All the teachings that have come down to us arise from this single fact, of emptiness…The fact, the reality, is single because it includes and encompasses all phenomena, all experience. In fact we might say the only experience it doesn’t include is itself.
Our regular weekly newsletters and the entire archive will be available on the website in the near future. Please visit us again and/or look for an announcement on our Home Page or check posts in the Category: General News & Announcements.
Below are some excerpts from our latest Newsletter, November 5, 2014. 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 5, 2014
Hello fellow sitters,
A chill is in the air and the days are shortening; an excellent time to join us for our full day sit this Sunday, November 9th. We’ll begin at 8.30am with yoga, and the sitting will start at 9am. We’ll close by 4pm.
Henry is back in town and is in the zendo at all regular sitting times for the next few weeks.
Blessings and love to all.
Our next Zazenkai will be held on Sunday, November 9th from 9 am to 4 pm. The cost is $25 for members of Mountain Cloud and $30 for non-members. Half day cost is $15. We will begin with Yoga at 8:30 am for those interested.
If you are new to Mountain Cloud or to Zen, a Zazenkai is a full day dedicated to zazen practice. It offers a wonderful way to deepen your encounter with the dharma.
Lunch will not be provided so please bring your own lunch. You can store your food in the refrigerator and, if needed, you can heat it in the microwave. Mountain Cloud will provide tea, coffee, fruit and light snacks.
To sign up, please email email@example.com. If you have any special needs, please let us know.
The cost does not include dana (gift) for the teacher. Please consider bringing dana, of any amount, as a practice in gratitude.
Please review our Calendar for Special Events & Retreats and our Weekly
COMMUNITY BULLETIN BOARD
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 NEED HELP!
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.
MESSAGE FROM HENRY
THE ZEN TEACHING OF EMPTINESS
The fundamental Zen teaching is of emptiness. All the teachings that have come down to us arise from this single fact, of emptiness.
Emptiness is a hopeless word though. It’s just a label. Buddha-nature, Buddha-dharma, essential, absolute, true reality, true self—these are also just labels. We don’t need to get caught up in whether we like them or not, since they have nothing to do with the reality they represent.
The fact, the reality, is single because it includes and encompasses all phenomena, all experience. In fact we might say the only experience it doesn’t include is itself.
Zen’s challenge and hope is to help us all come to a direct personal experience of this fact, since it’s only through direct experience that it can alleviate our distress and clarify our life. But it’s an inconvenient thing to have at the heart of an organization, since no one can predict if or when or how someone will come to a direct experience of it.
As Zen has at times in its history become more institutional and corporate, so the emphasis on seeing this reality directly has waned. The root of the Zen teachings gets lost, glossed over. Instead, the practice may become highly ritualistic, or overly literary, or claim that there is nothing whatsoever to it, or turn the teachings into a parlour discussion.
But the main trunk of our line of Zen, whatever its faults may be, has indisputably remained devoted to helping us all to clarify our own essential nature, who we really are, for ourselves.
It hasn’t as yet wavered from this mission. We are still guided by the deepest core of Zen training, which is the fundamental fact of all existence, as embodied and passed on in the koans.
Like it or not, we aren’t going to deviate from that, because what could be a better thing to do than to guide us all to reality?
Image: Water by Diggeo, from pixabay.com, CC0 Public Domain