The Missouri Zen Center

November 2011-January 2012

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

Coming Events

• Nov. 6: Mindfulness Day
• Dec. 2-4: Rohatsu sesshin
• Dec. 4: Jukai ceremony
• Jan. 8: Board/sangha meeting
• Jan. 29: One-day sit
• Feb. 26: One-day sit
• Mar. 4: Annual Meeting and Board election
• Mar. 23-25: Spring equinox sesshin

Japanese Festival Effort Succeeds!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Zen Center’s food preparation and sales effort over Labor Day weekend at the Missouri Botanical Garden! We greatly appreciate the excellent efforts of all our voluteers in all phases of the festival: preparation, work at the festival, and clean-up following the festival.

Very hot weather and a thunderstorm on Saturday held down attendance, and attendance was lighter than usual on Sunday as well. Monday helped to make up for slow sales on the other two days. With two more food booths this year than last, MZC’s share of the market dropped, but we still made a respectable profit thanks to everyone’s work.

Donations to MZC Still Needed

So far donations to MZC are running considerably lower than at the same time last year. We would like to remind everyone who is in a position to contribute financially to MZC to please do so to the extent you are able. Your donations keep the Awakened Way alive in St. Louis. We suggest

a $25/month donation for those who can afford it; we gratefully accept whatever anyone can contribute. If you are in a position to donate more at the end of the year, please know that it will be especially welcome this year, as we have had a large expenditure on the driveway and expect to need to paint the outside walls and replace the boiler before too long.

Enjoy Our New Driveway!

Zen Center is collarborating with our neighbor to the north to replace our common driveway. The new concrete driveway should be maintenance-free for many years and will not add any contaminants to rains draining off it as asphalt driveways do. Once the new driveway is completed, you may park on MZC’s side of the driveway and use the neighbor’s side to pass other vehicles on the way into or out of our side.

Mindfulness Day, Nov. 6

uddhist Council of Greater St. Louis, to which the Zen Center belongs, hosts its annual mindfulness colloquium on Sunday, Nov. 6 within the Pulitzer’s art exhibition Reflections of the Buddha, creating

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Sangha Life

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conversation around mindfulness in art and the art of mindfulness. The colloquium concludes with a mindfulness meditation. The event is free and open to the public. Please see the flier on Page 3 for more details. Feel free to copy and post the flier.

Rohatsu Sesshin and Lay Ordination

Zen monasteries commemorate Buddha’s awakening by holding a weeklong sesshin ending on Dec. 8, Rohatsu, the day Buddha awakened according to Zen tradition. MZC will hold our version of the Rohatsu sesshin beginning on Friday evening, Dec. 2, and ending with the regular Sunday morning schedule through the teisho on Dec. 4. More info on the sesshin schedule will be posted to the e-list and on our web site as the sesshin approaches.

Following the teisho on Dec. 4, we’ll prepare for lay ordination, which will take place beginning about 11 a.m. One person will be taking lay ordination this year. Please join us to support Bob as he accepts the precepts. We’ll enjoy a potluck vegetarian lunch following the end of the ceremony (bring a dish to share).

Annual Meeting and Board election, Mar. 4

Please plan to attend MZC’s Annual Meeting, to be held on Sunday, March 4, 2012 following family sitting. We’ll enjoy a potluck lunch during the meeting. Please bring a vegetarian dish to share.

The Annual Meeting is the one meeting each year that the Zen Center must conduct, according to our bylaws. The primary purpose of the meeting is to elect new members to our Board of Directors. We can conduct any other business of our choice during this meeting as well. The newly elected Board will also meet briefly to choose officers at this time (the one meeting of the year that the Board must hold according to our bylaws).

More info on this meeting, as well as on the Board election and on how to nominate people for membership on the Board, will be included in the February-April issue.

Inside Dharma Volunteers Needed

Kenneth Jones tells me that the Inside Dharma volunteer who was leading the group at Bonne Terre has had to cut back on visits. The Buddhist group at Bonne Terre, to which he belongs, hopes for a new volunteer to lead the group. If you are considering the possibility of bringing the Dharma to a prison setting, please contact Inside Dharma,, to learn more about becoming a Volunteer in Corrections.

Simple Living, Complex Actions

By Kuryo

As I write, Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing phenomenom. We have an Occupy St. Louis group locally. Perhaps some of you have taken part in it. Perhaps, like me, you haven’t. I’d like to discuss a way you can support collective change in desirable directions by changing your own life in the direction you’d like to see society as a whole change.

When Meiku and I began to practice voluntary simplicity in the 1990s, the idea of the potential of individual changes to lead to wider societal changes had more currency than it seems to now. These days, people such as Derrick Jensen go so far as to claim that individual actions have no effect at all, and perhaps are even counterproductive. While I don’t think most people arguing for the need of large-scale change go this far, the argument that collective actions create more actual change than

individual actions has led to the organization of and delight with Occupy Wall Street and its sibling occupations that I see in the alternative media. It is this argument that I think needs to be examined more closely.

The trouble with this argument is that it introduces a false disconnect between the changes that each of us can make in our everyday life and the social movements that have pressed for large-scale changes and been successful to greater or lesser degrees. Among the social movements that someone my age has lived through, the civil rights, feminist, and gay pride movements might stand out as particularly successful. I am not arguing that any of these is finished; none has yet been as successful as most people, myself included, wish for it. Still, there is no denying that positive change, to a greater or lesser degree, has in fact occurred; one needs only look at the faces in the mainstream media today versus the 1960s to realize how much has changed in the last 50 years.

What I think the advocates of emphasizing collective action miss is that each of these mass movements of my lifetime has been preceeded and accompanied by exactly the sort of individual change in attitudes and actions that the mass movements required for their success. More importantly, every one of these changes involved difficulty and sacrifice on the part of the people making the change, and on the lives of the people they cared about and did business with as well. That change, welcome or not, initiated changes in the lives of others, and those changes rippled out into the lives of still others. Sooner or later, enough people changed their beliefs and their lives that the field for collective action acquired enough energy to make real changes in our political, social, and economic institutions. Once the social field changed enough, in turn, individual change and action became much easier, and that is supporting further (slow) change in our collective lives.

That brings me back to the false dichotomy between individual and social change. I think it’s very likely that not enough of us have changed our own lives enough to change the social field enough for the Occupy effort to succeed. And I fear that if that the movement fizzles, or gets crushed, with little in the way of change made, that will make it harder to change the social fields in the direction the occupiers and their sympathizers wish as we go farther into energy decline and ecological damage.

If you think individual change doesn’t have an effect, then how do you explain the public statements of most of the political and economic establishment that we need “consumer” spending to get out of our economic hole? It’s because the 99% of Occupy’s slogans aren’t buying houses, for instance, in the quantities and at the prices that we used to that not only pushes house prices down but that has a ripple effect, reducing purchases in the rest of the economy, that in turn depresses house prices and purchases even further. 70% of GDP comes directly from consumer spending; that’s you and me making everyday purchases.

If you want to support Occupy by putting your body on the line, then I wish you success and safety. If you want to support the Occupy movement without putting your body on the line, then make changes in your own life in line with the world you want to come into being. That may mean making a real sacrifice. Meiku and I will reduce our gasoline consumption and free up time to do fewer things, more slowly. The sacrifice for us will be reducing our attendance at MZC to once a month versus once a week since traveling to MZC once a week or so accounts for half a tank of gasoline consumption each month. What are you willing to sacrifice? Let’s make the individual changes together that will cushion the hard times ahead and help birth the low energy, low consumption life that Gaia is crying for - and pushing us toward, like it or not.

November 2011-January 2012

A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center

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Sangha Life

November 2011-January 2012

A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center

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Sangha Life

Why We Must
Become Buddhas (Awakened)

By Rosan Daido

Now there are awakening movements of people against power and for the planet all over the world – Arab Spring, European Summer, occupying streets and squares. This is a good chance to achieve a system shift from the artificial pyramidal one to the natural cyclical one. Success depends on the depth of prognosis and peace or actual awakening and abiding in nirvana, unconditioned peace. The Occupy movements claim 99% against 1% power especially that of money.

Money dominates through militarism/materialism/me-ism (hatred/greed/delusion) and vice versa. These have been uncritically accepted, but are now openly criticized. These must be really radically criticized, clarified, and cleared. Especially the delusion of me-ism must be existentially seen and solved. Thus we must know that it is actually the source of all problems and sufferings in our world now grown to a global scale and seriousness. We must know that 99% is only one tiny fraction of thirty million species.

The Buddha was awakened to the dharma (form/norm) of dependent origination, that is, interdependence and impermanence. He witnessed unconditioned peace and unsurpassed awakening in the cessation of all originations, in short, of the three poisons. He could settle in ultimate truth and peace by his constant practice of sitting and stopping karmas. He prognosticated this practice for all sentient beings as karma-machines. All the buddhas (awakened ones) witnessed and attested this practice in peace and prognosis.

Me-ism is the fundamental mechanism of self-survival and self-satisfaction, but the source of all problems and sufferings in the wholly wholesome system, which is now leading to the global problematique and mass extinction. The bubble of me-ism can never be safe, satisfied, serving, and saving in the ocean of the sustainable wholly wholesome system. We must become buddhas to learn this and live limitless light, liberation, love and life of joy in limitless learning: practice is the attainment of simplest, sublime life.

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Regular Zendo Schedule


6:20 am Zazen
7:00 am Service (sutras)
7:20 am Zazen
8:00 am Kinhin
8:10 am Zazen
8:30 am Lecture (teisho)
9:30 am Work period (samu) and tea

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

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


6:00-6:40 am Zazen
11:00-11:40 am Zazen
 Beginner’s Night—Registration required (at least 24 hours in advance)
6:30-7:00 pm Instruction
7:00-7:20 pm Zazen
7:20-8:00 pm Discussion/Q&A


6:00-6:50 am Zazen & Heart Sutra
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen
7:40-9:00 pm Tea/discussion


6:00-6:40 am Zazen & Heart Sutra
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen


6:00-6:50 am Zazen & Heart Sutra
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen
7:50-9:00 pm Dharma Study Group (call for details)


6:00-6:50 am Zazen & Heart Sutra
7:00-7:40 pm Zazen


8:00-8:50 am Zazen & Heart Sutra

Work periods may be scheduled following zazen.


November 2011-January 2012

A Publication of the Missouri Zen Center