Gendo Roshi in Live Stream Tonight

Enlightened Lawn Mower

Gendo Roshi will deliver a teisho via his live stream YouTube channel this evening at 7:15 PM.  The title of his talk is “How to the Mow the Lawn: Honoring Our Ango Commitments.”

This event constitutes Great Wave’s first attempt at live streaming and for that reason should be considered somewhat “experimental.”  Viewers are encouraged to use the live chat feature during the talk to ask questions.  Roshi will do his best to answer them.

If you cannot participate in the live stream, a recording will be available on YouTube.

Summer 2022 Ango

View of a section of Jeta Grove, in Sravasti India
View of a section of Jetavana Monastery in Sravasti, India. (Image by Bpilgrim.)

Ango, or “Peaceful Dwelling,” is a period of intensive practice, a tradition whose origins go back to the time of the Buddha.  Back then, he and his disciples would cease their customary wandering lifestyle at the beginning of the monsoon season, taking shelter from the incessant rains for three months.  During this time, they devoted themselves to intensive study, the teaching of laity and younger monks, and meditation.  The Buddha delivered many of his sermons during these periods, often at the vihara in Jeta Grove.

In the Zen tradition, there are typically two three-month ango each year, one in the summer and one in the winter.  This year, Great Wave’s Summer 2022 Ango will take place from June 1 to August 20.  As in years past, my hope is that all those who I have formally accepted as students will commit to more intensive practice by completing our Ango Commitment Form prior to June 1.  However, you needn’t be a formally recognized student to complete the form.  I encourage everyone to make a commitment to further their practice.  Your forms will be printed and stored inside the altar in the ancestor room at Myogenji.

In Gassho,
Gendo Roshi

Great Wave to Hold Ancestral Way Zazenkai

Series of bronze statues of buddha ancestors with hands in gassho mudra.
“Now, actualizing the buddha ancestors means to bring them forth and look at them respectfully. It is not limited to the buddhas of past, present, and future, but it is going beyond buddhas who are going beyond themselves.” —Dogen Zenji (trans. Lew Richmond and Kazuaki Tanahashi)

Our practice is one by which each of us endeavors to personally verify, manifest, and actualize the teaching of our Dharma ancestors. To help us realize the unity of this life and the lives of our lineage of teachers, Great Wave will host the Ancestral Way Extended Zazenkai from 4:30 PM, Friday, June 24 to 12:00 PM, Sunday, June 26. Practitioners of all levels of experience are encouraged to attend this weekend retreat near Hamlin Lake. It will be rich with opportunities for meditation, scripture recitation, a teisho, and dokusan with Gendo Roshi. Vegetarian meals are included.

To participate, please complete our Event Registration Form by no later than June 20. Your timely registration and payment allow us to plan a menu and make other arrangements.

We look forward to practicing with you!

Great Wave to Offer Zen Camp Experience

The Earth-Witness Zen Camp blends Zen and climate change awareness.
Please register soon for this blended experience in Zen practice and climate change awareness.

As part of its ongoing effort to blend traditional Zen practice with climate change awareness, Great Wave is offering its first fully outdoor retreat: the Earth-Witness Zen Camp. This special event will begin at 2:00 PM on Friday, October 15, at the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area trailhead and end mid-morning on Sunday, October 17. The camp will include traditional forms of Zen practice, such as mindful walking, meditation, teisho, and dokusan. In addition, this event will also offer some introductory instruction in wilderness skills.

The Earth-Witness Zen Camp is open to all, regardless of experience with Zen or backpacking.  However, please note that all participants must be

    • fully vaccinated against COVID-19; and
    • able to hike 2 miles with a backpack containing sufficient gear and food to sustain themselves in the wilderness.

The number of participants is limited to 10, so please register early with our Event Registration Form.  Once registered, you will receive detailed information to help you prepare for this wonderful practice opportunity that will deepen your resolve for both Zen practice and climate change mitigation.

If you have questions about this event, please call 231-907-2910 or use our Contact Form.

Finding Time for Zazen

As most of you know, zazen or seated meditation (“sitting”) is the core of our practice.  Zazen helps us quiet the mind, temporarily reducing and sometimes eliminating the chatter of our various internal voices.  When they quiet down, we can objectively reflect on that which is actually present.  In that space, we have an opportunity to discover who, or what, we really are—as opposed to what all of that monkey-mind chatter tells us we are.

As wonderful as that opportunity is, however, we often struggle to find time for zazen.  We are not monks living in temples, supported by our local communities, with only our spiritual practice to attend to.  No, we have to work jobs, take care of families, homes, cars, pets, neighbors, and so on.  Most of the time, we think we are busier than we want to be.  Often, our internal voices tell us with convincing, work-a-day authority that we don’t have time for zazen.  Zazen, these voices seem to say, is yet another thing we have to add on top of a stack of many other things that is already too much to manage.  Sometimes it seems like we need a bigger warehouse so that we can forklift in thirty minutes of zazen.

We do have another voice, however, that speaks to us with a different message.  It says that zazen is not a thing added to all of the other things in our lives.  In fact, this other voice continues, life is not at all like a stack or a pile or a boxful of things that we have to somehow force into what is already a bulging life-space.  This other voice says that life is just living, moment by moment.  Each moment contains the same amount of living space and living time.  You cannot put more into it or take anything out of it.  It is what it is, so why not relax?

Of course, it’s very hard to believe that this voice is telling us the truth when the baby’s diaper needs changing at the same time that that pot of bean soup on the stove is boiling over and a long-awaited phone call has now to be answered.  But the difference between someone who sits and someone who doesn’t is that the one who sits isn’t anxious and hysterical about those dirty-diaper-soup-pot-and-phone-call-all-at-once moments of life.  That person instantly sees which thing—the diaper, the soup, or the phone—will be attended to first.  Which one do you suppose it is?  There is a right answer here.  But if you think of life as an ever-accumulating tsunami of things and tasks, you’ll just be guessing, trying to triage your way out of the impossible.  You also can’t just evade the question by saying it doesn’t matter.  So what are you going to do?

And to return to the central question, how will you find time for zazen while doing everything else you have to do?  Those who sit can see in an instant when they will do it.   How have they managed to figure this out?  How will you?

Gendo Roshi is Spiritual Director of Great Wave Zen Sangha.




September Mindfulness Walk in Ludington State Park

Hamlin Lake
Hamlin Lake. Photo by Jimfix, 2011.

Great Wave Zen Sangha will offer an outdoor guided mindfulness event in Ludington State Park, starting at 9:30 AM, Saturday, September 11, 2021.

As part of this (mostly) silent mindful walking experience, we will perform an abbreviated version of the Gate of Sweet Nectar ceremony (Kanroman) to memorialize those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center Bombings of 2001. The walk (out and back) should be easily accessible for anyone in reasonably good physical health.

Please note that to ensure everyone’s health and safety, we will require proof of vaccination against COVID-19.  All participants will also be required to wear masks when stopped or congregating and to maintain social distancing throughout the experience.

To sign up for this event, please log in and complete our Event Registration Form by no later than Monday, September 6, at 5:00 PM.

In-Person Zazen Cancelled as of August 3, 2021

Update: June 2, 2022

As new cases of COVID-19 in Mason County have dramatically declined since last January’s surge, the Great Wave Zen Sangha Board recently considered whether it was time to re-open weekly in-person meetings for zazen.  Unfortunately, another increase in new cases in May continues to prevent us from reopening our doors.  The Board will continue to monitor case counts.

While weekly zazen at Myogenji is not yet possible, Great Wave does host virtual zazen meetings via Zoom each Wednesday evening from 7:10 PM to 8:15 PM.  If you would like to participate, please complete our Event Registration Form.  If you are new to Zen, someone will contact you to arrange an orientation (which also takes place via Zoom).

Great Wave will also offer two in-person retreat opportunities this summer, the first one in June and the second one in August.  Please see our Events Calendar for more details.


Dear friends,

Last night, the GWZS Board of Directors considered the wisdom of continuing to offer weekly in-person sitting at Myogenji, given the considerable surge in COVID-19 infections, a vaccination rate of less than 60% in Mason County, and the very highly contagious nature of the Delta strain.  As a result, we decided that it would be best to once again cease holding in-person meetings in the zendo until there is sufficient scientific evidence to suggest that no harm will be done by coming together in person.

I know this news will come as a disappointment for many of you, but it was, I feel, the right decision.  We considered whether simply adding a masking requirement to our current vaccination requirement would suffice to keep all safe for in-person meetings.  However, masking alone is not necessarily enough for a practice space as small as Myogenji’s.

Please Get Vaccinated

In addition to sharing the above news, the GWZS Board wishes to implore anyone who is purposely avoiding vaccination (or among the “vaccine-hesitant”) to reconsider their position.  All arguments against vaccination, except in instances involving children and very rare, pre-existing medical conditions, are unfounded.  (Tested vaccines for children may be available late this year or early next year.)  No valid scientific evidence exists that would suggest getting vaccinated carries a greater risk to one’s health than would be the case with any other vaccine.  Indeed, scientifically possible risks associated with vaccines are far, far less than those associated with getting sick with COVID-19.  Those who voluntarily refuse vaccination are largely responsible for the current resurgence of the coronavirus.  They unnecessarily put their own and others’ lives at risk of illness; serious, long-term debilitations;  and even death.  To do this is to violate the Pure Precept to Do No Harm and the first Grave Precept to avoid taking life.

If you have been led to believe that vaccines are dangerous or ineffective, please consult your primary healthcare provider for reliable information.  Be aware that anecdotal “evidence” that vaccines are unsafe is not evidence in a scientific sense.  (You may wish to consult credible debunking services such as Snopes or PolitiFact to determine whether anti-vaccine claims are valid grounds for refusing the vaccine.)  It may also help to understand the mechanisms that allow COVID vaccines to work.  If you would like more information about that, please use our Contact Form, and we will try to connect you to reliable sources of information.

Gendo RoshiGendo Roshi, on behalf of the Great Wave Zen Sangha Board of Directors


Great Wave Offers Buddhist Art Discussion Series

RABKAR WANGCHUK, “Spiritual Mind and Modern Technology,” 2013.

In The Moment of Art: Traditional, Modern, & Contemporary Art from a Buddhist Perspective series of events, Great Wave’s Rebecca Getsuki Mott will facilitate our discussion of a variety of traditional and contemporary works of Buddhist and Buddhism-inspired works of art.

This series will surely speak to the questions and curiosities of seasoned practitioners and beginners alike. No prior art knowledge or experience is necessary.

Our discussions will take place via Zoom video conferencing at 9:30 AM, July 18, July 25, and August 1. Prior to each meeting, participants will be provided with a selection of artworks and short readings as well as questions for consideration.

To participate, please complete our Event Registration Form. We ask for a $10 donation toward this series of events. However, if this donation amount represents a financial hardship for you, please request a scholarship on the registration form.

Once registered, you will receive an email with more event details and a link to join the Zoom meeting.

Reminder: Rising Sun Zazenkai, July 9-11

Dear friends,

I just wanted to send you a little reminder that Great Wave will hold an in-person retreat July 9 – 11.  I called this event the Rising Sun Zazenkai because it is like a new day to be able to offer our first in-person retreat since the coronavirus pandemic began over a year ago.  I really do hope you’ll find a way to participate in this special event.

For those of you who cannot make it to this event in person, we are offering the opportunity to attend my teisho virtually via Zoom video conferencing.  The teisho will take place on Saturday, July 10, 10:00 – 11:00 AM, and we ask for a $10 donation.  To participate, please complete our Event Registration form.  You will then be emailed details about how to join the Zoom meeting.

Please take good care of yourselves and practice with as much dedication as you can.

In gassho,
Gendo Roshi


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