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Zazenkai: A Day of Zen
Join us on Saturday May 7, 2022
Spring Zazenkai, A Day of Zen
Led by Valerie Forstman in our virtual zendo
9am-Noon: Sit and dharma talk
1-3:30: Sit and Q&A
Suggested Cost is $50
or an amount you can reasonably afford
Scroll down to register
Valerie will continue the theme of Women in Zen, ancestors whose voices illumine the path and attune us to the wisdom and compassion they want to share.
Kongshi Daoren (ca 1050-1124) was a lay woman who devoted herself to practice and received dharma transmission. From a young age Kongshi wanted to be a nun but her parents would not allow it. They arranged a marriage of stature but after a time her husband let her return home. When her parents died, Kongshi asked her brother for permission to ordain. He held her to her filial duty to care for him. After all the males in her family died, she was finally free. Rather than entering a monastery, she opened a bathhouse near a monastery where she taught monks and lay people, anyone who came.
On the door to the entrance to the bath she wrote her teaching words:
Nothing exists, so what are you bathing?
If there is even the slightest bit of dust, where does it come from?
Say one profound sentence, then you can enter the bath.
The ancient spirits can only scrub your back;
How could I, the founder, illuminate your mind?
If you want to attain the state that is free from dirt,
You should first let all parts of your body sweat [make effort].
It is said that the water can wash off the dust,
Yet how can people understand that the water is also dust?
Even though you suddenly wipe out [the distinction between] water and dirt,
You must still wash it off thoroughly when you come here.
Weiju presents the essential Zen dilemma in single sentences—“Nothing exists, so what are you bathing?” or “What is this fleeting life, and how do we live it?”—and connects it to her livelihood of running the bath house.
She took her work in the world, the bathhouse, and transformed it into a Zen crucible.
Zen teaches that everything changes, that nothing exists in the way that we think it does; why take a bath or why offer a bath? If these impermanent bodies have no inherent self, then what are we doing with them? What is our relationship to our bodies and to our lives? Most of us sleepwalk through this problem—ignoring the deeper question of what this life means.
For those new to the practice of an intensive Zen retreat, a Zazenkai or Day of Zen is a perfect opportunity to experience the fruits of extended sitting. One day dedicated to practice: sitting with others online, following the schedule, receiving guidance—all offer support for taking your practice to a new level. For longtime practitioners, Zazenkai is a chance to plunge into the heart of practice and find yourself at home, as a person of the way.
Join us on Saturday May 7 – together – we will create our own Zen crucible for transformation.