30 December 2013

Contemplation: Wishing Together

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:

Wishing together with all sentient beings:
Do not commit evil.
Do everything that is good.
Purify the mind.
This is the teaching of all the Buddhas.

Shichi Butsu Tsukaige (excerpt), as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

20 December 2013

New Year's Eve, 2013 with the Sangha

We will meet for meditation, teachings, and socializing on New Year's Eve 2013, starting at 7:30pm in our usual Tuesday evening location in the Walden Room of the UUCA.  Bring in the new year with a bodhisattva's pure intention:  could there be a better way to do it?

Of course, everyone is welcome to join us for this event and all our regular activities.

Other sangha festivities may follow at a different venue.  I hope to see you there.

19 December 2013

Coming Attractions: Series on the Bodhisattva Precepts

In 2013, our Sunday morning Dharma talks and discussions will be centered around a text known as the Brahma Net Sutra, translated most recently into English by Martine Batchelor and published as The Path of Compassion (available at Amazon and other fine retailers; check bookfinder.com for used copies). 

This text is of central importance to us for practical reasons.  It directs our attention to the fundamental matter of conducting ourselves as bodhisattvas in the world.  We will use this text to provoke this question from many different perspectives:  how ought one to conduct one's life, to act in the world, in order to fulfill the Buddha-path?

Also, this text is of great historical and doctrinal importance to Tendai Buddhism.  The founder of our school in Japan, Saicho (also known as Dengyo Daishi, as he is referred to in our sutra service), built the training and ordination program that became the Tendai school on the foundation of the Brahma Net Precepts.  One might say that the specific characteristics of Tendai Buddhism, this is among the most distinctive.  The Brahma Net Precepts are big part of what make Tendai Buddhism Tendai Buddhism.

Martine Batchelor's translation of this sutra is valuable to us for a number of reasons.  The introduction is lengthy, and while it is particularly appropriate for beginners, experienced practitioners will also learn from it.  I encourage everyone to find a copy, read it, reflect on it seriously, and join us for a discussion on this remarkable cluster of teachings. 

It is not necessary to "do the homework" to participate in and benefit from the Dharma discussion.  But as with so many Dharma practices, you get out of it what you put into it...

I look forward to cultivating the highest intentions for 2014 with you.

18 December 2013

Schedule Changes over the Holidays

Our sangha's practice schedule will be altered somewhat due to my travel plans over the holidays.  For the last two Sundays in December 2013 (the 22nd and the 29th), Junsen Nettles will lead meditation practice in lieu of the sutra chanting service at Yoga in Daily Life, at the usual time of 9:30am.  I will return to lead the sutra chanting service on January 5, 2014.

Regarding Tuesday evening meditation at the UUCA:  we will not meet Tuesday, December 24 of this year, which is Christmas Eve.  Meditation will resume the following Tuesday as is our wont.

Finally, we are preparing something special for December 31 (a Tuesday this year).  Expect an announcement describing this soon.


16 December 2013

Contemplation: Awaken! Take Heed!

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:
Let me respectfully remind you:
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Take heed.  Do not squander your life.
The "Evening Gatha" as recited at Tendai Buddhist Institute

10 December 2013

No Meditation This Evening

Due to inclement weather, tonight's meditation service at the UUCA will be cancelled.  Please practice at home and stay off the icy roads, especially after dark.  We look forward to seeing you Sunday morning for the sutra service.

09 December 2013

Contemplation: Not Easy

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:

Spiritual growth is not easy, it is not intended to be a hobby or an activity for dilettantes.  Tendai Buddhadharma is a sacred path that leads to a better life and world.

Monshin Naamon, from the paper "Tendai Overseas and its Future"


Here is a brief overview and discussion of the relevant papers given at the recent Symposium on Tendai Buddhism outside Japan.  Enjoy.

02 December 2013

Contemplation: Basis of International Tendai

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take the following as your object of contemplation:
I propose the basis of International Tendai, for laity and ordained, should be awakening of the participant through practices, devotion, and study. This in turn leads to positive contributions to self, family, society, and the environment, engaged service to others, integration of the sacred and the provisional to attain peace and equanimity on earth and an assurance of liberation, now and in the future.
from the paper "Tendai Overseas and its Future" by Monshin Paul Naamon, given at the Commemorative Special Symposium for the 40th Anniversary of Tendai Buddhism Overseas, near Mt Hiei, Japan.