Thursday, February 25, 2010

Last night I gave my third Shuso talk. The topic was on Cultivating Virtues. I was feeling nervous before i entered the Buddha Hall, but not feeling nervous while i was talking. But it amazed me how my stomach was hurting right after I finished my talk and it took half an hour for it to disappear. I was thinking how our emotions could really affect our physical bodies! Emotional release is very important for the health of our body. In Qigong we use sound and breath to release different emotions that are associated with different internal organs and use energy movement to unblock the accumulations; In Buddhism we are emphasizing the joyful mind, the mind of equanimity and practicing mindfulness to be in touch with our emotions to allow them to dissolve. All these are helping us to bring harmony and well being to our body and mind. When we are truly present with what is in front, the nervous mind is less likely to arise; and when it does arise, it will go by like wind blowing by and it won't retain in the body.
This morning was a little interesting. While i was running doing the wakeup bell, the little dot inside the bell fell off. I had to stop and figure out how i could continue. Luckily Keith Baker was around and fixed the bell for me. Later I was told that I could just run through the hall way shouting "Wake Up, Wake Up!" That actually sounds fun!
Oceania gave her first student Way Seeking Mind Talk this morning after Zazen. It was so sad to hear about her life stories but at the same time very inspired to see how she came out of those so much stronger. Indeed our life sufferings can be our blessings! Thank you for your dedication, your inspiration and your example!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I am loving Shuso Tea! My Benji Renee made these vegan, low sugar and heart shaped cookies that made it hard to stick to my own rule "no more than one cookie for the whole afternoon tea". Yesterday Benji started to serve peanut butter cookie with Rooibos tea.
Check this out!

I am inviting you to come to have some tea if you haven't done so both for the cookies and for some heart meeting heart over tea. Thank you for your showing up for tea! It has been such a pleasure to talk to each of you! Thank you, Benji!!!
The beauty of this practice has offered us numerous ways to get in touch with our breath, our heart feelings and the vastness of space through sitting or chopping vegetables or sipping a cup of fragrant tea filled with love...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This morning we had Parinirvana Ceremony in the Zendo after morning sittings. It is important for us to remember Buddha's last words and let them be our guidance for our living.
“Good friends in the Dharma. I will teach you seven things that are conducive to welfare and happiness. Pay careful attention and I will speak.

As long as Sangha members hold regular and frequent assemblies, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.

As long as they meet in harmony, break up in harmony, and carry out their business in harmony, they may be expected to prosper and not decline.

As long as they do not authorize what has not been authorized already, and do not abolish what has been authorized, but proceed according to the precepts and the rules of training, they can be expected to prosper and not decline.

As long as they remain mindful of desires that lead to unwholesome action and suffering, but do not fall prey to those desires, they can be expected to prosper and not decline.

As long as they are devoted to meditation and to letting go of busyness every day, they can be expected to prosper and not decline.

As long as they preserve their personal mindfulness, doing what they do with as much awareness as possible, so that in the future the good among their companions will come to them, and those who have already come will feel at ease, they can be expected to prosper and not decline.

As long as the Sangha members hold to these seven things, and are seen to do so, the Sangha can be expected to prosper and not decline. "

Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha! Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha! Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Where is the Shuso blogging? The abbot was asking. I see, the Shuso has more roles than just getting up at 4:30am doing the wake-up bell and having Shuso tea with 50 practice period participants. I am sorry that i haven't been good at keeping up with this blogging thing. I didn't know that somebody would actually check if I wrote something and actually read this;-) The truth is: Every moment flows through my day beyond my grasping and moments of inspiration come and go throughout the day as well. Unless my computer is hooked up all the time and living in my palms, it is very easy just to let those moments go!
Well, if you like, i will start to give you more details of my Shuso days! They are actually very precious to me and absolutely worth the effort of noting down especially if these will bring you some joy and smiles. Oh that's right, I have a Benji too! actually two!
Yesterday was the first day of Chinese New Year - Tiger Year as well as the Valentine's Day. I decided to spend the whole day with my students doing an intensive day of Qigong. It turned out to be very healing and sweet. The teaching in Zen of being present each moment was embraced in each Qigong exercises during the day while we were standing in Qigong poses, doing Walking Qigong, Sleeping Qigong, lecture or a fine New Year dinner. A Qigong day was a Zen practice day! We can call it Qigong, call it Zen, or just call it Living and Being.
As i said at the Nenju ceremony, love is the smiles on your face, the tenderness in your heart and the attention in your eyes. I hope that the practice in each moment and the giving and receiving this love at the beginning of this New Year bring you much happiness and joy!


p.s. For those of you who are taking Taichi on Tuesday mornings, here is the link of my Youtube video I am so happy you are learning this!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Shuso Update from Renee, Liping's Benji (you may hear from me from time to time)...

Liping gave her Shuso Way-Seeking Mind Talk last night and it was brilliant.

She shared her life beautifully.Granting us a 45 minute glimpse, she left us with a deep sense of her humanity and generosity.

It is clear that with her grace and availability to intimacy, she will make a terrific Shuso.

Shuso Teas will start next week. People are beginning to sign up. After a Way-Seeking Mind Talk such as the one held last night, I am sure that students are genuinely looking forward to speaking with Liping and sharing an exploration of the Dharma with her.

So far so good!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wake up, wake up! I started ringing the wakeup bell every morning at 4:55am as a pre-shuso last Wednesday. This morning we had an official Shuso Entering Ceremony in the Zendo after Zazen. Now I am feeling that I have formally re-entered the temple with my new role. It's so true what I said at the ceremony: I don't know much about Zen, i don't feel like a model Zen student, I am so scared about exposing myself and I am not ready to be Shuso; But i have to remind myself of my intention of this practice period: Do my best! Thank you my dear Sangha for supporting me in my new training! For the moment, I am trying not to get butterflies in my stomach about giving my first talk tonight;-)