2018 has been a year of growth, steady deepening of practice, and many important accomplishments. President Tricia McFarlin shares some of the news with everyone.Read More
Bruce McMills, member of Zen Center for more than 20 years, died Saturday morning, December 15, in the arms of his wife Molly.
Bruce was instrumental in establishing the welcoming feeling that is still the Houston Zen Center way. Bruce always reached out to new visitors, warmly welcoming all seekers.
We will miss him very much. We will hold the 49 day ceremonies for Bruce, whose dharma name Zen Heart, Growing in the Way, is a tribute to his loving heart, his deeply generous nature.
For 49 days we will invite the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to watch over Bruce in this important time of transition.
Cards of condolence are welcome; please contact Joy in the office for the address.
December 9, 2018, Rohatsu Sesshin came to a beautiful conclusion with the ceremony honoring Shakyamuni Buddha’s Enlightenment. Sitting together, gathering the mind, practicing intensively together, encourages all the participants to go deeper into Zen practice.
We dedicated the effort of the sesshin to peace in the world, and to benefit all the members and friends of Houston Zen Center during this season of the year.
Dharma Talks by Abbot Gaelyn, Shuso Hondo Dave Rutschman, and visiting senior member Lynn Snow, are available online.
On October 1, our Abbot, Konjin Gaelyn Godwin was appointed the new Director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center. She is both the first woman and the first Westerner to hold this position. As a part of her new role, she will travel to Zen Centers and monasteries throughout the North and South America, and Japan, giving talks and offering teachings. Deep bows and congratulations to Gaelyn Roshi.
Her appointment was also recognized In the San Francisco Zen Center newsletter and in “Lion’s Roar” magazine.
Our newest member, Eleanor Lou, was born July 26, weighing in at 6 lb 9 oz, to Clayton and Elizabeth Garrett and big brother Olin. There were some complications, but all is well, and we’re counting our fingers and toes until we get to meet her!
ACT AGAINST SUFFERING Curated by the Kaleidoscope Group updated 11/26/18
Wed. 11/28 – Houston Green Film Series presents “Living the Change: Inspiring Stories for a Sustainable Future” – “Living the Change explores solutions to the global crises we face today – solutions any one of us can be a part of - ...” Rice Cinema, Rice University Entrance #8 at University & Stockton. 6:30 – 9 PM. FREE.
Thurs. 11/29 – “Climate Justice: The Time is Now, The Place is Here” with Elizabeth Yeampierre, ED, UPROSE, In conversation with Bryan Parras, co-founder of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Series (T.E.J.A.S.) and Dirty Fuels Gulf Organizer with Sierra Club. 7 PM, 3900 Yupon St., 77006. Sign up at rothkochapel.org or call 713-660-1403.
Thurs. 12/6 – Traffic Stop: A Routine Encounter Takes a Bad Turn. 2017 Academy Award Nominee (Documentary, Short Subject). Presented by the UH Hobby School Project Civitas, this documentary is the story of 26 year-old Austin teacher Breaion King, an African American stopped for a routine traffic violation that culminated in his arrest. Discussion with Mr. King after the film. 7 PM at the Emancipation Cultural Center, 3018 Emancipation Ave., 77004. Free & open to the public.
Harris County Animal Shelter – needs help Dec. 1, 8, & 15 with their mobile clinic that takes veterinary care out to communities. Contact Jessica Hernandez at 832- 289-3083 or email email@example.com
Sat. 12/8 - Human Rights Day Celebration: A Walk in the Woods. Bring family & friends to this festival and walk in observance of Human Rights Day. 10:30-1:00 PM. Town Green Park, The Woodlands, 2099 Lake Robbins Dr., 77380.
Mon. 12/24 – City Wide Club, Christmas Super Feast. Help to serve a hot meal to thousands of our fellow Houstonians, who will also have the opportunity to receive clothing, toys, flu shots, and medical exams. Sign up for morning or afternoon shifts. Call 713-752-2582 or citywideclub.com/super-feast.html.
Meals on Wheels – HEIGHTS DISTRIBUTION SITE - near HZC at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 1811 Heights Blvd. Volunteer drivers are needed to deliver hot lunches to seniors in the neighborhood M-F. More information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston Food Not Bombs, with support from A Well-Fed World continues efforts to provide healthy vegetarian and vegan food to those in need. Donate here. VOLUNTEER - Come to 521 Lamar 77002 (Downtown Library Courtyard) Mon., Wed., Fri. 8pm, & Sun. 7pm. Bring vegetarian or vegan food or just bring yourself! We have bowls & spoons.
Rev. Gyōzan Royce Johnson attended an important, amazing gathering in New York October 19-21, 2018. Good friend and fellow Houston dharma teacher Rev. Myokei Caine-Barrett also attended. Stay tuned for the next gathering, to be held in California in October, 2019.
Rev. Gyozan Royce Johnson has returned from his training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. He is in residence at the Center and will be available to provide Zen training and friendly help for all visitors to HZC. Welcome back Royce!
New Action Opportunities are posted, including key voting dates!
Check them out and see if anything seems useful or interesting!
Elections and Voting Dates
Last Day to register to vote – Tuesday, October 9
How to register to vote, or go to https://www.hctax.net/voter/Registration
Early Voting Begins – Monday, October 22 through November 2
Text VOTE to 832-558-8306 for closest early voting location. Information provided in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin & Arabic
Locations for early voting or go to harrisvotes.com
Election Day – Tuesday, November 6
Find your Election Day polling location and sample ballot, or go to harrisvotes.com
Required identification for voting in person
Our Abbot, Setsuan Gaelyn Roshi has traveled recently to New York to offer dharma talks at Fire Lotus Temple in Brooklyn, Village Zendo in Manhattan, and to attend the Soto Zen Buddhist Association meeting at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, New York.
All the sanghas send their greetings back to the Houston Zen Center sangha!
Our Abbot, Setsuan Gaelyn Roshi has been involved and active as usual, both inside the temple and in outside activities.
Some of those recent activities include:
Hosting for a second time the annual meeting of the American Zen Teachers Association, which met at our temple July 18-22. Zen teachers from all over the United States meet to discuss ideas and issues important to American Zen Buddhist teachers from the Soto, Rinzai, Korean, Diamond, and Harada-Yasutani lineages of Zen.
She just completed leading Sangha week at Tassajara. Participants included six practitioners from our Sangha as well as eight practitioners from other Sanghas around the country. It was such a wonderful experience for everyone that she plans to do it again next summer. The dates will be June 9-14, 2019.
Along with Tim Schorre, Gaelyn Roshi continues her work of sharing the Dharma at one of the prisons in Huntsville. At the last meeting 54 prisoners attended, learning about meditation and Buddhist principals.
Our Abbot has been asked to speak on behalf of the North American Soto Zen Buddhist Association at two Zen centers in New York: Village Zendo, led by Enkyo O’Hara Roshi in Manhattan; and Fire Lotus Temple in Brooklyn, led by Shugen Arnold Roshi.
Thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of Auspicious Cloud Temple and all sentient beings.
Check out the new volunteer board on the kitchen wall! See if you have room for taking on one of the many delightful volunteer tasks of our thriving practice place. The procedure is simple: choose a task, find a time when the temple is open (weekday times: Monday through Thursday 9:30 to 11:30 or make arrangements for other times once you understand the task), and check with Joy, our Volunteer Coordinator, if you need guidance.
For some volunteer tasks, we’ll provide a brief orientation. Once you complete a task, move the tab to the bottom of the board.When people come to our temple, they often comment on how clean and orderly it is. At HZC, all but a few of the roles in the temple and grounds are done by volunteers. This work is done moment by moment by many different people, sometimes during Sunday soji practice (temple cleaning) and sometimes at other times when someone comes and turns the compost, another bodhisattva picks up and delivers the mulch needed for our seasonal garden care, and someone else straightens the brochures on the foyer table.
The process of working together and caring for the temple is an intimate part of our practice. Yes, we take care of tasks, we get things done, but the practice-mind of noticing what arises in each action, noticing our habit energy related to work, and bringing our mind back again and again to the exquisite moment of the very present task before us—this training helps us carry our Zen practice into the world.
Gayle Klaybor is the new co-Tanto (Head of Practice) at Zen Center! Gayle's deep and dedicated Zen practice will benefit everyone. She and Louise Dreyfus are the co-Tantos, co Heads of Practice. You are encouraged to meet with either of them to discuss practice.
Welcome to Gayle!
Glen Duval, our long-time co-Tanto is stepping down from the position and will relocate to Santa Fe, NM for most of each year. He will remain available for Practice Discussion when he is in Houston, and also by remote communication means (phone, video). Thank you Glen!
Louise continues as co-Tanto and, along with Gayle, the Abbot, and the Practice Committee, will provide steady guidance for the practice of Zen Center friends and members.
Hearing a bell ring each morning, we got up, put on our zendo clothes, and walked in the chilly dawn to the zendo. Designed by Paul Discoe and built as a temporary zendo after a fire many years ago, this zendo couldn't be more of a sanctuary for the ceremony of zazen followed by service. We formed an instant sangha, six of us from the Houston Zen Center, six more from various California sanghas, one from Austin, and one from Puerto Vallarta. With the guidance of our Abbot Gaelyn Godwin Roshi, we coalesced into a loving and supportive sangha, sitting, working, hiking, and enjoying the pleasures of camaraderie.
Sangha Week is intended as a time to deepen practice, form connections, and enjoy the rejuvenation that comes with connection to nature. After breakfast each morning, we stood in a work circle with sixty or more other people, received tasks in the kitchen, the garden, the cabin crew, or other areas. In each of these work areas, we began with a short service and then mid-morning, we would stop, gather in a circle, and read and discuss Zen texts, in the kitchen reading from Dogen's Advice to the Cook, for example.
Work ended at lunch each day for those of us in Sangha Week. After a refreshing nap or a plunge in the hot springs, our little group would meet for a hike, zazen and dokusan, or we would join other groups to hear lectures on subjects such as the six realms and ritual in everyday life. On one evening, we heard a poetry reading from Jane Hirshfield. Afternoons always gave us plenty of leisure time for a swim in the pool, a hike along the creek, more napping, or another plunge in the hot springs.
For dinner, we ate exquisitely prepared dishes, marveling at the skill of the tenzo who could cook for so many without losing the sense of caring for each guest personally. On the last full day there, a group of us walked along the beautiful winding creek to the Narrows and plunged into the icy water before lying on warm rocks to soak in the afternoon sunlight. We ended our time together astonished at the quick bonds we had formed. Those of us from the Houston contingent urged our new friends to come and visit our temple. We stood in a circle and shared our gratitude to our teacher for her generosity and to one another for our warm kindness.
The June sesshin focused on the teachings of Training in Compassion. Here are the folks who stayed and cleaned up the zendo afterwards -- enlightened Bodhisattvas one and all!
Zen Center is pleased to announce the ordination of Rev. Zengetsu Vicki Glenn and Rev. Sengetsu Tricia McFarlin by Abbot Gaelyn Godwin on Sunday, June 10. Many friends and family members celebrated this auspicious event. The new priests will continue to serve the sangha in countless ways.
The new refrigerator has arrived: it's spacious and fabulous! It is a commercial refrigerator, perfect for retreats (and everyday use, also). The new freezer will arrive a little later. These are made possible by all your generous donations to the appeal last year. Zen Center requested funds to repair the roof after Hurricane Harvey (accomplished: less costly than expected) and to replace the aged temple refrigerator with a new commercial one. This has now been accomplished. The total cost of the refrigerator and new freezer is just on target, at the low end of our estimate. Thanks to all who worked to research options (Joy T), inspect possibilities (Tim and Abbot Gaelyn), and then upgrade the wiring (Jose), build new shelves (Robert) move all the pots & pans (Jim and Tom), and move the unit into place (Brandon). But mostly, thanks to all of you for your ongoing generosity and love. The refrigerator is open for inspection anytime.
Abbot Gaelyn led the monthly meditation at the beautiful Rothko Chapel in April, surrounded by Mark Rothko's powerful art and a crowd of meditators. Here is an audio recording -- it includes meditation instructions along with a lot of meditative quiet! David Leslie, the newish director of the Rothko provides introductory remarks.