Great Wave Zen Sangha Reopens

As some of you know, Great Wave Zen Sangha vacated its former location a few years ago.  For some time after that, we practiced at a temporary location at the local community college.  That too could not be continued, and while we did go on holding summer retreats, and while I have maintained video chat dokusan with some of my students, the Sangha has been mostly on a long hiatus.

The New GWZS Practice Center
The New GWZS Practice Center

I am very pleased to announce, however, that during the past two months, postulant priest Kevin Muzo Holohan; my wife, Hoen Sturgeon-Wolff; and I have prepared a small space attached to my home that will at last allow Great Wave to resume its former (rather vigorous!) weekly sitting schedule and to hold shorter sesshin.  The new space is located at 315 N. Rath, in Ludington. (For details about how to access the new space, please see our Location page.)

I think the reopening of our practice center is the perfect occasion for a day-long “beginner’s mind” retreat, or zazenkai, and I have scheduled this for Saturday, June 9, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. (Please see our Events Calendar for details about this retreat/workshop and to register.)

After the 2018 Beginner’s Mind Zazenkai, Great Wave’s doors will also be open for biweekly sittings on most Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. (Again, please see our Events Calendar for details.)

And, finally, in addition to the practice opportunities above, a short sesshin is tentatively scheduled for July 12 – 15; and our usual week-long sesshin is confirmed for August 3 -10.  I encourage you, if you haven’t done so already, to make sure you subscribe to Great Wave’s blog so that you receive announcements of the details concerning these upcoming retreats.

I sincerely hope to see you at both weekly sittings and/or upcoming zazenkai and sesshin. If you have any questions, please send a message via the Contact page of the GWZS website.

In Gassho,
Gendo Roshi

Gendo Roshi

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 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,

John Gendo Wolff, SenseigendoSealA


Ango Entering Message from Gendo Sensei

English: Japanese term for a three month long ...
English: Japanese term for a three month long period of intense training for students of Zen Buddhism, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ango, or “Dwelling in peace,” is traditionally a season-long period of more intense practice in Zen monasteries and usually culminates with a seven-day sesshin. Great Wave is undertaking a modified ango for the month of July, holding daily meditation periods in the evenings, except for days of the month that end in 4 or 9.

I want to encourage everyone to attend as many sittings as possible and to complete the online Ango Practice Pledge Form.  The forms will also be available  in the Sangha room.

The ango will end with a seven-day sesshin which I hope you will attend.

In gassho,

Enhanced by Zemanta

Small Talk

gendoSenseiPortraitcGreetings, members and friends of Great Wave.

I wanted to let you know that this summer I will be starting to write occasional posts at our website (  The posts will be short–something you can read–or perhaps listen to, if I’m feeling ambitious–in a minute or less, and are aimed at keeping our practice present and visible in this busy-as-can-be life.  Who doesn’t have one minute to spare for practice?  I’m calling this series of posts “Small Talk.”

It’s my hope that you will help me create an ongoing conversation by registering at (if you haven’t done so already) and leaving comments on my posts.  I’ll try to follow up when it seems appropriate.  Also, please feel free to let me know if there is a topic you’d like me to address.  I think that would be fun for all of us.

Enhanced by Zemanta