Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

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New Year Reflections

January 05, 2014 by Jokai

David Blackwell Rev. David Jokai Blackwell
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

New Year Reflections

This past week we once again celebrated the transition into the New Year with Sesshin. The gathering felt particularly precious to me considering our reasonable doubt that it would go ahead at all. Another difference was my leading a Sesshin for the first time. To say I appreciated sitting in our Buddha Hall with such a determined and sincere group would be an understatement. I can think of no richer way to bring in the New Year than to do zazen. The chanting service that followed was lively, the words wonderfully supported by WaYu's drumming.

Many times this past year I would say, “2013 is a year we won't soon forget.” My personal journey in experiencing the dramatic circumstances of fire, flood and our recovery from mudslides has taught me some great lessons. One such lesson is that some things are worth fighting for,even when there is a small chance of success and a great chance of failure. Another is that I do not know what is going to happen. Really. How do we measure success in the practice of Zen Buddhism? In my opinion, success is awakening to this, our life, beyond a doubt, no matter the content and being at home in this great unknown where anything can and often does, happen. Places of refuge for the practice of authentic zen are rare in this country, rare in this world. My resolve to fulfill my vows is strengthened by witnessing how easily the forms we identify with can be radically changed or taken away in a moment.

We practice now in the first clear, cold days of 2014. I don't know what this year will bring, but I do know that Yokoji truly thrives best when we use it for its purpose. Spring Training Period begins on March 2nd. As students of Zen, the sitting school of Buddhism, a new year with its attendant resolutions is a good time to reboot one's practice and attend on Sundays and for Sesshin. Your participation is crucial. Just one person's practice has great benefit and unseen effects on others. This past year, generous donations came from our members, supporters, friends and wider Sangha. Funds that make this life-changing practice available to all comers, regardless of age, race, gender or experience. Thank you. The gate is open. Please join in as you can. Always together.



  • bill conti:

    05 Jan 2014 19:28:35

    So happy to hear you are back up and running. If not you now then WHO When?

  • Alston:

    06 Jan 2014 06:56:19

    ¡Prospero año nuevo!

  • Eshin Brenda Shoshanna:

    07 Jan 2014 16:59:33

    You do not know how deeply you inspire all of us everywhere, facing constantly changing conditions and feeling the world has fallen apart. Let it fall apart all it likes, when we sit together in the midst of it, everything is restored. Thank you and many blessings.

  • Christian:

    15 Jan 2014 06:58:26

    May 2014 be “The Year of the Resting Shovel.”

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