August 15, 2010 by Yugen Lakey
The Sunday Schedule opens Yokoji to the public, and the rhythm and atmosphere of the Center changes. For the residents, dawn zazen is replaced with the opportunity for a little more sleep before breakfasting and tidying the Center in preparation for our guests.
Sunday morning has a sense of excitement as people start drifting in, gathering, talking, drinking coffee, catching up on each other's week. There is a social side to a Sunday that is fun, as people come together and the energy rises. You can notice it in the temple dogs, Honey and Cocoa. Normally content to lie around, alternating between the shade and the numerous pools of sunlight, the dogs suddenly become animated. They run around sniffing and greeting the newcomers, hoping to be petted and, if they are lucky, fed a treat of some kind. If you should happen to be carrying a tasty morsel or two, you will have friends for life. Just don't expect them to remember your birthday.
The introductory class runs alongside the regular service and zazen, which start at 9:30am. Members and retreat partcipants (if it is during a retreat) have the opportunity to talk with Tenshin Roshi in dokusan (private interview) during zazen. For many people, this is the only chance they have during the week to talk with Roshi about their practice and what is going on in their life.
At 11:20am, Tenshin Roshi, or one of his senior students, gives a talk. Today, the Mindful Way group join us and Roshi brings up Case 19 from the Gateless Gate, Nansen's "Ordinary Mind is the Way". The group seems to appreciate the talk. We release one of Roshi's talks every month for free as a podcast, which can be found at the Media Center on our website as well as on iTunes.
The project that Tenshin Roshi and Jim Prall have been working on is almost done. The staircase leads up to a loft space in Tenshin Roshi's house that was recently converted in to accommodation. Last winter, we held the New Year's sesshin at Roshi's house as the Sotoshu Training Monastery was in full swing and we could not use the Buddha Hall or Zendo. The loft space has been converted for future events where we may need overflow accommodation. Also, next year we are hosting the White Plum annual meeting, with between 40 and 60 teachers in Maezumi Roshi's lineage attending. Tenshin Roshi is a trained carpenter and has basically built the entire Center with help from many people over the years. The loft and staircase are a good example of the fine art of recycling - some of the supports are made from posts that previously held up a fence around the practice house and the carpet was laid partially with offcuts from a previous project. With resources scarce, we try not to let anything go to waste.