Weekly/Fortnightly Group Meetings
Every Tuesday from 7.30 - 8.30 am in my consulting rooms, 4/54 Wheatley Street, BELLINGEN
Every second Sunday from 10 am - 12 noon at the Sawtell CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, SAWTELL.
I will be facilitating a discussion group at both Bellingen and Sawtell more details +.
Individual Telephone Interviews
In 2019, I will be offering everyone who is interested, an opportunity for regular telephone interviews, every second Thursday evening, from between 7 - 9 pm more details.
Regular non-residential one day retreats will be held at Sawtell Zendo and two sesshins (residential retreats) will be held at Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre more details +.
Happy New Year! I am very excited about the program on offer for this year. Please check out the attached calendar.
This year we will be studying in detail my particular Zen teaching lineage. We will start in the first semester studying the work of Charlotte Joko Beck (my grandmother in the dharma) and following this we will be studying the work of Barry Magid (my father in the dharma). During the second semester we will also have a live dharma talk given by Barry with an opportunity for Q & A.
NEW: Discussion Group
This year I will be facilitating a discussion group for both the Bellingen Tuesday morning group and the Sawtell Sunday morning group. The discussion group will read and discuss selected chapters from Joko Beck in the first semester and Barry Magid in the second semester. My dharma talks will also reflect this structure.
The questions I want you to focus on for the first discussion group for this year are: What is not practice?, What is practice? & Why do I practice?
The discussion will begin with a reading of a chapter from Joko’s first book entitled "What practice is".
NEW: Individual Telephone Interviews
In the Zen tradition an individual relationship with a teacher has always been central to the direct transmission of the teaching. Although Life itself is the teacher we can always depend on, a relationship with an imperfect human teacher can be helpful at various stations along the way. This relationship is facilitated by attending private interviews with the teacher.
In 2019, I will be offering everyone who is interested, an opportunity for regular telephone interviews, every second Thursday evening, from between 7.00pm and 9.00pm throughout the year, commencing on the 31 January. The interviews will be a maximum of 15 mins and the purpose of the interviews is to focus on questions or issues relating to your practice. There will be six times available:
7 pm; 7.20 pm; 7.40 pm; 8pm; 8.20pm and 8.40 pm.
If the times are all taken you will be allocated the next available appointment time the following fortnight. Please email me to request a time and the best number to contact you on and I will email you back a time. I will ring you at approximately the time allocated.
NEW: Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre - Residential Retreats
I am very excited to announce that I have made a booking for two sesshins (residential Zen retreats) for 2019 to be held at Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre - May 10-12 and October 10-13.
Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre is situated midway between Coffs Harbour and Grafton on the Mid North Coast of NSW. Drive north past Woolgoolga or south past Halfway Creek and take the Yarrawarra/Red Rock turn off at Corindi Beach. Turn left on to Red Rock Road and follow the signs.
NEW: The Jikido’s Role
Please let me know if you are interested in learning the role of Jikido (leadership role). In Zen Buddhism, it is the job of the jikidō (直堂) to run the zendo according to the rules prescribed by the teacher, and maintain the zendo's schedule. The jikido makes a commitment to run every regularly scheduled sitting in Sawtell and each bi-annual sesshin. The jikido keeps time for the schedule, which is signalled using the gong and the bell, and leads the kinhin practice (walking meditation). The jikido also doubles as chant leader (more below).
A senior practitioner, other than myself, is especially needed for our residential retreats (sesshins), when I may not always be able to be present in the zendo. In traditional Sōtō Zen, the jikido is the one person, other than the teacher, who faces outward in the zendo instead of facing the wall. This is because the jikido's practice cannot be simply private or inward, but must always face outward, aware and responsive to what's going on in the zendo. The jikido's job is not just to facilitate the functioning of the zendo, the jikido embodies and exemplifies practice as functioning. And that is the functioning of no-self – of the forgotten self – that responds to each thing in turn, performs each function in turn without a thought of right or wrong or how am I doing or how do I look doing it.
If you have been with the group for over a year and you are interested in learning this role, please send me an email.
NEW: Zen Chants
This year I would like to introduce a small amount of chanting, starting with the Japanese En-mei Jukku Kannon Gyo to complement our fortnightly sutra reading service, chanted in traditional manner 3 times with Mokugyo keeping time. It will be the job of the jikido to lead the chant and keep the time. Immediately before it, the jikido reads a text that is a very loose translation of the Kannon sutra, that Gregg Howard (Ordinary Mind Zen Teacher in Brisbane) wrote several years ago. Gregg calls it the Verse of Universal Compassion:
Hearing the sounds of the world,
Awakening is right here now!
With this I am one;
With this I am at one with all.
At one with Awakened Mind,
Calm abiding and clear seeing arise, Eternal, joyful, pure.
In the light of morning I hold this;
In the darkness of evening I hold this.
Moment after moment the heart of compassion opens;
Moment after moment is nothing other than This.
We will also introduce chanting of the English translation of the Heart Sutra during sesshins.
NEW: Volunteers Required!
I do my best to make Zen teaching as freely available as possible but being a lay teacher, I also have a full-time therapy practice to run, hence, I often can’t get around to do everything I would like to do. It would be especially helpful if a few people could volunteer their time to enable these teachings to be freely available in the recorded talk format.
Last year I found it hard to keep up with writing a summary of my talks prior to them being uploaded onto my podcast and the webpage. Hence, there are many talks from last year that have not been uploaded because of this. It would be a great help if I could get volunteers to take on the task of writing a short summary of the unpublished dharma talks from last year and to do summaries of the new talks for this year. This would involve listening to the talk and then writing a short summary. The talk and the summary are then emailed to the Web Page coordinator.
Please get in touch with me via email if you are interested in volunteering for this task.
Suggested Dana (Donation) for Sawtell Sunday Morning Meetings
Given that we will be using the Sawtell CWA room for three hours of formal practice in 2019, the suggested dana for the Sunday Sawtell meetings (covering rent and other expenses) for 2019 will be $10. However, please note that dana is voluntary, and there is no requirement to pay any dana if this would prevent you from attending. Please only give what you can afford. We want to maintain the tradition of making the teachings as freely available as possible.
4/54 Wheatley Street, Bellingen
CWA Hall, 21 Elizabeth Street, Sawtell