This Saturday will be our next MONTHLY "HALF-DAY" SITTING, which we hold on the first Saturday of each month. We are now sitting 4 hour sittings for these "Zazenkai", although I hope to transition to 8 hour and longer retreats later this year.
Saturday's sitting will run from 9pm until approximately 1am Japan Time, which (by my calculation - PLEASE CONFIRM BY JAPAN TIME) is Saturday, 5am to 9am in Vancouver, 8am to noon in New York, 1pm to 5pm in London, 2pm to 6 pm in Paris. I will be sitting in the "Always Open Sitting Hall". As well, it is my intent to record the Zazenkai on USTREAM for later participation by those who cannot be with us until a later date. On the day of the retreat, you will be able to join via links on the Treeleaf "Leaf" blog.
I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU POSITION YOUR ZAFU ON THE FLOOR IN A PLACE WHERE YOU ARE NOT STARING DIRECTLY AT THE COMPUTER SCREEN, BUT CAN GLANCE OVER AND SEE THE SCREEN WHEN NECESSARY. YOUR ZAFU SHOULD ALSO BE IN A POSITION WHERE YOU CAN SEE THE COMPUTER SCREEN WHILE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE ZAFU FOR THE CEREMONIES, AND HAVE ROOM FOR BOWING AND KINHIN.
The schedule for this Saturday will be as follows:
00:00 – 00:50 CEREMONY (HEART SUTRA in English ONLY / SANDOKAI) & ZAZEN
00:50 – 01:00 KINHIN
01:00 – 01:40 ZAZEN
01:40 – 01:50 KINHIN
01:50 – 02:30 ZAZEN & DHARMA TALK
02:30 – 02:40 KINHIN
02:40 – 03:20 ZAZEN
03:20 – 03:30 KINHIN
03:30 – 04:00 FUKANZAZENGI CHANT & ZAZEN
04:00 – 04:10 FOUR VOWS, VERSE OF ATONEMENT & CLOSING COMMENTS
As you can see, there will be 5 periods of Zazen, each 40 minutes long, although several will include time for chanting. In between each period of Zazen, there will be a 10 minute period for Kinhin walking (which will also serve for any needed bathroom breaks).
We will be chanting the Heart Sutra in English (I plan to alternate English & Japanese each month), plus the Sandokai in English only, at the start, and the Fukanzazengi in Japanese at the end of the day. I will also be asking people to do a series of floor prostrations (in sets of 3) during the opening ceremony and at the closing, although you may substitute deep standing "Gassho" if you wish (please see the talk on the philosophy of prostrations, below).
If you do not have it, please download and print our "Treeleaf Chantbook" and keep it handy near your Zafu during the retreat.
You may also download and review the explanatory materials for our last retreat, although not all apply in this case (we will not be doing Oryoki eating or Samu work during this Zazenkai, although I hope to add those in the future).
I will lead and talk us through it, so please just play "follow the leader" if not sure what to do. You may also wish to review these general instructions for behavior in a Zendo, which I will be attempting to follow as closely as possible. Again, I will try to talk us through it.
http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/zen ... uette.html
Skye was kind enough to make available a series of talks I gave in preparation for our last retreat. If you have time, please give a listen to those before Saturday. Not all apply in this case, so it is only suggested to listen to the following:
TALK 2: Chanting the Heart Sutra 1
http://www.treeleaf.org/library/zazenka ... php?page=2
A little discussion about chanting the Heart Sutra in English. Tomorrow, we will discuss chanting the Heart Sutra in Japanese.
For today, I will just be practicing the beginning of the English version (Please note that the wording in the Treeleaf Chantbook that we will be using Saturday is slightly different from the following):
INO ONLY =
Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra*
(The Great Sutra of Perfect Understanding)
Prac/ti/cing/ deep/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ *
Per/ceived/ the/ emp/ti/ness/ of /all /five /con/di/tions/,
And/ was/ freed/ of/ suf/fer/ing/.
O/ Sha/ri/pu/tra/, form/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ emp/ti/ness/,
Emp/ti/ness/ no/ o/ther/ than/ form/;
Form/ is/ pre/cise/ly/ emp/ti/ness/, emp/ti/ness/ pre/cise/ly/ form/.
... and the end ...
This/ is/ no/ o/ther/ than/ truth/.
There/fore/ set/ forth/ the/ Praj/na/ Pa/ra/mi/ta/ man/tra/.
Set/ forth/ this/ man/tra/ and/ pro/claim/:*
Gate! Gate! (Gone, Gone)
Paragate! (Gone Beyond)
Parasamgate! (Fully Beyond)
Bodhi! Svaha! (Awakening, Rejoice)
If you would like to hear an Mp3 of a somewhat different version in English (just to hear the rhythm), link here:
TALK 3: Chanting the Heart Sutra 2
http://www.treeleaf.org/library/zazenka ... php?page=3
... a little discussion about chanting the Heart Sutra in Japanese:
Maka Hannya Haramita Shin Gyo*
Kan Ji Zai Bo Satsu Gyo Jin Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ji Sho Ken Go* On Kai Ku Do I Sai Ku Yaku Sha Ri Shi Shiki Fu I Ku Ku Fu I Shiki Shiki Soku Ze Ku Ku Soku Ze Shiki Ju So Gyo Shiki Yaku Bu Nyo Ze Sha Ri Shi Ze Sho Ho Ku So Fu Sho Fu Metsu Fu Ku Fu Jo Fu Zo Fu Gen Ze Ko Ku Chu Mu Shiki Mu Ju So Gyo Shiki Mu Gen Ni Bi Ze Shin Ni Mu Shiki Sho Ko Mi Soku Ho Mu Gen Kai Nai Shi Mu I Shiki Kai Mu Mu Myo Yaku Mu Mu Myo Jin Nai Shi Mu Ro Shi Yaku Mu Ro Shi Jin Mu Ku Shu Metsu Do Mu Chi Yaku Mu Toku I Mu Sho Tok ko Bo Dai Sat Ta E Han-Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ko* Shin Mu Kei Ge Mu Kei Ge Ko Mu U Ku Fu On Ri Is-Sai Ten Do Mu So Ku Gyo Ne Han San Ze Sho Butsu E Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ko* Toku A Noku Ta Ra San Myaku San Bo Dai Ko Chi Han-Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ze Dai Jin Shu Ze Dai Myo Shu Ze Mu Jo Shu Ze Mu To To Shu No Jo Is sai Ku Shin Jitsu Fu Ko Ko Setsu Han Nya Ha Ra Mi Ta Shu Soku Setsu Shu Watsu Gya* Tei Gya Tei Ha Ra Gya Tei Hara* So Gya Tei Bo Ji Sowa Ka Han Nya Shin Gyo
If you would like to practice with a very nice traditional version ... click here:
And if you would like to watch it in all its formal glory, performed at a Japanese temple (our Retreat's Ceremony will be a somewhat simplified version of the same), this video is CERTAINLY worth watching ...
TALK 6: Prostrations
http://www.treeleaf.org/library/zazenka ... php?page=6
... there will be times of prostrating (Raihai), done in a series or three (Sanpai) ...
I am often asked to whom or what we are bowing ... Is it to some thing, god, person or effigy?
I answer by saying that there is nothing that's true that is omitted from our bow. We might consider that we're simply bowing to the whole universe, or to ourself and the other people around us … after all, 'All are One'! The hands, palms upwards, are raised in a gesture traditionally symbolic of lifting the Buddha's feet over one's head, but that truly means lifting all things of the universe over one's head. It's appropriate to cultivate an attitude of emptying, letting go, receptivity and gratitude in our bows.
If there is some physical or personal reason not to prostrate, a simple Gassho can be substituted. However, there is greatness in the humility of the prostration.