News & Events | February 2019
February 01, 2019 by kojin-heath
In the midst of winter and the quieter interim period, life at Yokoji continues to change and evolve—sometimes the shifts are subtle, and sometimes more pronounced. Even in the heart of winter, when the land is dormant and the nights are long, an abundance of growth and energy just beneath the surface of the natural world lends its pulse to the unfolding of this season. The slowly lengthening days are noticeable. During sunrise, as residents sit zazen the light of the sky slowly brightens the Buddha Hall as the sun rises over the eastern peaks. Winter is moving toward the birth of spring in the canyon, and in accord with this, long-term residents are beginning to arrive in preparation for Spring Training Period.
A well-attended Beginner’s Mind Sesshin led by Chigen Sensei, marked the conclusion of this month’s activities. In preparing to accommodate the larger number of attendees, a joyful sense of anticipation preceded the arrival of new and seasoned Zen students alike. Participants spoke to the exuberant and fresh energy that arose from the powerful, collective practice. As always, practicing with the Sangha during sesshin proved a wonderful reminder of the universality of this practice—the obstacles, the challenges, the triumphs and joys, while different for each of us, are also universally held and intimately known. It is by simply practicing together that we support one another, knitting together the fabric of Sangha, discovering the many beautiful threads of our common Life.
It is with this practice of Zen that we illumine the world, just as the world illumines each of us—and through this mysterious happening, the direct wonder that is our life reveals itself again and again—always available and open. As our Spring Training Period Entrance approaches, marking the beginning of our intensive practice period, we have a wonderful opportunity to recommit to practice—embodying, and strengthening the qualities we most appreciate and value. Please join us in making personal vows for the coming months, renewing our resolve to approach each day with open hearts and clear minds, engaging with compassion and strength in our world.