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Editorial – January 2018 by Guy Mokuhô Mercier

Editorial – January 2018 by Guy Mokuhô Mercier

My best wishes for 2018.

To all of you, today or yesterday’s friends on the way, I wish beautiful moments of opening, peace and enlightenment for 2018, even though obstacles, sorrows, diseases or suffering may come up in the stream of your life.

You are receiving this letter because your name shows up on the list of our contacts. You might not feel absolutely concerned by these wishes or by our associative activities.

Talking about awakening can appear outdated in our more and more confusing world, focused on the instant satisfaction of our desires : a world shaken up by violence and depleted by intense selfishness.

But if you have read this message so far,  you must be aware that we are all concerned , all included in our hope for happiness and enlightenment. All beings are looking for it, and it is our legitimate heritage. The bodhisattva nature, our nature, contains subconsciously the values of believing,  practising and realising our true self.

This is what we have to promote and actualise in ourselves so that the hope expressed in these wishes reveals itself entirely.

“Practise and realisation are not two”. This is merely the actualisation of life as it is.

For those of you who attend more often the sesshins or workshops organised in the Lanau zen centre or elsewhere, I wish good spirit and courage. We have to roll up our sleeves and keep our hearts up. This is what the world needs : our commitment as bodhisattvas, our generosity, our patience and all these qualities the Buddha never stopped talking about in his teachings. We are all well provided with them.

We have planned for the Lanau zen centre an ambitious calendar of sessions for 2018. I need to apologize for the English and Spanish  members of the sangha, but we won’t be able to translate these seminars in your language. I am absolutely sorry about this !

You’ll soon  be able to check on this calendar on the website.

Here are its main outlines :

  • From February  26th to March 1st : seminar  on Chan   given by Catherine  Despeux. It will be a marvellous opportunity to discover the Chinese roots of our zen tradition with an excellent specialist on China. The seminar will be followed by a sesshin  with guy Mokuhô Mercier.
  • From April 23rd to April 26th : Buddhism of the Ancients, with Dominique Trotignon, director, presenter and founder of the Buddhist studies Institute  (IEB) from Paris. He will talk about the original teachings of the Buddha. This seminar will be followed by a sesshin with Guy Mokuhô Mercier.
  • From April 17th to April  20th or 21st   ; “New Spring “ sesshin.
    We  are offering  a new concept : 5 days for your health. During this session of zen, fasting and walking, we’ll learn to sense and connect our body in simplicity, sobriety and lightness. A process of “detoxination” through experiencing as well as teaching on the essentials dealt with at the workshop on “food and Buddhist ways” last October in Lanau
  • Two summer camps in Lanau : for all members of the sangha . Teachings on the practice and rituals specific to our tradition
    –  from July 6th to July 14th
    –  from August 10th to August 18th (youngsters welcomed and invited to participate)
  • From October 1st to October 3rd – In English translated into French
    A seminar with Shôhaku Okumura roshiThis Japanese master contributed to the transmission of Master Dôgen teachings, the Shôbôgenzô and  of the  tradition of soto zen in the USA where he has been living for many years. He will pay us an exceptional visit. The main themes of his lecture is not yet determined. However I have asked him to talk about how to “live our vows” in today’s world. “Live our vows” is the title of one of his books not yet translated into the French. Many moments will be dedicated to the questions of the members of the sangha.

    His book “Realizing Genjokoan”  has been translated into French (réaliser Genjokoan) published by Almora. To be read absolutely !

  • From oct 22nd to oct 25th : “Discovering  your own voice and daring to chant”
    This is the topic of a seminar for those of you convinced they cannot sing. They will discover that it is not true. And those of you who think they can sing will find out a wider and larger space. It is an opening to ourselves, exploring one’s own interiority, a path to joy and also preliminary work to chant the sutras and ekos of the zen tradition.
  • From December 3rd to December 8th – the rohatsu or “sesshin in silence”
  • And maybe other good surprises !!!

This program needs you. First by signing up !

And also we require your help for the practical organisation. There are fewer residents in Lanau this year and the work involved for these meetings, seminars and for the functioning of daily life requests a lot of strain from those living in Lanau. You can reduce their workload by coming earlier to sessions or by devoting some of your time to samu. This concerns working in the kitchen, general cleaning of course, but also maintaining the buildings and the land we own. We will ask regularly for your help. But you can come of course whenever it is possible for you.

A new dynamic for Tenbôrin

The management model of an association relying on the efforts and dedication of a few people can no longer be the standard for the Tenbôrin organisation which has been dealing with an important and continuous activity in Lanau.  The true meaning of an association is to share tasks with as many people as possible without losing sight of the main purpose. It is sometimes very difficult for the people in charge to take on all the various aspects of the community life without ending up thinking that the members of this community are mere customers or clients.

We had a very profitable meeting in Lanau at the end of October. About 30 people met to discuss and consider a way to an easier and less centralized management. Integrating more members in associative duties according to their time, expertise and commitment is one of the major aspects of this group work.

This is aimed to respond to the need of a better information and getting together of the members of the sangha, and also to ensure a better promotion of the activities of tenbôrin. After careful consideration, a group of about 12 people has decided the setup of a new associative management tool : the use of a numeric platform covering all aspects of community life. This process has already started and things have been taken charge of since the end of October. And last December we have become members of this platform, Assoconnect. You can check on their website on the net.

Is this going to change anything for you ?

We are going to communicate with you more regularly, in a clearer and better way. We shall ask you about your potential expertise and availabilities, so we can let you know more easily about the needs of the association and of the zen Lanau centre. We also want to be open to your suggestions and ideas. Through this new tool, you will be able to register directly on the website for sessions, sesshins and periods of stay. Paying directly online is another of the possibilities offered by Assoconnect.

For those of you who involve themselves in the daily routine of the association in Lanau, this will make duties much simpler : administration of contributions, activities, registrations and also communication, accountancy, all is included in the Assoconnect pack.

These new options are definitely innovative !!

They mean that we will be able to work together from any place of residence, from our own computer, wherever we are in the world,  and yet remain aware of what others are doing. This is a new way to express the mantra Gya tei from the Hannya Shingyo “let us go together”, wherever we are and whenever we can. .