From Friday March 21 until Monday March 24 we were fortunate to have a visit from the Rev. Dai-En Bennage, Roshi, Abbess of Jihoji, Mt. Equity zendo, located in Pennsdale, PA. Rev. Dai-En led an all day sitting on Sunday which included a dharma talk and concluded with tea for participants. She also attended morning zazen and service on Monday before returning home. Click on the images to view them as a gallery.

 

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

This has been an unusually cold winter for us in the Carolina Piedmont. We had measurable snow two weeks ago, when Atlanta was hit hard. This week we were caught up in a big storm that dropped 5+ inches on Chapel Hill. Schools and the universities are closed for two days – as was the zendo. Fortunately we did not get the ice we were warned about, so we are warm, lighted, online, and on the phone….

Here are some photos from yesterday; things are getting back to normal (and people are out retrieving abandoned cars, especially on the major roads which became impassible in a very short time).

Courtesy of Steve Schlosnagle

Courtesy of Steve Schlosnagle

Rt 86 looking south

Temple in the snow

Back deck (taken by Steve Schlosnagle)

Back deck (taken by Steve Schlosnagle)

On Friday November 2 we celebrated Sejiki, which we time to coincide, more or less, with Halloween. During this ceremony we chant the Kanromon, or Gate of Sweet Dew, after attracting the attention of spirits (ancestors, but not only – we include our own neglected states of bodymind) with three rounds of instrumental sound. While the chanting is going on, the officiant offers food to satisfy the hungry ghosts.

We create a special altar for this occasion

We create a special altar for this occasion

We create a special altar for this occasion

 

The ceremony includes reading the names of everyone we have done a memorial service for all year, and includes names of other persons and beings which we receive for the ceremony. This year’s list was long, a full page.

Come as you are, and in costume

Come as you are, and in costume

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Bryan Weiner for two of the photos here.

 

After the ceremony we have refreshments ….

Arriving Sunday, Sept. 30  from Ontario, Canada after an 800 mi. drive, Kuden Paul Boyle visited  and practiced back on Red Cedar Moutain and environs for a week. Kuden was in the first priest ordination at CHZC in 2003 (with Nyugen Liz Moore) and was shuso (head monk) in 2009. He left just over a year ago to live and work in London, Ontario, near where his daughter is in school. Before coming to North Carolina Kuden had lived in the same area. It was odd to see his familiar car in the parking lot sporting Ontario plates.

Kuden covered a lot of ground in the week he was here, visiting many friends in Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh, visiting the state prison at Harnett where he helped support practice for many years, and also the state’s death row at Central Prison in Raleigh. He sat zazen with us every morning and on Sunday, Oct. 6 was back in a familiar seat, giving a dharma talk on practicing with the Six Perfections (paramitas). After the talk we had tea and cookies in the entryway and a chance to catch up.

We hope to see him again soon…..

Kuden and friends

Kuden and friends

Can't resist maple sandwich cookies!

Can’t resist maple sandwich cookies!

On Labor Day weekend we welcomed Issho Fujita to Red Cedar Mountain for the third time. Thirty-five participants came for a weekend of learning together, exploring zazen, eating together, working, chanting, and breathing. Around 70 persons were at the Sunday public talk.

These photos by Kevin Heffernan show the circle for tea and questions after the Sunday talk, with the retreat participants.

Some additional photos courtesy of Hiroyuki Ikushima, down from Richmond for the event (and recently returned from extended practice at Antaiji in Japan).

Lecturing in the zendo (with whiteboard!)

Lecturing in the zendo (with whiteboard!)

Another view of the circle
Another view of the circle

 

Zoketsu Norman Fischer and Josho Pat Phelan at the Regulator Bookshop (independent! in Durham, NC) in May. Zoketsu gave a talk at Red Cedar Mountain and also did a reading and book signing at the Regulator for his new book, Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong (Shambala 2013).

Thanks to Mike McKillip for the photo.

Zoketsu and Josho

Zoketsu and Josho

For the first time in about 20 years, we had to hold our spring commemoration of Buddha’s Birthday inside on Sunday, May 5…rain threatened and temperatures were in the 50s. Nevertheless, we had our largest kid turnout perhaps ever – and the usual fantastic potluck to go with it afterward, with music provided by Kathleen and Tray Batson.

Usually outside!

Usually outside!

The kids did a great job of decorating....

The kids did a great job of decorating….

Josho gave a short talk, and then the kids regrouped for the procession (usually through the woods) into the zendo and offered incense to the baby buddha and poured a ladleful of sweet tea to bathe him. The adults followed afterwards.

Buddha received offerings of a cupcake (with lots of add-ons), sweet tea, and strawberries, which we had also enjoyed during the ‘strawberry meditation’ with Josho before the ceremony.

This event involves much organization and labor, so thanks to all! especially the parents, parent coordinators, and everyone involved in the ceremony. It’s the most sangha-centric day of the year – more photos to come.

On March 17, 2013, at Red Cedar Mountain Temple, Mary Johnston, Katsuhiko Murata, and Noriko Murata received the precepts in the ceremony of Staying Home and Accomplishing the Way. Thanks to Maura High for photographing the ceremony while the Ino accomplished her function…..

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On Sunday October 14, 2012, on a beautiful fall day, the Chapel Hill Zen Center sangha and friends celebrated our new temple space, built during the spring and the summer through the efforts of many.

We had a two part ceremony, the first an “Eye Opening” for the large buddha figure now in the room, empowering the figure, and then a dedication of the space itself. The ceremonies started and ended with a procession, and offerings of light, bows, fruit, cake, tea, incense, and words.

During the Eye Opening ceremony the assembly chanted the Ten Epithets of Buddha while the Abbess used a paint brush to open the eyes of the figure: Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offerings, Fully Enlightened One, Complete in Wisdom and Practice, Well-Gone One, The Knower of the Worlds, The Unsurpassed, Tamer of People, Teacher of Devas and Humans, World Honored Awakened One. 

We chanted the Heart Sutra and the Disaster-Preventing Sho Sai Myo Kichi Jo Dharani. And then we enjoyed warm sun and shared in the reception. Thanks to Robert Haake for these wonderful photos, and to all who participated and helped to make the ceremony so memorable.

Thanks to everyone in the ten directions, for your support of the project, and for your practice.

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