This will be the last Sit-A-Long by me for a couple of weeks, as I am heading into retreat at Shogoji Zen Monastery in the mountains of Kumamoto, Japan ... no phones, no computers and barely any electricity ...
.. but lots and lots of Zazen, Bowing, Zazen, Chanting, Oryoki, Takuhatsu, more Zazen, Samu, more Zazen and all the rest. Shogoji is famous for holding a very traditional Soto Zen Sesshin with the intent of keeping many of the "old ways" and rituals alive, and passing them on to the next generation, particularly western Zen priests.
I will be completely out of touch with Treeleaf for a couple of weeks I think. Mongen, our priest-in-training, is joining me for the retreat, flying all the way from Germany. The retreat is part of a longer, 90 day Ango period, but Mongen and I can only stay for a short part. (I almost did not make it at all due to the earthquakes, nuclear reactors, a typhoon storm last night that did more damage to some of our buildings, wife & child & job, and some health concerns ... and any of that may yet pull me off the mountain a bit early).
But this place keeps going as always, in the lovely hands of Taigu as it always is, assisted by Fugen and Shohei. Taigu will continue the "sit-a-longs", and we also have our monthly 4-hour 'netcast' Zazenkai this weekend, as always, led by Taigu. The Forum will keep jumpin' too!
As well, all of you will be with Mongen and me, in our hearts, as we sit at Shogoji.
Today's Sit-A-Long video follows at this link. Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 15 to 35 minutes is recommended.