Three Treasures Sangha
Three Treasures Sangha of the Pacific Northwest (TTS) is a lay Zen group located in Seattle, Washington and affiliated with the Diamond Sangha, an independent lineage founded by Robert Aitken Rōshi, a dharma heir in the Sanbō Kyōdan (Harada-Yasutani-Yamada) lineage. Read more about us here.
“We have to seek God in error and
forgetfulness and foolishness.”
— Meister Eckhart
I remember attending my first sesshin with Aitken Roshi in Hawaii as a younger man. I was drawn to be there because, well, it was Hawaii, but mostly because of Aitken’s encouragement, and my own deep questions about violence, injustice and suffering. However, after a few days I was sure I had made a great error. The rituals and chants were alien to me. The long hours of sitting wracked my body. The daily Dharma talks were incomprehensible. I had to forget everything I thought I knew about religion and prayer. Seeking advice about what to do with my confusion and resistance, Aitken encouraged me to “just hang in there”. Now, after years of muddling through amidst doubts and uncertainties, I can say, using a line from one of William Stafford’s poems, that I am grateful “for mistakes that worked so well.” Read more…
By Lee Shields
We are together involved in a great movement that is very personal to each of us, and is also playing out in countries around the world as we speak. Each of us is experimenting with the adaptation of an ancient monastic tradition to our busy lay lives. Even those of us who live or have lived in retreat settings for periods of time I suspect adapt in the interface with our modern world. Speaking for myself, I have no doubt already that this practice of silent meditation, whether done formally on a cushion here together, at home alone or with family, or in the act of doing my job and while speaking, enriches me. But when Madelon and I met to talk about what to bring as a focus for today’s Zenkai, we also recognized we are doing something difficult, and each of us has our own methods and wisdom that we might share together. Read more…
This Sunday, at Dharma Gate, please join Three Treasures Sangha for a zazenkai, day of sitting & a dharma talk.
The schedule will be:
9:00 Opening, Five Remembrances, Zazen
9:35 Zazen: Offering of selected lines of a reading from Dogen
10:30 Introductory words by Lee and/or Madelon, and discussion, Kinhin
12:30 Informal lunch (Soup, bread & cheese provided. Please bring sandwich fixings or other food to share.)
2:00 Zazen, Interviews
2:50 Closing, Great Vows
By Lee Shields
The Gateless Barrier, Case 6:
Once, in ancient times, when the World-Honored One was at Mount Grdbrakuta, s/he twirled a flower before her assembled disciples. All were silent. Only Mahakasyapa broke into a smile.
The World-Honored One said, “I have the eye treasury of right Dharma, the subtle mind of nirvana, the true form of no-form, and the flawless gate of the teaching. It is not established upon words and phrases. It is special transmission outside tradition. I now entrust this to Mahakasyapa.
This is an utterly simple story; in another context we could weave many explanations around it, but as a Zen koan, we know it directly points to essential nature. Read more…
Please join us this Sunday, October 26, for a special ceremony to initiate an area on the grounds that honors our root teachers, Robert Aiken and Thich Nhat Hanh, and members of our sanghas who have passed on. We will start with a half hour of sitting from 10:00 to 10:30 A.M. and then walk outside to the commemorative area, where stones will be placed for late members of MCPS and TTS. Members of their families have been invited to join us for this ceremony. Friends and families will be welcome to say a few words about our loved ones who have passed away. The regular Day of Mindfulness activities will continue after the ceremony. Please bring your own zafu for the sitting period as there may be quite a few folks in attendance.
On September 20 we begin our 7-day sesshin – an intensive meditation retreat with Jack Duffy Roshi. Sesshin is a wonderful opportunity to deepen practice with seven days of silent meditation, teishos and dokusan (talks and individual meetings) with Jack. In sesshin, we pick up practice early in the morning, and carry it with us in formal sitting, chanting, eating, and rest periods through the day. The ritual is all designed to support practice in all activities without distraction.
If you haven’t done sesshin with TTS before and want more information, feel free to send me an email or give me a call on the TTS phone line. I encourage all to join full or part-time if you can take the opportunity.
Click here to download the sesshin application.
By Madelon Bolling
This piece was originally given by Madelon as a dharma talk
at the Three Treasures Sangha zazenkai on June 8, 2014.
[Note: Daio Kokushi is a dharma name. Daio means “great Yes,” “great affirmation,” or “great response.” Kokushi is the Japanese version of a Chinese term meaning “national teacher,” pronounced like the English “coke-she.” The middle “u” is silent.]
In his verse, “On Zen,” Daio Kokushi (1235-1309) wrote, “There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth.” We often recite this fairly automatically, so today I’d like to consider it with more respect. “Respect” just means “to look again,” and this morning we’ve been looking again at this line: even prior to heaven and earth.
“Heaven and earth” might mean everything we know and everything we dream about. We know about “Earth” and its associated experiences of toil, trouble, confusion, and death. We dream about “Heaven” and the possibility of experiencing peace, light, joy, and eternal life. But students of Zen are not in the business of relating to mythical places, so what would Daio Kokushi intend by even mentioning “heaven” when writing about a deeper reality? Read more…