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.
Talk given by Lee Shields – May 12, 2013
Welcome to those of you new to Three Treasures (TTS), to Zen, and welcome to all my old friends in the dharma, joining again for a day of Zazen – Zen meditation. In my talk today I wanted to specifically offer an introduction to this practice of Zen that has meant much to me in my life. While my remarks are intended for people new to our group or new to Zen, I will leave it to old friends to see if you can find anything of use to you as well. I think there is some value to sometimes reflect on things we’ve done for a long time to note the motivations we have now taken for granted. Motivation is important too, even if the information is not new.
I’d like to touch on two general topics: How do we practice Zen, why do we practice Zen. Let me start with how.
Three Treasures Sangha (TTS) is hosting an introduction to Zen meditation for new and experienced students. The day-long retreat will include guided and silent mediation, a talk, and lunch. It will be held on May 12th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Dharma Gate (our zendo) located at 1910 24th Ave. S. in Seattle.
Amidst the downpour,
Sitting drenched and solitary–
The red umbrella
–written by Larry Keil, 2013
Hakuin Zenji said, “They translated prajna as wisdom. All people have it. No one’s excepted. It’s faultlessly perfect in each one of us…” [Dokugyo Shingyo: Acid comments on the Heart Sutra]
We go to extraordinary lengths to arrange our lives around this practice. We come to the zendo and sit, hear the Dharma as recorded and passed down for centuries. But it all comes down to this: this inexplicable thing we are looking for – It… is… here. Not just in this building or this room or in the presence of this group, but wherever you are, at any time of day or night, in the midst of any activity, no matter how old you are, how smart or dumb you are, no matter at all – it’s the here that matters: the practice of allowing and acting from this . . . presence that is before thinking and before – or rather, right in the midst of – “things.” Everything we try that misses this view just keeps us stuck, striving and dissatisfied, looking for something else. Something – “else”! The first definition of “else” in the dictionary is “other.” That’s why the Coincidence of Opposites says, “Don’t meet another in the darkness . . . don’t observe another in the light.” No “other,” no “else.” In actuality there is no other to find. And this is why failure is a friend.
Here is the complete listing of the opportunities to practice Zen with Three Treasures Sangha in 2013. Of note: there will be three, more intensive (longer) Zazenkai’s with Jack Duffy Roshi; and new teachers Lee Shields and Madelon Bolling will be leading monthly zazenkais and be present on one Wednesday evening per month.
Jack Duffy’s sesshin teishos are now available on on mountinlamp.org. If folks only have time to listen to one, please start with the talk “On Precepts” Please send comments as I am re-working some of the ideas in there.
Stare at a wall long enough
and it reveals itself.
The Flip Side of Camp Indianola
Doors open themselves and shut,
invisible fingers rattling the knobs,
the opposite of “good” children,
unseen but heard.
The giant fireplace of stones,
islands in the rough lagoons of mortar.
Faces rising from the rocks–
a British colonial in Kenya,
a buzzard’s gaping jaw;
Saint Theresa in a sad but fearful vision,
dark eyes and the open “O” of her mouth
from the slant of a great ape’s skull.
In the lone white rock
a man’s long Gaulic nose,
the one face that doesn’t change
even when the light shifts
the night inside the day.