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Entries in EHZC (27)


Catherine's Hands

Catherine acts as doan during most of the morning sittings at EHZC, and I frequently sit on the cushion right across from her. Have spent hours with a soft gaze toward the floor right in front of the hands shown above. [NOTE: The doan is the person who rings the bell to mark the beginning and end of zazen. The beautiful bronze kesu (temple bell) that is rung is shown on the lower left].


Garden Hotei

So, the couple called Empty Hand Zen Center one evening and said that they had a Buddha statue that they wanted to donate and they were bringing it right over. Susan was the only one there to receive them. Turns out the statue was of Hotei, the Laughing Buddha, instead of a stately statue of Shakyamuni sitting in meditation that everyone would love to have in their Zen garden. Also turns out the the statue weighs a ton, and nobody could move it. So it sat in the EHZC parking lot for awhile until a bunch of strong Sangha members muscled it into the corner of the garden. Now, a year later, it is slightly hidden but much beloved by everyone who happens on it. [NOTE: The whole story makes a nice counterpart to a previous post (see Misplaced Hotei)].


Bathing the Buddha

Dennis Shofu Myozan Keegan (see Myozan and Teachers) ladles tea over a golden statue of baby Buddha as part of the celebration of Buddha's Birthday (see Happy Birthday) yesterday at the Empty Hand Zen Center. [NOTE: This is birthday number 2,545 for Prince Siddhartha Gautama].


Jizo and Amaryllis

Jizo (see Jizo Bodhisattva) and Amaryllis flower - well, technically it looks like Hippeastrum, but that's another story -  watching over the front door at the Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, NY. Two lovely sentinels. [NOTE: Photo was taken last year. Bloom is long gone. Strong teaching on impermanence].


25 Years

Participated in a beautiful ceremony at the Empty Hand Zen Center last weekend to commemorate 25 years of marriage. Photo above shows the original clay figure that was on top of our wedding cake, and a snapshot from the wedding in Jenaro Herrera, Peru (see Jenaro Herrera) on November 22, 1986 featuring (r-l) Christine Padoch (maid of honor), Elysa (bride), me (groom), Miguel Pinedo-Vasquez (best man), and Oscar Paredes (alcalde of Jenaro Herrera). The title of the book, The Wheel of Life, visible to the right on the book shelf, pretty much says it all (thx, Elysa).


Beth Goldring

Beth Goldring (smiling in the foreground) gave a talk yesterday at the Empty Hand Zen Center about her work with the Brahmavihara AIDS Program in Cambodia. Susan Ji-on Postal, teacher and founder of EHZC, is shown smiling in the background. [NOTE: Beth's talk was aptly titled "Gratitude Under Fire". The Cambodia government kicked out most of the foreign healthcare workers, but told the international assistance programs to keep the funds coming].


Sand Painting

As part of ArtFest 2011 in New Rochelle, the Empty Hand Zen Center hosted the participatory creation of a sand painting. I set up my camera on a tripod, hooked it to pClix intervalometer, and took a picture every 15 seconds during the sand painting. I then stitched together the 1237 images using the Image Sequence feature in Quicktime Pro 7. The result is shown above. Beautiful work of art. Powerful teaching on impermance.[NOTES: The sand painting was conceived, drawn, and directed by Carolyn Fuchs (thx, Carrie). The pClix intervalometer performed flawlessly].


Dosho Port

In April of 2009, Dosho Port visited the Empty Hand Zen Center to give a talk and promote his fine book, Keep Me In Your Heart a While. I introduced myself during dokusan, but when I later gave him a copy of his book to sign, he looked up at me, pen poised, with a questioning look on his face, i.e. what's your name? I gently replied, "It's still "Chuck". His inscription is shown below:


[NOTE: I still chuckle about this. What a wonderful teacher - and teaching. Haven't managed to get rid of Chuck, yet].



Andy Ferguson

Heard a fascinating talk last night at EHZC by Andy Ferguson, Chinese historian, translator, and author of the seminal Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings. His talk was about Bodhidharma, the 6th century Buddhist monk who is traditionally credited with bringing Zen, or Chán, to China. As he carefully outlined in his talk, there are quite a few more details and nuances to this event than previously recognized. 


Jukai 2011

In most years, a select group of Zen students at the Empty Hand Zen Center participate in a lay ordination ceremony, known as jukai in Japanese, where they formally accept the sixteen Bodhisattva precepts and vow to take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

The 2011 Jukai Ceremony was held last Sunday at EHZC for three students (shown below, l - r): Carolyn Fuchs, Bernard Rowen, and Fran Shalom. All are artists, dedicated Zen practitioners, and dear friends. The beautiful new rakusus (see Rakasu) they are wearing are inscribed on the back with the Dharma name they have just been given by their teacher, Susan Ji-on Postal. Which may be why they are smiling. I mean, really, how often do you get a new name?