Shingi – Nov. 2014

November 2014 
SHINGI
Newsletter of the Tendai Buddhist Institute
Yakushi Nyorai
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In This Issue
Events Calendar
Meanderings
The Third Jewel
Jushoku’s
Meanderings

 

 

November is the month of gratitude for North American Buddhists. As I walked outside to the Hondo to do morning service shortly before sun rise this morning the stars were shining, the fragrance of smoke from our wood stove punctuated the coolness of the air, dry leaves crunched under foot, and the sound of geese flying south all reminded me of the magnificence of our landscape and where we live.

 

(cont.)

 

Our Other Sangha:

November Events Calendar
Susan Bues Temple in Snow Photo

Weekly Meditation Services (WMS) are on Wednesday evenings. They begin at 6pm with a discussion or talk (see below for this month’s discussion topics). At about 7pm there is a meditation service, followed at 8pm by a potluck supper. All of Wednesday evening’s events are open to the public. There is no fee, and reservations are not required.

November Wednesday Meditations and Discussions

 5            Lotus Sutra Chapter 8 – The Five Hundred Disciples Receive the Prediction of their Destiny –This is the fifth of seven parables in the Lotus Sutra. This chapter is so important to Buddhist traditions. It is an assurance to all that it is possible to attain awakening through practice and faith. Each month we examine a chapter of the Lotus Sutra, the primary doctrinal teaching of Tendai Buddhadharma. There are two complete versions of this formative East Asian sutra available as pdf on line. Find these at the following links: https://www.bdkamerica.org/digital/dBET_T0262_LotusSutra_2007.pdf
and http://www.rk-world.org/publications/ThreefoldLotusSutra.pdf
12          Stump the Sensei –  The Q&A provides an opportunity for you to receive direct answers to questions you may have from readings, previous discussions, conversations with others, day dreaming, etc. Write down the question and bring it along. Don’t be reluctant there are no dumb questions.

19          Meditation and Modernity I  – Using David McMahan’s The Making of Buddhist Modernism (Oxford Univ. Press, 2008) as a starting point we will discuss this topic in two parts. This week we will be examining the modern transformation of meditation and meditation and psychoanalysis. This provides a corrective to notions of meditation as well as a contextual locus of our notions of meditation.

26         Meditation and Modernity II  A continuation of the previous weeks discussion we will continue by investigating meditation as a form of rationalism and its scientific correlates. Both this week and the previous week we will use a critical approach in our inquiries.
Please note: This is the evening before Thanksgiving and always problematic. We may not have pot luck dinner this night, or we may order pizza for all. We will ultimately decide the week before. Please check in advance to find out.
Other events in November:
8            Sutra Class and Morning Service, 8:30 – 10:30 AM – While not a sutra in the formal sense A guide to the Tiantai Fourfold Teachings, is seminal to Chinese and East Asian Mahayana philosophy, practice and development. The version we are using was translated by Masao Ichishima and Davis Chappell and it is found in found in Tiantai Texts, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai America, 2013. Join us for a fascinating exploration of pivotal Buddhist teachings.
      
20           Columbia County Interfaith Thanksgiving Interfaith Service – 7 PM this yearly event will be held at St. James Roman Catholic Church in the village of Chatham. Topic for this years’ service is gratitude. Members of the various faith traditions in Columbia County gather in celebration of our many forms of observance to give thanks within the setting of our common community. Join us, and bring a food offering for the silent Food Pantry.
 

Please note: November 26th is the evening before Thanksgiving. Many people want to go home early to prepare for the next day’s feast. We are always perplexed whether we will have our normal pot luck dinner. We will not have the pot-luck, but, we will poll the week before to determine whether people would like to share pizza In the event you are not at the meditation on the 19th give a call or email in advance to find out our decision. (Little known fact about little known facts – Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween, The night before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, & New Year’s Day are the top five pizza selling days.)

 
Notes and Announcements:
Food Pantry at Jiunzan Tendai-ji – Please bring non-perishable food items to the Tendai Buddhist Institute on Wednesdays. We contribute these items to the Chatham Silent Food Pantry
Please note: November 26th is the evening before Thanksgiving. Many people want to go home early to prepare for the next day’s feast. We are always perplexed whether we will have our normal pot luck dinner. We will not have the pot-luck, but, we will poll the week before to determine whether people would like to share pizza.  In the event you are not at the meditation on the 19th give a call or email in advance to find out our decision. (Little known fact about little known facts – Super Bowl Sunday, Halloween, The night before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve, & New Year’s Day are the top five pizza selling days.) .

 Meanderings (cont. from side bar at left)

Susan's Saicho image

To be grateful is to experience the fullness of life that is available to us. One small slice at a time. By taking a moment, brief as it may be, to experience that intricacy around us is to express gratitude. To who or what am I grateful? Buddhist teachings inform us that there is a linking of all sentient beings, up and down and all around. To feel gratitude for this particular life, at this particular moment, is to experience that network of life, spirits, the mundane, and the absolute. Taking a moment to feel those connections in gratitude is a sacred observance. Even when we feel that life is not treating is quite right, we have too much work to do, or our relationships leaves something to be desired, life is still an incredible opportunity.

There are times life is disappointing, there are certainly times in which life is difficult. To be sure life is filled with challenges and disappointments. But, life still contains moments of beauty and magnificence. One of the magic acts of the Buddhist Path is to work toward serenity and equanimity; to appreciate the difficult and the splendid are but different sides of the same whole.

There are many forms of Buddhist practice, gratitude is one of those practices. It connects us to all around us. Gratitude is a form of mindfulness that exceeds expectations. Linger just a bit and immerse yourself in the joy of thanking the sounds, the smells, the sights, the chill upon your cheeks; paying gratitude to all those who have made this moment possible, feeling gratitude to those we love, expressing gratitude to those least expecting it, you will be fulfilling the assurance of the Buddhist Path. At the same time you will be working toward loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. Not on the cushion, and not intellectually, but through a transcendent moment of open gratitude.

Love and Gassho… Monshin

The Third Jewel–Where sangha members share ideas, poetry, and art to enrich everyone’s Buddhist practice.

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Some Photographs by Susan Bues

  

 

 

 

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Contact . . .

Shingi Editor
Peter Chorin Donahoe
pdonahoe2010@gmail.com
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