Zen People Cling to *Nothing* (except Retreat Schedules)

Hey Everyone,
I just wanted to give everyone an update. Our Glorious and Most Highly Esteemed and Lauded Teacher (Dave) has descended from the Tuisa Heaven from on High and bestowed on us the most sought and prized of all the Dharma Treasures: A Retreat Schedule!
You will notice much needed yoga has been added to this schedule (your knees and back will thank him) and there are no 50 minute sits! What a relief!
One caveat though: Dave says “I reserve the right to modify before it all goes down”.
And as Nat said “Dave is the star of this medicine show”.
So you are warned: The Universe is Subject to Change!

Also I’m doing a bit about the koans of the Middle East and Central Asia which all star one somewhat foolish semi-mythical mufti: Nasreddin. That’s tonight at 7pm in case you want to drop by.

We are all still meeting after the horrors of Black Friday, this Saturday at 7am. We’ll be dusting off  Old Path White Clouds for those of you interested in hearing a certainly mythologized life of the Buddha. They’ll be coffee and excellent Mexican cookies (thanks, Alonso!).

I’m pumped about the retreat, y’all. Hit me up on Messenger or email info@nashvillezencenter.org for any questions you have.
~ Steph


Early Winter Retreat

Friday Night, November 30th
4 - 5 set up
5 - 5:45 dinner
6pm - 7:30 zazen & kinhin (3 x 25)

Saturday, December 1st
6am - 6:30 tea
6:30 - 7:30 zazen & kinhin (2x25)
7:30 - 8 morning service
8 - 8:45 - breakfast
8:45 - 9:30 - samu
9:30 - 10:30 - yoga
10:30 - 12:50 zazen & kinhin (3x40)
1- 1:45 lunch
1:45 - 2:45 talk
2:45 - 4:15 zazen & kinhin (3x25)
4:15 - 5:15 - yoga
5:15 - 6 - talk
6:15 - 7 dinner
7 - 8:30 zazen (3x25)

Sunday, December 2nd
6am - 6:30 tea
6:30 - 7:30 zazen & kinhin (2x25)
7:30 - 8 morning service
8 - 8:45 - breakfast
8:45 - 9:30 - samu
9:30 - 10:30 - yoga
10:30 - 12:50 zazen & kinhin (3x40)
1- 1:45 lunch
1:45 - 2:45 talk
3 pm - jukai
Zazen: silent meditation
Kinhin: silent walking meditation (all sitting periods are broken up walking periods)
2X25: two rounds of 25 minute sits
Tissarana: closing chant of most zen centers; the three refuges in Pali
Samu: silent cleaning- a key aspect of zen retreats
Jukai: a ceremony in which someone officially joins the group (sanga)


The Early Winter Retreat

Hey y’all,

I finally got my act together and got the retreat info and press published. Here are the dets:

The retreat is from Friday, November 30th, at 4pm until Sunday, December 2nd, at 4pm. (That’s the weekend after Thanksgiving for y’all playing the holiday-social-obligation game like me).

$200 smackers gets you the full retreat with sitting on Friday evening, all day Saturday, and on through until Sunday afternoon along with overnight accomodations at the beautiful Penuel Ridge.

$75 for one day of sitting. There will be three square meals a day. Eat with us any time you are there. The rumor is that we will be doing low-key oryoki (zen formal dining).

What will we do? Well, sitting of course! But also some hiking, some yoga, and tons of zany zen fellowship. They’ll be a jukai at the end wherein we formally induct Adam into this crazy thing we do together.

And DAVE CUOMO IS COMING BACK TO LEAD IT. That’s right. *That* Dave. *Our* Dave. He’s fully a Zen Priest properly schooled and trained with a ton of relevant things to say.

He’s the main selling point of the whole retreat for me. That and I don’t want to miss an opportunity to get my head straight before the holidays. That’s a big benefit too.

Where can you register? Why, right here! RegOnline.com/EarlyWinterZen

Want more info? I made a page on our site especially for it! Feel free to share the flyer:

Shoot me any questions at info@nashvillezencenter.org

Sit with you soon everyone!


This Week in Zen: 10,000 Buddha-Lands in One Drop of Water

Tonight at 7pm: I’ll be read bits and pieces of Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra in which Dogen states “The place where water exists is already beyond past, present, and future and beyond the world of dharma.”

The thing meanders a lot but I’m gonna try to boil it down to the mind-blowing bits that really get to the point: Nature is the best testament to the Buddhadharma there could ever be.  Maybe, even better than the historical Buddha himself. And while I’m being a incongruous gadfly, I might even go to into why we might not need to lose our shirts about Dogen himself (I know. Aren’t I being so rebellious? LOOK AT ME.)
Saturday at 7am: Three Rounds of sitting, the Heart Sutra service, skyping with Sensei.

Ever wanted to have one of those old dudes in fancy robes that appear on the back of Buddhist books to answer your most vexing questions? Whelp, here’s your chance! We are skyping with Sensei, Michael Elliston Roshi- the abbot of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center, after all of our usual rigmarole at 9:10 am. Come with your questions ready as I will be giving them to Sensei in a kind of talk show hostess style. Please bring difficult questions as they most often lead to the most vibrant discussions.
Plans are moving ahead for the Early Winter Retreat at Penuel Ridge (Friday Afternoon 11/30 to Sunday Afternoon 12/2). I hope to have the full details (a fleshed out schedule and place to register) posted by next week.
Hey, do what you can to take in all of this fall splendor. I do sincerely agree with Dogen that Nature is the best teacher when to comes to seeing reality for what it is.  Plus, fall isn’t just for basic white girls like myself to enjoy, you know?

~ Steph


Zen This Week: Zen One-on-One and Zen 101

Tonight @ 7pm: Nat’s back and offering dokusan tonight (you know the thing where you go in the backroom ostensibly to talk about your practice but always wind up talking about your personal problems {wait...aren’t those kinda the same things?}). So if you wanna go in-depth about your practice with one person, now’s your lucky break.

I’ll also be reading from writings of our guiding teacher’s teacher, Masuoka and why he says the ultimate authority can’t be found on the outside but it’s not quite an inside job either. Some days I think we should just rebrand and call ourselves “Paradox International”.
This Saturday at 7am: OUTDOOR SITTING!

Kinda: We’ll be in under a roof in case of rain. Show up at Shelter 8 at Edwin Warner Park to observe Fall Weather in all of its splendor. They’ll be coffee, grub, and in honor of the occasion, readings from the Mountain and Rivers discourse by Dogen.

Fun! Click here for a google map that will take you right to the joint:

And if you possibly can, please throw $25 on the paypal so we can keep doing these silly escapades: http://nashvillezencenter.org/donate/

(Just to be clear, no sitting at Gallatin Pike, this Saturday. We are going all in at the outdoor sit in Edwin Warner Park!)


Speaking of silly escapades, Dave and I have been talking about our upcoming retreat at Penuel Ridge (Friday Afternoon, 11/30 til Sunday Afternoon, 12/2). Expect round-table koan discussion, yoga breaks, relaxed oryoki (i.e. zen eating). I am very much excited about it. More on all that soon.

~ Steph


Zen This Week: I’m So Metta Even This Acronym ...

Tonight @ 7pm: Two Rounds of Sitting then talkin’. What we talking about? The Metta Sutra and how the Metta Sutra might be the most Meta of all the Sutras. So come see what all this silliness is about.

Saturday @ 7am: Three Rounds of Sitting then the Heart Sutra Service. Then what else? Whatever you guys wanna within your own limits, of course. But I half suspect that it’s going to boil down doing the book study. So join us in our petty squabbles over what possibly made-up people did or didn’t do way back over two thousand and five hundred years ago … supposedly. It’s always amusing and, in it’s own humble way, illuminating.
Remember, we are having an Outdoor Sit at Edwin Warner Park Saturday after next (10/20). It will be at Shelter 8 from 7am until whenever we don’t wanna anymore (you know how we do). I’ll post the address next week so keep your peepers peeled.

Also, Sensei did agree to Skype with us again this month, Saturday October 27th. He said that he wanted it to be a Q&A format. So if you ever fantasized about pestering a real life Zen Master with your burning quandaries, now’s your chance.

Questions? Shoot ‘em my way: info@nashvillezencenter.org.

Metta Lurves
~ Steph