Newsletter: November 20, 2014

The very Mahayana, the very reality, is just this waking up, drinking a cup of tea, driving the kids to school, going to work …


“Gloria dei homo vivens” … the glory of God is the living human being.

Below are some excerpts from our latest Newsletter, November 20, 2014, featuring Henry Shukman’s dharma teaching. Please signup for our newsletter by scrolling to the bottom of this page (see the box Subscribe below) OR scroll to the bottom of any other page on this site (see Subscribe/Connect).

Newsletter November 20, 2014

Greetings Friends,

Many thanks to everyone who has signed up for the Rohatsu sesshin for doing so in good time. It’s a great help. The place will be full but we are opening up a waiting list for anyone else who might want to join it.

On Sunday November 30 Sita Jamison will be with us for our regular 9am event. She will lead us in chant with her harmonium. See the Upcoming section below for more details.

Talk and interviews tonight. And more discussion of the precept against the misuse of sex this coming Sunday.

With thanksgiving to all…


Please forgive a bit of a garbled ramble… Basically, this being human, this is the full fact of the Mahayana. The great vehicle is busy being each of us. So, as it is you, me, she, he, each one of us, it is entirely, thoroughly here. So all is well, and easy and full and totally empty and complete all at once. “Gloria dei homo vivens” a friend quoted recently – the glory of God is the living human being.

The very Mahayana, the very reality, is just this waking up, drinking a cup of tea, driving the kids to school, going to work (to paraphrase Ruben Habito Roshi). But the point is – this is not an idea. Don’t think there is an insight or an understanding to get a hold of here.

Remember great master Hyakujo who said, “I am not a man of wisdom.” Its truth, its reality, comes alive only when we experience it as an actual living fact – now, here. That’s why Zen insists on “showing” and “presenting” and “becoming” a koan. Its concern is with our living experience, not with ideas. Ideas of Zen are “dead Zen,” or “skeletons in a field,” as Kyosei said. The thrust of this training is coming to full life.

Surely we all recognize that on some level whatever being alive is, it’s an incomparable fact like nothing else. Yet we suffer so much. And as a species we cause so much suffering. Why can’t we unwrap the gift of life and receive it, make the most of it, and appreciate it, and really taste it, and share it?

We can, says Zen. That’s why we practice.


Chanting with Sita Jamison. Our Sunday morning sit on November 30 will feature special guest, Sita Jamison. Sita will be playing the harmonium and leading us in chant.  All are welcome to celebrate this special time of Thanks Giving. Bring your voices, drums, shakers and bells!

Sita has been leading chanting in the US for the past 25 years, and also in Singapore, Ubud, Bali and India. She has performed with Krishna Das, Ram Dass and Baghavan Das. She started within the Hindu tradition of kirtan and then expanded out to all traditions to reach broader audiences. “Chanting is a devotional practice in that is makes conscious the longing in all of us to be united with the Beloved. Chanting is like dropping a vessel into a deep well and bringing up an overflowing source of nourishment. This nourishment of sound feeds the soul as water and food feed the body.”

Rohatsu: Our Rohatsu Sesshin begins Tuesday, December 2 at 6:00 pm and goes until lunch on Sunday December 7. This is a five day sesshin, and each day includes a teisho (dharma talk) and dokusan (private interviews).  Rohatsu is full!  If you would like to be on the waiting list, please email:  For those who have signed up for Rohatsu, look in your email inboxes for detailed information.


Three Treasures Prison Project Update: Each Thursday Pancho will be in Cabin 4 from 4–6pm sorting through papers connected with his work in the State Penitentiary here in Santa Fe. He would welcome any company. If you’d like to drop in and offer some help with the filing, and at the same time find out more about what he is doing in the prison, please feel free to just go ahead and join him in Cabin 4.


We could really use some help in two areas: various kinds of jobs around the zen center, and new members of the zendo team. Please contact us if you might be interested in knowing more about either.


We have various ongoing costs in running Mountain Cloud. Please consider making a donation to help it keep flourishing. As we are a non-profit organization, any gift is tax-deductible.

Image: Tea Plantation, by KaterJule CC0 Public Domain, from

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