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.
In the very midst of light, there is darkness;
don’t meet another in the darkness.
In the very midst of darkness, there is light;
don’t observe another in the light.
This doesn’t mean that we should all become hermits so we won’t see other people. Rather, our way of seeing and being in the world needs a slightly radical tune-up.
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.
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.