9
October

Golden Wind Zazenkai, Oct. 22-23, 2016

Walkers in the park with falling leaves

Walkers in the park with falling leaves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A monk asked Yun Men, “How is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?”
Yun Men said, “Body exposed in the golden wind.”

Yun Men did not stir a hairsbreadth, but just said to him, “Body exposed in the golden wind.” He answered most wondrously, and without presuming to turn his back on the monk’s question either. Since his question had eyes, Yun Men’s answer too was straight to the point. An ancient said, “If you want to attain Intimacy, don’t ask with a question.” If you really know someone, you know what he’s getting at as soon as he mentions it.

–from Case 27, Heikiganroku

To understand the fundamental point of the foregoing koan, you must practice with diligence. Thus, Great Wave Zen Sangha invites you to participate in an autumn extended zazenkai. This retreat will take place from 7:00 PM, October 22, 2016, until 5:00 PM, October 23, 2016.  It will provide a perfect opportunity to cultivate the deep practice of zazen, hear a Dharma talk, receive private instruction from Gendo Sensei, and participate in service ceremonies. As always, everyone who has received an orientation, regardless of experience, is welcome to participate.

To access driving directions, as well as other details of the retreat, please register for this event by using our extended zazenkai registration form.

We look forward to practicing with you!

 

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3
October

Gendo Sensei to Read From His New Book, Oct. 12, 2016

West Shore Community College has announced that Gendo Sensei will read from his new book, The Driftwood Shrine: Discovering Zen in American Poetry, at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, in the Administrative and Conference Building Café of West Shore Community College, in Scottville, Michigan.

All members and friends of the Great Wave Zen Sangha are cordially invited to attend.

John Gendo Wolff, Sensei, 2015 (Photo by Jessamyn Wolff)

John Gendo Wolff, Sensei, 2015 (Photo by Jessamyn Wolff)

Gendo Sensei is a college professor of writing and literature with numerous publications of poetry and essays. “My life is characterized by some seemingly long, intertwined vines of contrasting, if not competing, interests and activities. These include my enduring love of writing of all kinds, but especially of poetry; my firm commitment to the transformational power of education; the curiously creative and powerful ability of contemporary technology to stimulate and amplify our teaching and learning; and my now 30-year commitment to Zen practice,” says Sensei.

Gendo Sensei’s reading will be followed by a question and answer session. Copies of the book will be available for those who would like to purchase a signed copy. The book may also be purchased at most online retailers and in Ludington bookstores. For more information and to read excerpts from the book, please see The Driftwood Shrine blog.

Sumeru Books Press Release for The Driftwood Shrine

Representing a new approach to the West’s evolving understanding of Buddhism, The Driftwood Shrine: Discovering Zen in American Poetry is the first collection of Zen teachings to be based on the poems of great American writers. In reassuring, forthright, and often surprising language, Gendo Sensei explains how Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, H.D., Richard Wright, and many other poets enshrined the gentle light of the Buddha’s teaching in their work.

Cover of The Driftwood Shrine

The Driftwood Shrine: Discovering Zen in American Poetry, (Sumeru Books, 2016. ISBN 978-1-896559-28-5).ISBN barcode

Poetry lovers and Zen practitioners alike will find themselves moved toward a penetrating awareness of the realms of spiritual resolve, impermanence, desire, faith, and awakening.

“Through a two way mirror, American poetry and Zen mutually illuminate in this wise telling of the human story of awakening, rendered warm, intimate and authentic in its glimpses of the author’s own struggle and journey. Gendo Sensei holds nothing back in this compelling invitation to come face-to-face with ourselves through a fresh look at some of our most beloved master poets.”

—Susan Myoyu Andersen, Roshi,
abbot Great Plains Zen Center

“Rather than treating Zen as an exotic import from the East, this wonderful series of meditations discerns and extracts its essence from the heart of American poetry.”

Stephen Batchelor,
author of
After Buddhism

“I was deeply moved by this book. This is something subtle and beautiful, brought to us by a wise and generous teacher. Here the heart of the Zen way is fully revealed as we read some of the great poetry of the West.”

James Ishmael Ford, Roshi,
author of
If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break

“An eloquent, insightful and intriguingly personal account of the flourishing of the Zen mind in American writing, starting long before the word and the practice were known here, down through the glory days of the Beat Generation. The author finds in close readings of many poems some of the brilliance, humor and glad perplexity of the koan.”

Robert Kelly,
author of In Time

 

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20
July

Register Soon for 2016 7-Day Sesshin!

Great Wave Zen Sangha is pleased to announce its 2016 7-day sesshin!  This retreat will take place from Sunday, August 7, at 7:00 PM through Saturday, August, 13, at 11:00 AM.  As well as providing a perfect opportunity to take your practice to a very deep level through meditation, Dharma talks, private instruction with Gendo Sensei, oryoki meals, and scripture recitation, this sesshin will offer a special opportunity to honor the lives of lost loved ones through the Gate of Sweet Nectar, or Kanroman, ceremony.  The Kanroman is a very moving and musically beautiful ceremony, replete with hundreds of candles that light the way of our memories.

At the end of the Obon festival in Matsue, Japan, paper lanterns are place on Lake Shinji, symbolizing the departure of ancestor spirits to the other world.

At the end of the Obon festival in Matsue, Japan, paper lanterns are placed on Lake Shinji, symbolizing the departure of ancestor spirits to the other world. Great Wave will perform a similar ceremony during its August sesshin.  (Photo by James Alexander Jack)

In addition to the Kanroman, we will also be holding a Jukai ceremony on Saturday morning, August 13.  During Jukai, one receives and vows to maintain the 16 Bodhisattva precepts.  This ceremony essentially marks one’s formal commitment to the Zen Buddhist path.  (If you are, or have been, seriously considering your own commitment to the path, please discuss this with Gendo Sensei.)

As always, everyone, regardless of experience, is welcome.  Driving directions to our location in Hamlin Township as well as other details of the retreat are available for all participants–simply log in and then complete our 7-Day Sesshin Registration Form.

We look forward to practicing with you!

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21
November

Rohatsu 2015 Retreat Announced

Morning start over the Pacific Ocean (source: Wikimedia)

Morning start over the Pacific Ocean (source: Wikimedia

Great Wave will be holding a day-long retreat, or zazenkai, on December 6, 2015.  Dubbed the 2015 Bright Star Zazenkai, this retreat is a traditional part of Rohatsu, the Zen tradition’s week-long commemoration of Shakyamuni Buddha‘s enlightenment beneath the bo tree 2500 years ago.

Geared for practitioners of all levels, this retreat will offer participants an opportunity to deepen their practice of meditation, study scripture, hear a Dharma talk, and to receive private instruction (daisan) from Gendo Sensei.

For more information, and to register for this event, please see our online events calendar.

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2
November

Zazen Cancelled Nov 4, 2015

Because of a scheduling conflict, we must cancel zazen on Wednesday, November 4, 2015.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

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7
October

Reminder of New Great Wave Meeting Time

This is simply a reminder regarding a recent post on the Great Wave website that the sangha will resume a schedule weekly zazen starting this evening at 7:00 PM.  Below is a copy of the post.

Thanks.


 

As many of you know, Great Wave has been on hiatus for quite some time. Over the past two years, a search for a new location has been made and many ideas discussed and considered. And the search continues. (If you would like to help with this process, please contact Gendo Sensei.)

Zafu-soto-zen1024In the meantime, Sensei has made arrangements with West Shore Community College to hold weekly meetings on campus. Starting this week, Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 – 8:15 PM, Great Wave will be back in action. If you had been sitting with Great Wave Zen Sangha prior to our “homeless” state, we hope you will join us this Wednesday in Room 305 of West Shore’s Arts and Sciences Center. If you are new to Zen or to Great Wave Zen Sangha, we ask that you contact us to arrange a brief orientation. Orientations will take place on Wednesdays at 6:00 PM.

Please remember to wear dark (preferably black), loose-fitting clothing. (No shorts or sleeveless shirts, please.)

If you have any questions, please let us know via our contact form.

We very much look forward to practicing with you once again!

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5
October

Let’s Sit!

As many of you know, Great Wave has been on hiatus for quite some time.  Over the past two years, a search for a new location has been made and many ideas discussed and considered.  And the search continues.  (If you would like to help with this process, please contact Gendo Sensei.)

Zafu-soto-zen1024In the meantime, Sensei has made arrangements with West Shore Community College to hold weekly meetings on campus.  Starting this week, Wednesday, October 7, 7:00 – 8:15 PM, Great Wave will be back in action.  If you had been sitting with Great Wave Zen Sangha prior to our “homeless” state, we hope you will join us this Wednesday in Room 305 of West Shore’s Arts and Sciences Center.  If you are new to Zen or to Great Wave Zen Sangha, we ask that you contact us to arrange a brief orientation.  Orientations will take place on Wednesdays at 6:00 PM.

Please remember to wear dark (preferably black), loose-fitting clothing.  (No shorts or sleeveless shirts, please.)

If you have any questions, please let us know via our contact form.

We very much look forward to practicing with you once again!

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14
March

Mind-Flower Spring Zazenkai

Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion

Kannon, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This time of year we look forward to the return of green trees and colorful gardens. The scented air and the warm skies are wonderfully reassuring. We may be reminded of a phrase we chant each morning in the dedication to the “Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo”: “May the mind-flower bloom in eternal spring.” How, we may wonder, is the mind like a flower? Why, in the midst of endless change, would we wish for eternal spring?

To understand these questions requires a careful, nurturing practice. Thus, in the spirit of perfecting our spiritual skills, Great Wave Zen Sangha announces its Mind-Flower Spring Zazenkai, which will take place on March 28, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. This retreat will be dedicated to the cultivation of the paramitas, or “perfections” of practice. With opportunities for meditation, scripture recitation, Dharma teaching, and daisan with Gendo Sensei, practicitioners will be able to deepen their exploration of the six paramitas of generosity, morality, patience, effort, meditation, and wisdom.

As always, everyone, regardless of experience, is welcome. Our retreat will take place at the Hall Guest House (with optional coffee, tea, breakfast snacks, and early-morning socializing starting at 7:15 AM).

To participate, please register and pay the $30 retreat fee by no later than March 26. (Your timely registration and payment allow us to plan a menu and make other arrangements.)

We look forward to practicing with you!

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31
January

2015 Beginner’s Mind Zazenkai

Oxherding pictures, No. 2

Oxherding pictures, No. 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are often reminded that the wisest, most natural, most compassionate way of being in the world is to face it with “beginner’s mind”—the attitude of one who approaches life without preconceived ideas. Thus, in this spirit of letting go of expectations and truly seeing what is here, right now, Great Wave announces its 2015 Beginner’s Mind Zazenkai, which will take place at the Hall Guest House on February 21, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM. (Optional coffee, tea, breakfast snacks, and early-morning socializing will be available starting at 7:15 AM!) A map with directions to the guest house is available here.

This one-day retreat, while dedicated to those beginning Zen practice, is for everyone, regardless of experience. Participants will have opportunities for meditation, recitation of scripture; and learning about the intellectual and philosophical history of the Zen Buddhist tradition. There will be time for discussion and private teaching with Gendo Sensei, and a vegetarian lunch will be provided.

To participate, please register and pay the $30 retreat fee by no later than February 15. (Remember, your timely registration and payment allow us to plan a menu and make other arrangements.)

We look forward to practicing with you!

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19
October

All-Sangha Council Meeting on Nov. 16

English: Three Jewels, or Triratna. Eastern Af...

Three Jewels, or Triratna. Eastern Afghanistan. Kushan period. 2-3 century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you know, Great Wave has been on hiatus for quite some time.  This is partly the result (ironically enough) of being “homeless,” and it is partly because I have had to put my attention on a number of other things for several months.  In all this time, however, I have never stopped thinking about how to re-establish our practice center and return to sitting.  I appreciate hearing from those of you who also have been thinking about our future.

At this point, it is important for all of us to reconnoiter and do some visioning about where we go from here.  I therefore want to strongly encourage everyone who receives this message—that is, all members of the Great Wave Zen Sangha, as well as newer people who have expressed an interest in learning about Zen practice—to attend an important all-Sangha Council meeting on November 16th from 7:00 – 8:30 PM.  (Login at greatwave.org and go to our events calendar page for directions to our meeting location.)  Even if you are only tentatively connected to Great Wave, and even if all you have done is make an initial contact, your participation in this meeting is truly important.

Coming together to practice as a sangha, which includes meetings like the one on November 16, is one of three indispensable elements of our practice.  Those three elements are Treasures: The Three Treasures of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.  In a time when daily “busyness” and the internet obscure how little genuine contact we have with one another, it is especially important to be proactive in ensuring the survival of the Sangha Treasure.  Without Sangha, there is no Buddha and there is no Dharma.

I humbly beg you, therefore, to do everything in your power to set aside the evening of November 16th for this most important occasion.  There will be time for old acquaintances to reunite and for new people to be introduced.  There will also be time to share recent news about our lives and to generally enjoy some social time together.  But the focus of this meeting will be to discuss the re-establishment of regular Zen practice at Great Wave—to see to it that the Great Wave continues to roll on!

I’ve given the matter of our future a tremendous amount of thought over the past year and will come with a few ideas to share about possible next steps.  If you have ideas too, please share them.  Even if all you want to do is to come and listen and perhaps just respond to what you hear, that’s fine too.  Everyone matters in this process, and the effort you put forward to be there on November 16th is an effort that does more than reward us as individuals or fulfill Great Wave’s potential.  It carries on beyond our lives in this time and space and makes the Buddhadharma an enduring gift.  Many remote temples in China and Japan were once begun by just a handful of dedicated people.  And many of those temples have survived for centuries, making it possible for the Buddha’s teaching to reach many thousands of people.  Don’t you want the same thing to happen here?  It’s possible!

So please look into your heart, and see what is most important, most precious, most worthy of your time and make a decision to come to the meeting on November 16th.  I look forward to seeing you all!

In Gassho,
Sensei

John Gendo Wolff, SenseigendoSealA

 

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