Dear Dharma Friend
This is our second newsletter in this format. It costs us a small monthly fee to maintain this service and e-mail out the newsletter. What do you think; is it worth the cost? Does it appear well on your screen or do you have to go to the website? Please let me know what you think.
In joy and peace, Kozen Sampson
Our Daily Mantra – The Prayer of Blessing
We surround all forms of life with infinite love and compassion. Especially do we send out compassionate thoughts to those in suffering and sorrow, to those in doubt and ignorance, to all who are striving to attain truth and to those whose feet stand close to the great change called death, we send forth all wisdom, mercy , and love. May the Infinite Light of Wisdom and Compassion so shine within us that the errors and vanities of self may be dispelled; so shall we understand the changing nature of existence and awaken into spiritual peace.
Compassion and Sexist Language – another Kanzeon Bodhisattva (Avalokiteshvara) practice.
A dear friend pointed out that our daily prayer has a sexist format in that it says “All men and all forms of life” and then the great change men call death”. After reviewing the nature of sexist terms and research about how language affects concepts, Kozen has made a decision to change our Blessing prayer to read “We surround all forms of life with infinite love and compassion. Especially do we send out compassionate thoughts to those in suffering and sorrow, to those in doubt and ignorance, to all who are striving to attain truth and to those whose feet stand close to the great change called death, we send forth all wisdom, mercy, and love. May the Infinite Light of Wisdom and Compassion so shine within us that the errors and vanities of self may be dispelled; so shall we understand the changing nature of existence and awaken into spiritual peace.”
The change of terms can be debated on many many levels. From some feminist points of view, any reference to humans as mankind or Man is not acceptable. From other groups the term mankind is just that a term referring to all humans – male and female. To another group the changing of a long beloved prayer (and a multi-denomination approved prayer at that) is rather repugnant.
From the Buddha’s teachings, the issue comes down to compassion. Language has power – what we say and how we say it carries a whole philosophy of belief. If a word or series of words carries a concept that belittles or dis-empowers a group, then the most compassionate choice is to change the word or concept of the word. Buddha encouraged that his teachings be taught in the “language of the people” so that all could understand the message. Thank you to Julia who first voiced her concern about the terms man and men. Thank you to all of the individuals who gave further input into this issue. Thank you to the Temple Board of Directors for supporting the Compassion of language choice we have made.
Let us all speak the truth and add wisdom and compassion in all that we say and do. Truly this is the heart of Kanzeon Bosatsu.
Dana & finances
We currently have no outstanding debts.
Thank you to the many individuals who support our efforts. We’re saving up our money for a new foundation underneath the temple.
Minh Quang & Ngoc Chau Temples
On Sunday August 14, several temple members visited 2 Vietnamese Buddhist temples in Portland, Oregon.
Minh Quang Temple hosted a short blessing and a presentation of flowers. The temple members there are so very kind and dedicated and greeted us with warm welcomes.
Then we all went to Ngoc Chau Temple, where they were celebrating a festival dedicated to mothers by remembering and honoring MahaMaudgalyayana, who was one of the great enlightened disciples of the Buddha. He was foremost among the disciples in spiritual powers. Maudgalyayana is Sanskrit and means ‘descendant of a family of bean gatherers.’ His name also means ‘turnip root’, because his ancestors ate turnips when they cultivated the Way. He is also called Kolita after the tree where his father and mother prayed to a tree-spirit for a son.
The lovely story is very long but goes something like this: When Mahamaudgalyayana first became enlightened, he looked for his mother and found her in hell, due to her poor behaviors during her life. Seeing her in hell, Maudgalyayana sent her a bowl of food. She took it in one hand and hid it with the other because she was afraid the other hungry ghosts would see it and try to steal it from her. Being greedy herself, she knew that other hungry ghosts were greedy too, and so she covered it over stealthily. Although it was good food, when the food reached her mouth it turned to flaming coals which burned her lips. Maudgalyayana’s spiritual powers could not prevent the food from turning into fire, so he asked the Buddha to help him.
“The Buddha told him to save his mother by arranging an ‘Ullambana offering’ (releasing those who are hanging upside down). The Buddha told Maudgalyayana that, on the fifteenth of the seventh lunar month (the last day of the monks’ rainy season retreat), he should offer food and drink to the Sangha (monks and nuns). By his actions, he gained merit and support.
When Maudgalyayana followed those instructions, his mother was reborn in the heavens. So great was his offering that all the hungry ghosts in the hells simultaneously left suffering and obtained bliss.
Ever since that time Maudgalyayana has been known for respecting and caring for his mother, and as a role model for supporting Buddhist monks and nuns.
Mahamaudgalyayana is mentioned in the Dharma Flower Sutra.
My First Sesshin
By Denise Morrison
I recently returned from a week long sesshin at Great Vow Zen Monastery, and would heartily recommend the experience for anyone!
The sesshin was titled “Grasses, Trees, and the Earth Store Bodhisattva”, and focused on Jizo Bodhisattva, outside meditation and awareness of the earth.
GVZM is located on the edge of Clatskanie, OR, in a refurbished elementary school. Behind the beautiful grounds is a Jurassic-like forest with quiet paths and a Jizo garden.
The sangha there were wonderful, and you could sense the strong teaching of Roshis Chozen and Hogen Bays within the members.
After receiving a tour, sesshin instructions and an informal dinner, we went into silence for the week and began the first of many zazen periods.
The zazen periods would range from 1-2 hours, interspersed with services, oriyoki meals, sanzen/dokusan(private instruction with Chozen Roshi), samu(mindful work), and breaks. Many of the sitting periods were outside, and we were strongly encouraged to do zazen outside for an hour after closing services at night. During this time we would go into the forest to sit or lie down next to a tree that we had picked out earlier in the day, and do nighttime meditation. We also worked on various art projects including making Jizo peace flags and clay figures.
Sitting this much was definitely a new experience for me. The most I had done at one time was two 25-minute periods. Instead of “monkey mind”, I tend to think of the active, ego-mind as “puppy mind”. The first two days went along well, and I was feeling rather proud of myself. The puppy was behaving fairly well and listening to my commands.
Then the third full day came. The puppy jumped the fence and was running amok all over town. I had no control as my ego-mind fought the full awareness that goes along with meditation.
Slowly over the next few days, the mind came back under control with renewed vigor. Gently, lovingly, but firmly, and with Chozen Roshi’s guidance, I guided the puppy into calm awareness. There were no great “A-HA!” moments, but many subtle insights that have improved my practice.
Jan Chozen Bays Roshi is a wonderful teacher and her students (and those of Hogen Bays Roshi) were fantastic to practice with. I hope to return to Great Vow soon to attend another sesshin!
Reverend Ken McGuire has started a new woodworking company specifically for Buddhist Altars and supplies. You can view some of his wonderful work at the Trout Lake Zen Temple or online at http://zenfurnishings.net/ by Ken’s workshop. Ken Roshi made our altar and the small oriyoki tables that we now have in our Zendo. His work is reasonably priced and the quality is very good.
Free Trade coffee that goes for a good cause:
The Presbyterian Coffee Project provides free trade, sustainable, worker friendly coffee. In the greater Trout Lake area you can purchase it from Bonnie Reynolds 509.395.2527
Local Churches that teach and practice an embracing, kind, and loving faith.
Trout Lake Presbyterian – Sunday service at 11:15 am
Sunday Service at 10AM (Summer schedule), Trout Lake
Bethel Congregational Church (United Church of Christ)
Sunday Service at 10AM in White Salmon
Mid-Columbia Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Sunday Service at 10AM at the Rockford Grange, Hood River
Minh Quang Temple
14719 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, OR 97236
We have come to respect and enjoy attending a Vietnamese Buddhist temple in Portland, Oregon. On some weekends many of the temple members do not speak English – please check ahead with Ms. Susan Quang (her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to attending. The service is in Vietnamese. The heart and spirit there is most wonderful – a loving and kind Buddhist Practice.
Local Providers of Care
Jennifer Silapie ND
Naturopath Physician, has opened a practice in White Salmon. She is a warm-hearted and caring individual.
251 N. Main Ave, White Salmon 509.493.3300
Massage Therapist in Trout Lake and White Salmon
Massage Therapist in Trout Lake and Hood River cell 541.490.9077 home 509.395.2468