New Year, New President of HZC

Laura Salazar-Hopps and Tricia McFarlin

Laura Salazar-Hopps and Tricia McFarlin

Happy New Year! New President of the Board, Laura Salazar-Hopps, assumes her responsibilities officially today, January 1. Tricia McFarlin, the outgoing President, will be standing by with support and continued participation on several committees. Zen Center is fortunate indeed to have the skilled leadership of two such talented, dedicated, and creative Zen practitioners.

Outgoing Board member Forbes Alcott will be much missed on the Board, but will continue his dedicated practice in other dimensions at HZC. Thank you Forbes!

Zack Becker and Eileen Dwyer are two new members of the Board of Directors. They are joining an awesome team. Thanks to everyone on the Board for your service. The on-going stability of HZC is a testament to the Board’s skill and dedication.

Forbes Alcott

Forbes Alcott

Eileen Dwyer

Eileen Dwyer

Zack Becker

Zack Becker

Tea with Zen Master Dogen

Tom Biddle

Tom Biddle

Mark your calendar for January 6 at 11:30

Tom Biddle will lead an exploratory meeting to prepare for a study of Dogen scheduled for February to March.

In order to prepare for his offering of a study of Dogen, the Soto Zen founder and a deep and challenging teacher of the Way, Tom Biddle has graciously offered to hold an introductory meeting to determine the interest of potential students of his class to be offered February 11 to March 11.

After a brief, general introduction to Dogen Zenji for all who are interested, an open discussion will identify the group’s particular interest in exploring one or more broad themes appearing in Dogen’s voluminous written works. Besides the major themes outlined in the book The Essential Dogen, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt, other possible broad topics include:

  1. the universal applicability of zazen and its meaning,

  2. the inherency of Buddha nature and its implications,

  3. the teaching and practice of suchness, and

  4. the way to practice with traditional Buddhist scriptures and Zen dialogue encounters, or koans.

From the input gathered in this meeting, a series of discussions on the selected themes will be held over the five Monday evenings from February 11 to March 11.

Tom is a long-standing senior member of the Houston Zen Center. He has offered studies of Dogen in past years and has offered dharma talks to the sangha as well as serving in various leadership roles over the years such as Work Leader and acting Ino.

Please, plan to attend this brief introductory session and offer your ideas as to the areas of Dogen study you would most like to pursue.

Farewell to Bruce McMills, Zen Heart

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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.

Bruce preparing for sesshin.

Bruce preparing for sesshin.

Rohatsu Sesshin

Sesshin 2018. Photo by Isshin Glen Snyder.

Sesshin 2018. Photo by Isshin Glen Snyder.

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.

Welcome to Eleanor Lou Garrett

Elizabeth, Eleanor Lou, Clayton & Olin

Elizabeth, Eleanor Lou, Clayton & Olin

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!

Rev. Royce Johnson has returned

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!

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Abbot’s Activities – September 2018

Village Zendo: Enkyo Roshi, center; Joshin Sensei, left, Abbot Gaelyn, right.

Village Zendo: Enkyo Roshi, center; Joshin Sensei, left, Abbot Gaelyn, right.

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.

Fire Lotus Temple: Abbot Gaelyn and Hogen Sensei in front.

Fire Lotus Temple: Abbot Gaelyn and Hogen Sensei in front.

All the sanghas send their greetings back to the Houston Zen Center sangha!

Zen Mountain Monastery - rehearsal for ceremony.

Zen Mountain Monastery - rehearsal for ceremony.

Abbot’s Activities – June, July 2018, and beyond

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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.

Come Volunteer With Us!

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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.

 

New co-Tanto at HZC

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.  

Mary Carol Edwards, Glen Duval, Gaelyn Godwin, Gayle Klaybor, Judson Dunn, Louise Dreyfus. Photo by Daniel Salazar-Hopps

Mary Carol Edwards, Glen Duval, Gaelyn Godwin, Gayle Klaybor, Judson Dunn, Louise Dreyfus. Photo by Daniel Salazar-Hopps

Louise Dreyfus, Glen Duval, Gayle Klaybor.

Louise Dreyfus, Glen Duval, Gayle Klaybor.

New Zen Priests

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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.