zazen and discussion
with Rev. Janine Seitetsu Larsen
Our current book is The Book of Householder Koans: Waking up in the Land of Attachments, by Eve Myonen Marko and Wendy Egyoku Nakao.
We use a shared reading style which is friendly to drop-in attendance and does not require everyone to have a copy. We work with the text at both the Tuesday and Friday meetings each week and do not repeat any of the readings at either meeting. Each day will bring its own teaching, so no need to prepare in advance or worry about what you’ve missed.
This book is well suited to this style, since the modern-day koans presented are short, and accompanied by commentary to assist and deepen introspection. Following a traditional style, the “case” is offered in brief, sometimes introduced with a framing sutra or verse, and ending with an essential question arising from the koan’s story. This is followed by a reflection which presents additional questions to consider, including a summary question or questions to take into your practice. Depending on how the discussion flows, we may engage one koan per meeting, more than one, or maybe continue discussion of any given koan to more than one meeting.
The authors are both women and respected Zen teachers.
- Roshi Eve Myonen Marko is a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order and the Co-founder, with her late husband, the renowned Roshi Bernie Glassman, of Peacemakers Circle International, which trains spiritually-based social activists. She has led retreats on American city streets, in Rwanda, and in the Black Hills with Lakota elders, and acted as Spiritholder at the Zen Peacemakers’ bearing-witness retreats at Auschwitz-Birkenau since 1996. She is the resident teacher at the Green River Zen Center in Massachusetts.
- Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao is the Abbot Emeritus (1999-2019) of the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA), having succeeded the late Roshi Bernie Glassman as the third Abbot in 1999. She currently serves as ZCLA’s head teacher and head priest. She ordained as a Zen priest in 1983 and trained with her root teacher, Venerable Taizan Maezumi at ZCLA until his death in 1995. She became a Dharma Successor of Roshi Bernie Glassman in 1996 in Yonkers, NY, and is a founding teacher of the Zen Peacemaker Order, which promotes spiritually-based social activism.
While these are not koans from the ancient traditions of Zen, the opportunity to personally engage koan introspection through this study will not differ much from traditional koan introspection practice. If you are interested in learning more about the way of practice with Zen koans, you may find one of James Ford’s recent dharma talks helpful. Click here to find “An introduction to Zen Koans” on the YouTube channel of Empty Moon Zen. (There are lots of other video dharma talks there too, if you care to browse.)
For more information or to receive the Zoom link, please email Janine at:
Janine [at] EmptyMoonZen.org