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    Please join us for a special Zazenkai with my Dharma Brother, Gustav Ericsson, who is visiting Treeleaf Tsukuba, Japan from Sweden!

    Gustav Ericcson is a Dharma successor of our Gudo Wafu Nishijima Roshi (Jundo's Teacher and Taigu's "Grand" Teacher) and, since 2010, also a Lutheran Priest with the Church of Sweden, which is the largest Christian church organization in Sweden and largest Lutheran church in the world. In 2009 he founded Anzenkai, which is an interreligious network of friends based on daily shikantaza zazen. He is also a former prison guard before becoming a Lutheran priest. Obviously, Gustav is very interested in the intersection of Buddhist and Christian Teachings. You can read an interview with Gustav HERE.

    Here is something that Gustav wrote on his website for his sitting community in Sweden, Anzenkai.com, and I hope he will speak about when he joins us ...

    Anzenkai is not based on any particular religious creed. Some of us are Christians, some are Buddhists, and some belong to other traditions or none at all. We all practice zazen together as friends, enriched by our diversity.


    Gassho, Jundo
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Our SPECIAL ZAZENKAI with GUSTAV ERICSSON started by Jundo View original post
    Comments 57 Comments
    1. Nengyo's Avatar
      Nengyo -
      I had a sick kid last night. I will be watching it today.
    1. Risho's Avatar
      Risho -
      I hope Father Kirillos watches this as well. He's another inspiration for me here at Treeleaf, a model of merging both traditions.
    1. Heisoku's Avatar
      Heisoku -
      Thank you Gustav and Jundo. I enjoyed this...the idea that we can be so open to all opinions and beliefs to the extent that it allows love and compassion to blossom. This in turn links to the defencelessness of zazen, a return to the open childlike state. My Grandpa used to say that when we smile the world smiles with you, but when you cry you cry alone...maybe we should add that our open smile can break this! Gassho.
    1. willow's Avatar
      willow -
      Thank you - that was really inspiring - and a lovely energy with all the warmth and smiles.


    1. Daitetsu's Avatar
      Daitetsu -
      That was really great!
      Thanks a lot, Gustav, for this awesome Dharma Talk, Jundo for inviting him and also thanks to all who attended (very good questions/comments, guys!).


    1. Jakudo's Avatar
      Jakudo -
      Thank you Gustav for taking the time to share with us, and also to you Jundo for organizing these talks, I am enjoying them very much.
      Gassho, Jakudo.
    1. andyZ's Avatar
      andyZ -
      Thank you Jundo and Gustav for organizing this talk. It's interesting to see a real life example of how these two traditions can coexist and be used to unite people rather than separate.
    1. Myozan Kodo's Avatar
      Myozan Kodo -
      Thank you all. Really wonderful.
    1. Taigu's Avatar
      Taigu -
      I just come back from Kyoto and met Gustav there. So clear. So easy. So close. I am so grateful to have met a brother I have left yesterday and will meet tomorrow. The ineffable works in mysterious ways.

      one in many ways, many as one.


    1. Myosha's Avatar
      Myosha -

      Thank you.

    1. Rich's Avatar
      Rich -
      Thank you for sharing your experience and positive energy.
    1. Kokuu's Avatar
      Kokuu -
      Thank you! In the light of recent discussions on the meeting of Zen and Christianity, it was great to have Gustav's input. His work as a prison officer seems to have greatly informed his practice too. A lovely man.

    1. Joyo's Avatar
      Joyo -
      Thank you for posting the video here as I have a hard time joining in live events. My husband is a liberal Christian so I look forward to listening to what this man has to say.

    1. Joyo's Avatar
      Joyo -
      I watched it, thank you so much for inviting "Just Gustav" to talk at TreeLeaf. What appropriate timing after my post concerning my fundamental father-in-law who thinks all others will go to hell. Upon much reflection on that post, and practicing mindfulness I've come to discover a few things. I realize that my intense fear and anger towards my father-in-law is actually fear that he is right, that I am, in fact going to go to hell. I have become agnostic about many ideas to do with god, but since this belief has been ingrained in me since a small child, I realize now that deep down inside, I still have that fear. I can't quite describe it, but suddenly, through mindfulness, the fear has almost disappeared.

      My husband and I were obviously both raised in very strict, conversative Christian homes. Both of us were not happy living like this and we did not want to pass this sort of belief on to our children. For him, he has turned to liberal Christianity, with the same beliefs that Gustav explained here. For me, I've turned away from Christianity and found peace in Zen buddhism. We are trying to now raise our children by the words of Thich Nhat Hahn, in his book Going Home, with two roots, Jesus and Buddha. I still have an aversion to Jesus due to all the fear and religious dogma that was taught to me as a child. But Gustav's talk really helped to clear some things up in my head, and get rid of the underlying fear that I have.

      On another note, since my post, I had a talk with my mom. Although she is not happy that I am Buddhist, we finally built some bridges of peace between each faith. I even told her that I think the fact that she has a relationship with Jesus "is a beautiful thing" I could not have responded so loving without the gentle advice that was given to me here at Treeleaf. So thank you to so many here, and deep bows to each of you. I so appreciate all who took the time to post to me and share their own stories.

    1. KellyRok's Avatar
      KellyRok -
      Hello all,

      Another wonderful experience! Thank you Just Jundo for inviting Just Gustav to come and speak with us. This was a very profound and lovely teaching. I once again took some notes to share with my family...this is truly appreciated. _/\_

      Treena - I'm so happy to hear that you and your Mom have found a comfortable space to truly talk to each other regarding your differences. It is amazing what you can learn when labels are dropped and true listening is achieved. _/\_

    1. em's Avatar
      em -
      Thank you. I much appreciated the talk and the sense of community it brought to me.

      I'm struggling a bit with some beliefs that seem to be taken for granted in my other sangha. For me, a literal reading of the pali canon and it's beings and realms is not so obvious or even obviously helpful. I recognize that I can bring quite a bit of ego and papancha into this struggle so doing sangha in that context is an interesting practice and process.

      With metta,
    1. Kokuu's Avatar
      Kokuu -
      Em, I have a similar problem with my local Tibetan sangha and have learned to just sit with them rather than bringing my questioning and ego. Questioning what is taken for granted there rarely serves any useful purpose. Learning that my questioning might just be self-serving and not helpful to others is an ongoing process.

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