Dialogue on Buddhism and Christianity
On Saturday, November 5th, MZC will be visited by Dr. Brian Smith and students from Ripon College. Dr. Smith teaches in that school's Department of Religion and has a particular interest in comparative religion. In place of our usual 9:30 dharma discussion, he will facilitate a dialogue on Buddhism and Christianity. What are the similarities and differences? How can examination of each of these two faith traditions help us better understand the other?


Discussion can continue informally as Dr.Smith and the students stay with us for lunch. The visitors will have an introduction to zazen between the dialogue and lunch, while sangha members who wish to stay can enjoy an encore viewing of "Princess Mononoke" in the third floor meeting area before everyone gathers to eat.



World Peace Ceremony
7:45 am, December 1 and 15 (Thursdays)

We’ll chant the Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra and the Daihishin Darani for tranquility, peace and harmony in our sangha and throughout the world.



Introduction to Zazen

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6:30 pm, December 7 (Wednesdays)

Learn the basics of sitting and walking meditation as they are done in the Sôtô Zen tradition. There will also be plenty of opportunity to ask questions about practice and MZC.



Buddha and the Box Office

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7:15 pm (Fridays)

Join us at MZC to enjoy a variety of movies, including anime classics from Studio Ghibli and live-action films from around the world. After the video, stay for refreshments and an informal discussion of the Buddhist ideas and themes portrayed in the movie.
Note: the 7:15 start time makes it possible to attend the first period of evening zazen prior to the movie.


November 11: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
One thousand years after a war devastated much of the Earth, humanity clings to existence at the fringes of a vast, polluted forest inhabited by monstrous insects. Only Nausicaä, the princess of the tiny realm of the Valley of the Wind, grasps the environmental significance of the forest. She sees beyond petty wars and national rivalries to the only viable future for the planet.


November 25: The Book of the Dead
Based on a story by early 20th century writer Shinobu Origuchi, in which the learned and beautiful Lady Iratsume of the aristocratic Fujiwara clan receives a vision of a deity when she contemplates Mt. Futakami. Leaving her mansion for a temple at the base of the mountain, she learns that her vision is a manifestation of Prince Otsu, who was treacherously murdered decades earlier to prevent his accession as Emperor. Lady Iratsume weaves a miraculous garment to clothe the figure in her vision, using thread spun from lotus. The setting in 8th century Nara provides puppet animator Kihachiro Kawamoto with a showcase for his delicately beautiful puppets and nuanced animation.



Vows of the Bodhisattva: Two-day Sitting

November 12-13

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With nearly continuous periods of zazen, services and meals using oryoki bowls, these two days become an opportunity for us to sit quietly, experiencing the silence of the zendo and allowing ourselves to exist in the reality of here and now. You are welcome to attend both full days if you wish, and we can accommodate overnight stays with advance notice. You are also welcome to use these days in whatever way your schedule will permit, joining us and leaving us at any point in the schedule. Two-day sittings are intended to offer both intensive practice and a wider time frame for zazen.



Lightning Workshops

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7:15 pm (Wednesdays)

These one-hour sessions are designed to give a very brief, highly focused look at specific topics or activities relevant to our Sôtô Zen practice. Note: the 7:15 start time makes it possible to attend the first period of evening zazen prior to the workshop.


November 16: Altar-ed State: Creating Your Home Altar

Investigate the elements of a traditional Sôtô Zen altar, and consider how your home altar can support your practice.


December 21: Getting to Know Nyohô

The ideas of nyohô, “the dharma of thusness,” guide us in our choices about food, clothing and shelter.  Find out how to reflect your practice in the things you eat, the clothes you wear, and the place you live.



Peace Shawl Circle
Sundays beginning October 30, 1-3 pm

Make your knitting or crocheting a bodhisattva practice by creating peace shawls to be given to others in the community who need our care and support in difficult times.  Although we will gather informally, enjoying tea and conversation while we work, we will approach our needlework as an opportunity to carry out the three pure precepts (avoid unwholesome actions, embrace wholesome actions, do good for others.)  Come whenever your schedule permits and work at your own pace.
Participants provide their own tools and materials, and donate their finished pieces.  Peace shawl patterns will be available, or participants can choose patterns of their own.  For more information, please e-mail or call MZC.



Memorial for Dôgen and Keizan Zenjis
8 am November 29, December 29

We will chant the Verse of the Universal Gateway Chapter in honor of Eihei Dôgen and Keizan Jôkin, the two founders of our Sôtô Zen school.



Soto Zen Basics
4 Thursdays beginning October 27, 7:15 pm

Join us for an introduction to the foundational ideas and attitudes of our Soto Zen school of Buddhism. Topics will include a brief history of the denomination and its founders, core tenets, the role of zazen, and an introduction to the sect's most important texts. Note that the 7:15 start time allows for participation in the first period of evening zazen before class.



Dharma Discussion
Saturdays, 9:30-10:30 am

As we make our way through the book of the moment, participants take turns reading aloud and the group engages in discussion of the ideas and issues that arise. Attendees need not own or have read the book beforehand, and participate as their schedules permit.


Current book: Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans by Richard Strobe

Zen koans are stories of exchanges between Zen masters and their disciples at the moment of enlightenment or near-enlightenment. The author provides background and personal anecdotes for 22 cases from The Blue Cliff Record and Wu-men-kuan that help to illuminate their meaning without detracting from their paradoxical nature.


Up next: Dream Conversations on Buddhism and Zen by Muso Kokushi

Dream Conversations is a collection of a renowned Japanese master's written replies to questions about the true nature of Zen. In short, simply worded teachings, Muso Kokushi (1275-1351), also known as Muso Soseki, exposes common misconceptions and offers insights designed to lead the reader into the depths of authentic Zen experience.



Rohatsu Sesshin

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6:15am - 8:50pm December 9-10, 6:15am - 4:40pm December 11

Rohatsu Sesshin is a time of re-dedication to our practice and of gratitude for the deep wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. Within our tradition of Soto Zen, we celebrate the Buddha's Great Awakening each year on December 8. In honor and memory of his long seated meditation under the Bodhi Tree, we a schedule a three-day sesshin on the weekend closest to December 8th. With the addition of a full day on Friday, the schedule is the same as that for our two-day sittings.