New Year's Greetings from the Teachers

Yaza at Rohatsu   Photo by Marlee Hosho Ross

                    Dear sangha friends,

Once again this year on New Year’s Eve the zendo was full to capacity with people who chose to begin the New Year by sitting in community, renewing their aspiration to cultivate peace in their hearts, families, communities and world.  We can take heart that so many people all over the world are refusing to bow to fear and discouragement in the face of the greed, hatred and ignorance that continue to cause so much suffering. So many people in small and large-scale ways are choosing to speak and act to make a difference, to nurture the beautiful diversity of life on this planet.

Our practice of the Buddha Way is certainly not the only way that supports living a life of non-harming and of benefit to others. But at the turning of the year, as the lengthening days stir an ancient sense of wonder in us, it’s a good time to reflect on what we value most, and how our practice gives us the capacity and resilience to be true to our values. How amazing that the simple practice of paying scrupulous attention to our moment to moment experience opens us to the truth of our boundless interconnection with all beings. A simple practice, but it’s not easy! We all need the support of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

Please know that your sincere practice gives us the courage to continue. We look forward to another year of practicing together in community.

In gratitude with deep bows,

Myoshin Kate and Shinmon Michae

Words from the teachers

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Dear sangha friends,

We hope that today you have stood, walked, breathed, worked, even danced in the rain. The first thing I did after getting up was to go outside in the downpour and lower the plastic covering over our tomatoes (yes, in our climate they need protection from the rain). The air smelled so good, as though the earth, grass, and trees, had breathed a huge sigh of relief.

How we take for granted the basic elements that support our lives: earth, water, fire and air. Yet too much or too little of each, and we perish. On such intricately balanced systems our lives depend. When will we humans be humbled enough by earth systems we ourselves have disrupted to give them more care and respect?

In July, 26 participants attended our first Mountains and Waters Sesshin at Sea to Sky Retreat Center. We practiced outdoors much of the time, looking directly into the nature of mountains and waters, which is our nature.  Soon after that Michael and I spent two beautiful weeks hiking in the Rockies. We saw shrinking glaciers, forests recovering decades after wildfires, wildflowers past their peak but still lovely, Perseid meteors despite smoky haze, and an amazing array of mushrooms! We walked, looked, listened, and opened to the dharma of the mountains and waters. We hope you have received the wisdom and nourishment of earth-dharma over the summer, too.

Now that the rains have come, and the days are growing shorter, it is time to return to the zendo and sit together in stillness, study dharma, and apply our practice in our everyday lives. Fall Practice Period is an opportunity to strengthen and intensify our practice with the support of community. We want to encourage you to read the Practice Period Guide and Schedule and consider how you might like to participate.

Warm bows,

Myoshin Kate McCandless and Shinmon Michael Newton

 

Stanley Glacier, Kootenay National Park

Mountain Rain's Annual General Meeting

 On June 14 Mountain Rain Zen Community held its Annual General Meeting, following a half-day retreat and potluck lunch. After the formal AGM we had a sangha discussion about our vision for the future of our practice community. If you were unable to attend, the minutes of the meeting, the membership report, the activities report, and notes from the discussion are available for download below. We welcome your contributions to the discussion if you’d like to send them in to info@mountainrainzen.org

AGM Minutes

2014 Membership Report

2014 Activities Report

2015 Sangha Discussion Notes

 

Buddha’s Birthday

Decorating the flower pavilion

 The baby Buddha in his flower pavilion

The baby Buddha in his flower pavilion

Thank you to all the children who attended our Buddha’s Birthday celebration this year and enriched it for all of us by helping to decorate the flower pavilion and making the story of the Buddha’s birth a wonderful pageant. And thanks to the grown-up actors, too. We even had baby Misha to play the part of the baby Buddha! 

Maha Maya and the baby Buddha after his birth under a tree

photos by Barbara Everdene

April Earth-Care Month Report

 Mandala from The Work that Reconnects workshop March 28   photo by Ann Gillespie

Mandala from The Work that Reconnects workshop March 28   photo by Ann Gillespie

Thank you to everyone who participated in our April Earth-Care Month events, and who gave extra consideration to your practice of mindful awareness and wise action in your relationship to the complex earth systems that support our lives. And thank you to all those who contributed items to our Earth-Care Flea Market and who “bought” items from it. Along with donations from our Earth Day Ceremony, we raised  $200 which will go to Hives for Humanity, a local organization that supports urban bees and beekeepers. Thank you to Heather Talbot for her beautiful bee art that graced our donation table for Earth Day.