Yokoji-Zen Mountain Center

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News & Events | January 2019

January 09, 2019 by kojin-heath

Kojin Heath Rev. Kojin kojin-heath Heath
Yokoji Zen Mountain Center

News & Events | January 2019

Happy New Year! During our annual New Year’s Sesshin, participants filled the Buddha Hall, sitting in quiet celebration of life itself. Touched by the beauty of light snowfall in our canyon and warmed by the crackling fire from the wood stove, with concentration and stillness in body and mind, all embraced the mysterious turning of time, sitting zazen as midnight approached. It is with this amazing practice of zazen—of simply sitting, being aware, and paying attention to our lives—that we are able to acknowledge the abundance of what our lives have to offer, moment-by-moment. A fitting way to punctuate the New Year, practitioners expressed that the strong and loving spirit of the New Year’s Sesshin reflected the power of our connection as a Sangha, with first time meditators and stalwarts gathered together embracing one another through surrendering to the rigor and simplicity of the time-honored schedule.

Encouraged to explore our past year’s hindrances, during the New Year’s Eve fire ceremony, students gathered around a small fire, chanted the En Mei Juku Kannon Gyo, and burned paper slips on which they had written down their hindrances. As we woke to New Year’s Day, we repeated the fire ceremony, but this time making personal vows for 2019. It was a beautiful opportunity to mark the end of the year and welcome new beginnings, embracing our past while opening to what our future has to offer.

During these uncertain times, we feel the unease and suffering in our world. Zen practice provides a wonderful opportunity to respond to this suffering in a way that is intimate and direct. Compassionate change starts right here, with each and every one of us. As we practice, the ripples of our efforts are then felt by our loved ones, by our communities, and by the world. We invite all to continue to this good work, renewing our appreciation for the gift of this practice and our shared life, we invite you to continue practicing with us, cultivating compassion, clarity, and wisdom, so that we can be of service in the world, together.

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