bulbs, similar to shallots. After the foliage dies, dig up the clusters and single bulbs, set aside some of the crop for next fall’s planting, and eat the rest, using them as you would any yellow onion. (Plant and harvest shallots in the same way.) You can get a start of potato onions or shallots from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It’s best to plant in October, but an early November planting is acceptable.

Jerusalem artichokes or sunchokes are the edible, tuberous root of a perennial sunflower. After the flowering stalk dies, in late October or November, the tubers can be harvested and eaten, stored, or planted for next year’s crop. Plant the tubers you’ve chosen for next year’s crop about 6 inches deep, 12-18 inches apart, in a garden bed from which you’ve removed the weeds. You can cut a tuber into smaller pieces, as you would a potato, and plant the pieces. You don’t need to fertilize or add compost to the bed to get a good crop of tubers. In fact, you should pick a spot well away from the rest of your veggie garden, one you can mow around on all sides, because these are very vigorous plants which set tubers well away from the main root of the plant. Dig up and eat or plant all tubers in the fall, pull or mow down any plants which show up next spring where you don’t want them, and these become a good source of winter food and compost material. You can keep dug-up tubers in a refrigerator, root cellar, or other cold storage location for winter eating. I am likely to have some tubers to share with anyone who wants to start a patch; contact me around the beginning of November to check.

A good garden design will let you spread your work load and your harvest over a whole year, and help you figure out how to fix any problems that may occur. I’ll start discussing garden planning in the next issue of Sangha Life.

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A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center

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How We Can See and Settle in Truth and Peace

By Rosan Daido

The universe has been originated and oriented dependent on causes and conditions in time and space. The Buddha (Awakened One) was awakened to this truth as the law of Dependent Origination (in Buddhism). The Law of Dependent Origination is similar to but broader than the law of Causation (in natural sciences) in application and attitude (holy and wholesome in Buddhism).

This truth is universal and enduring like trees enduring for ten thousand years, illustrating their systemic interactions with water, wind, earth, light, birds, bugs, and their systemic sustenance of flowering, fruiting, pollinating, propagating, and synthesizing, supporting for and with all in space and time. This is verifiable anywhere, anytime by anyone without preconception.

We can witness this truth by stopping prejudices and predispositions. We can sit and stop karmas (physical, verbal, and mental; volitional, emotional, and conceptual; present and past). As a bowl settles, water in it settles without turbulence and turbidity, reflecting the world. As the body settles, the mind settles, becoming calm and clear, reflecting reality as it is.

The Buddha witnessed perception/consciousness originating upon contact of the sense organs and objects, and feeling, ideation, and will following (Consciousness Dependent Origination = D.O.). Or rather, pure perception is discriminated into organ and object, subject and object, consciousness and world. Both can be defiled or purified.

From discrimination/delusion come attachment and aversion, craving and cursing. The Buddha found that suffering (duk-kha: wrong-going) originates from thirst/craving (tanha) as want is desire and dissatisfaction (Craving D.O.) at the same time. If there is no craving, there is no suffering, as wrong-going originates from craving. Going well (su-kha) with the truth is peace/pleasure.

The Buddha discovered that the fundamental delusion (of self-identification or appropriation of body/mind) is the source of samsara (flow: fleeting: birth/aging/death) (Delusion D.O.) as involvement in concomitant impermanence. The stereotyped 12-fold D.O. is the synthesis of these three D.O. processes, showing conventional life as samsara suffering.*

The simplest expression of D.O. is “sa-hetu dhamma” (with-cause dharma) and the original form seems to be “When this is, that is: When this is not, that is not.” As observable here, Dependent Origination connotes Dependent Cessation. Anything originated ceases without causes/conditions. The three poisons or suffering can cease.

Delusion and desire come from selfishness against the selfless world of D.O. (related and relative). Selfishness (separation/sinfulness) dissolves in holiness (wholeness/whole- someness). Awakening in and an aspiration for holiness allows us to attain freedom and joy in truth, beauty, goodness, and peace. As a bubble is part and parcel of the ocean, so is the “self” of all.

When we sit and stop karma, we can settle in truth and peace like trees, without craving, hatred, and delusion. The culmination of cultivation and verification is the unsurpassed right complete awakening (anuttara smyak sambodhi) and unconditioned peace (nibbana, nirvana, lit. no-wind, no-storm). Anyone can attain them, and they are good for all at all times.

*Note: “Conventional life as samsara suffering” means our conventional life is suffering in (due to) samsara (fleeting, impermanence) or impermanence suffering. As the schematic diagram I illustrated in my book No Self depicts, the whole process ends up with suffering, though it includes samsara (lower portion) [and perception (top portion) and action/appropriation (middle portion)]. I thought that suffering is essentially in samsara (impermanence of aging, dying, parting, losing), thus inseparable from it.

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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
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
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.


October-November, 2009

A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center