2018 Beginner’s Mind Zazenkai

Lost Lakes, Ludington, Michigan
“By the water, deep within the forest, you find the traces.” –The Oxherding Pictures

Great Wave Zen Sangha will host a Beginner’s Mind Zazenkai on June 9, from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. This retreat will be dedicated to introducing the fundamentals of Zen practice to those who are new to Zen—but practitioners of all levels of experience are encouraged to attend this day that will be rich with opportunities for meditation, scripture recitation, Teisho, and dokusan with Gendo Roshi.  Lunch will be included.

The retreat will take place at Great Wave’s new practice center. (See our Location page for directions.)

To register for this event, please complete our Event Registration Form as soon as possible. Your timely registration and payment ($30) allow us to plan a menu and make other arrangements.

We look forward to practicing with you!

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

August 2017 Weekend Retreat

Great Wave Zen Sangha is pleased to announce an extended weekend retreat that will take place from Thursday, August 10, at 6:30 PM to Sunday, August 13. at 10:30 AM.  (Those needing an oryoki refresher should arrive on Thursday, at 4:30 PM.)

This retreat will provide a perfect opportuny to cultivate the 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 these retreats, please complete our Event Registration Form.  Seating and accommodations are limited, so we recommend registering as soon as possible.

We look forward to practicing with you!

June 2017 Sun Buddha Sesshin

ByWhen:
June 21, 2017 @ 7:00 PM – June 25, 2017 @ 9:00 AM
Where:
Grand Rapids
MI
USA
Cost:
Members, $160.00; Non-Members $240

 

June 21st is the date that marks the summer solstice, that time of year when the number of hours of daylight are at their greatest. In acknowledgement of this astronomical event, the Great Wave Zen Sangha is pleased to announce the 2017 Sun Buddha Sesshin. This retreat will take place from Wednesday, June 21, at 7:00 PM through Sunday, June 25, at 9:00 AM, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Image of the Sun Buddha
In traditional Buddhist cosmology, Vairochana Buddha, AKA the “Sun Buddha,” resides at the center of the universe of the Five Buddha Families.  He dispels the darkness of ignorance and radiates the brilliant, white light of awakening.

This sesshin will provide participants a perfect opportunity to deepen their practice through extended periods of meditation, Dharma talks, private instruction with Gendo Sensei, oryoki meals, and scripture recitation. In addition, Ango-Entering and Fusatsu ceremonies will be conducted. The cost of sesshin also includes all meals.

Driving directions to our retreat location, as well as other details of the retreat, are available for all participants—simply login at https://greatwave.org/, complete our Event Registration Form, and pay the sesshin fee.

Please note that seating and on-site accommodations are limited.  You are therefore advised to register early.

We look forward to practicing with you!

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!

 

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

 

Invitation to Aug. 8, 10, and 12 Dharma Talks

John Gendo Wolff, Sensei
John Gendo Wolff, Sensei

Greetings, friends and members of Great Wave Zen Sangha.

As you may know, I will be leading a 7-day retreat in August.  During that week, I will deliver two Dharma talks and facilitate one group discussion.  All three events are free and open to the public, and there is no need to have had previous experience in Zen.  I sincerely hope you will consider attending.  As space is limited, we must, unfortunately limit attendance, so, at your option, you may wish to reserve a seat by sending an email to contact@greatwave.org.

The events will take place on Monday, August 8th, Wednesday, August 10th, and Friday, August 12th, from 10:40 AM to about 11:40 AM.  Because these events take place within the context of our retreat schedule, we ask that you arrive punctually at 10:30 AM.  This will give us time to get you comfortably seated.

You can find driving directions to our retreat location here.  (If the link is not working, please copy-and-paste this URL into your browser’s address window: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/edit?amp%3Busp=sharing&mid=1BvILMEhsThkyBbn_JoTs2FcMpxs)

Please feel free to forward this information to anyone else who may interested.

I look forward to seeing you.

In Gassho,
Gendo Sensei

gendoSealA

 

 

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!

Zazen Cancelled April 6, 2016

Unfortunately, we again find it prudent to cancel sitting for tonight because of the potential for icy roads.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

To receive immediate notifications of cancellations (as well as other kinds of announcements), please remember to subscribe to our website at https://greatwave.org/.  Alternatively, you can subscribe to our Facebook or Twitter feeds.