Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

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Occupy Yokoji

November 24, 2011 by Jokai

David Blackwell Rev. David Jokai Blackwell
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

Occupy Yokoji

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Tomorrow the residents will gather at the Inryo (Tenshin Roshi's House) for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. We are all enjoying a - hopefully - well-deserved rest after the conclusion of the Fall Training Period. For those of you unable to make it up here this past Sunday, Craig Eishu Twentyman ably defended himself in the Dharma Combat and the ceremony itself went very well apart from a few minor errors. We strive to maintain the forms and of course the most important aspect is our wholehearted practice.

The unexpected nature of life once more revealed itself. This time manifesting as a malfunctioning pilot light on the zendo fireplace! We remedied this by running a slightly noisy space heater at the back of the room. There were many spirited questions and it felt like everyone present was really involved in the ceremony. Resident Susan Tipton in the role of Benji (chanting the Verse during the Shuso's bows) produced a fantastically startling inexhaustible lion's roooooaaaarrrrr!!!

The Sesshin preceding the Shuso Hosen was well attended. As Tanto I was a little nervous on the final full day as to whether we would have enough seats. Thankfully there was a place for everyone, and of course, we will always find everyone a place. I find that to be a wonderful thing about Zen practice. You just need a place on the ground and a cushion! No expensive equipment required :)

At the closing council of Sesshin, Yugen voiced his appreciation of how the residents this Training Period really came through. I can certainly echo that. There were a fair few comings and goings among the seniors and that can often spell trouble for holding the container, but that was not the case. For myself, I was blessed to have my dear son Dylan visit for a period of three weeks and I'm hugely grateful to the residents and Tenshin Roshi for making that possible. Yokoji truly is a great place for children to run around and explore. Dylan was a willing Doan (responsible for striking the bells) during afternoon services.

I have been following the "Occupy" movement with interest and I know several of you are personally involved. It's amazing to witness a movement like this arise as if from nowhere. There seems to be a heightened and increasing disillusionment in unchecked capitalism and it's human and planetary cost. Perhaps a positive reaction may include more interest in co-operative and sustainable community living based on a foundation of nourishing spiritual practice.

As we transition into the slightly more relaxed Interim Period, please come up and visit if you can for some fresh air and strong zazen. We will always find you a place to sit!

Happy Thanksgiving.



  • Doetsu:

    24 Nov 2011 04:55:56

    Jokai, you are always welcome to join us at ‘Occupy Temecula’. I’ll even make a sign for you. Need a ride?

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