Wednesday, April 29, 2009

After a couple of long weeks…

First, the bad news was the total crash of the computer that required a reinstall of the OS and all of the Program Files. It was actually a bit more of a pain in the ass than that because I keep the OS, applications, and user files all on separate hard drives, and, well let’s just say that Windows does not make it easy to do that. So reinstalling all of the applications, then making Windows aware, that there are, in fact, files on one of the hard drives, plus the 100+ updates, well, let’s just say it took awhile to get everything close to being done. Still have a few apps to get reinstalled, but everything that is necessary is good to go.

This past weekend was good, had a nice retreat at Zen, and also had the AA tri-county conference. Did the Zen thing on Friday and Sunday and the AA thing on Saturday. I don’t think my head hit the pillow any of those days before 1:00 AM and had to be at the locations by 7:00AM each day. Exhausting, but well worth the effort.

Speaking of effort, we will be making mala’s at Zen this Friday. Jay and I will be there at 2:00PM to start cranking them out, we know that Paul has made a request, so we will have the opportunity to send him some while he is deployed to Iraq for his tour. I’m thinking a nice hematite one for him, maybe with some obsidian, have to give that a bit of thought. The poor boy never got to see any of my mala creations, so he should be in for a treat, I do have the ability to put together some very nice pieces.

Oh, and did I mention that I will be roasting up some coffee for the mala fest? Can't spend all those hours making mala's without some fresh roasted coffee now can we?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Peace Vigil Class Starts Tuesday

On Tuesday, April 21 Master Teachers Tony and Linda Somlai will be holding a class covering Tony’s latest book, Peace Vigil: Living Without Hesitation. The class is being held at the Original Root Zen Center in Racine, WI. Doors will open at 6:30 PM with the class starting at 7:00PM.

The goal of this book is simple, to achieve a state of world peace within our lifetimes. Ok, once you stop laughing and catch your breath, the real focus of the class and book is simple, to give us the tools to live simply and peacefully with those around us.

The book itself is 108 passages and exercises. Each one starts with a single word that is the focus. It is followed by the concept, presented as a poem or verse. This is followed by the heart of the teaching, typically only one or two sentences. Then comes a more verbose description of the problem and solution with everyday examples that illustrate the topic. Finally there is the exercise. The exercises will ask you to do something on your own or with someone else. They may ask to think about things that have happened and have you take a different look at them. They may ask you to pay attention to something during the day or bring focus to certain actions.

The class itself will go more into discussions on the concepts and expand on how we can apply what is in the book in our everyday lives. If you enjoyed the book, then you owe it to yourself to check out the class.

I remember a teaching that Tony gave years ago, I’m pretty sure that I am butchering it, but this is more or less the idea behind it:

Most people mistakenly say that the opposite of war is peace. This is incorrect. The opposite of war is “not war.” It is incorrect to think that not fighting is peace. Not fighting is just that, not fighting.

Peace is action. It is making the effort to understand, to love, to hope, to help, and to work together. Peace is about building community with all of these. This effort starts at home, with your neighbors, your block, your street, your city. Very few people can even achieve the first two. World peace? Ha! I will be happy with world at “not war” and strive for peace on my block. If enough people get together and start from here, eventually those blocks will connect…a person can dream, right?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Peace Pantry

Opening of the Original Root Zen Center’s Peace Pantry

The Peace Pantry, Racine’s newest food bank, will officially open with a blessing ceremony on Thursday, April 16 at 7 PM. The Peace Pantry is located at the Original Root Zen Center on the DeKoven grounds in the East Building. The entrance is on Wisconsin Avenue.

The ORZC’s Master Teachers Tony and Linda Somlai and Elder Reverend Senior Teacher Sue Jaimes will take part in the blessing of the new pantry. While the ceremony is free and open to the public, donations of a non-perishable item would be gratefully accepted. A shared, simple meal will be provided by the ORZC at 5:30 PM preceding the ceremony.

The Peace Pantry is available to help our Racine community not just during these troubling economic times, but whenever help is needed. In addition to non-perishable food items we will also have a limited supply of perishable items (cheese, butter, meats for example) as well as household and personal items that will be made available to people in need of these items.

Please contact Bethany Zimpel at 262-939-7861 or email to request more details, if you plan on attending Thursday, April 16th or if you or someone you know is in need of help.

The Peace Pantry is part of ORZC’s effort to help members of the community as a whole. Since we do not get too many strangers at our doors, when the shelves get too full, items will be added to our regular donations to other food pantries that exist in community.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration

Wednesday was fortunate for Doug. Doug is a fairly new guy at Zen and I don’t think he knows about chanting practice at 6:30 PM before the 7:00PM meditation practice. I say he is lucky because this was the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it was teachers meeting night. That leads to me chanting by myself. For those of you who (fortunately) don’t know, my voice sounds like a cat in a blender. We did the hour of meditation practice then went downstairs to help fold newsletters.

Jump forward to Sunday and we had our Buddha’s Birthday celebration. Doug did show up, so it was nice to see a fairly new person show up. The abbot performed his poem, with his brother accompanying him on a drum. One of the funniest things I have heard in quite some time. After that it was downstairs for some grazing.

The community room was pretty full of people laughing, grazing, and sipping coffee, Papua New Guinea in fact. Everyone brought in birthday presents for the Zen Center, so the place is stocked for awhile. Heck, I brought weather stripping for the door. Not good when the door is closed and you can see daylight! Especially in Wisconsin where we had a light snowfall today!