Sangha Expressions: Poem by Jian Zhi Peter

By Jian Zhi Peter Tolly, excerpted from the March 2018 ZRS newsletter   Wave-play The way the world warps on the slope of a breaker— the movement of moon through matter unstoppable by the mind’s graph paper: only the bob of faces on the surface […]

Sangha Expressions: Submission from Liaoran Tess

Submitted by Liaoran Tess Grey, excerpted from the March 2018 ZRS newsletter We like our poems in Zen, so I’ll offer a piece by Wang Wei that I read the other day, perfect for this new season:   Dear flat rock facing the stream Where […]

ZRS Rummage Sale April 28, 2018

Are you looking to clear out your attic, basement, or closets of gently used items that others could benefit from?

We are looking for your donation of clothes, furniture, books, household items and knick knacks for our first annual rummage sale and fundraiser for the sangha. It will be part of the larger Annual Irish Road Neighborhood Rummage Sale.

Please contact Jill or Renee if you have items to donate or if you would like to help with setting up Friday evening and selling Saturday during the day.

You can also come to shop!
Fieldcrest Drive, Fox Crossing (Jill & Bill’s House).

Contact Jill or Renee if you have items to donate. All proceeds to be donated to ZRS.

Henna Fun and Thanks!

Henna Fun and Thanks!

By Myoshin Renee Taylor, excerpted from the March 2018 ZRS newsletter Thank you to Annie Quick-Laughlin for offering her home for our Henna Event in December. We had a great time visiting, learning the ancient art of Henna and experimenting with our newfound skills on […]

Celebrating This Sangha

Taiso Hannya Byran Bartow Roshi, ZRS Head Priest, excerpted from the March 2018 ZRS newsletter The three refuges or jewels of Zen Buddhism are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In our service we have a slightly more poetic reflection of these. These are differentiated in communication […]

Sangha Expressions: Poem by Ming-Kai Franklin Chen

By Ming-Kai Franklin Chen, excerpted from the December 2017 ZRS newsletter

***Here is the poem I wrote inspired by a story told at a concert/storytelling with a theme of “Homeless Connection.” The story told the chilling fact that many homeless people do not have resources to take care of their teeth to be able to bite the apple.


The Apple in the Lunch Bag

Although my heart is filled with gratitude for receiving a lunch bag,
I have to give up the apple, the healthy choice; but eat the rest: bread, hot dogs, and cookies.
For I have lost my teeth sometime ago, and Simply, I do not have strong teeth to bite the apple.

People ask, why don’t I take care of my teeth?
I say I am wandering on the street all day,
At night, if I am lucky and find a shelter,
I can only have few minutes to brush my teeth and rinse my mouth.
I cannot afford to buy an ultrasonic toothbrush, besides,
even if I had one, where do I find the electrical outlet?

Have you seen dentists? People asked.
I say no. Why see the dentists? What are the points?
Every treatment costs me hundreds, sometimes, thousands of the dollars?
I cannot even find the next meal,
how can I afford for dentists’ cares?

I thank good-heart people to give me food,
But please give me orange, or banana.
For, I simply do not have teeth to bite the apple.

Sangha Expressions: Poem by Jian Zhi Peter

By Jian Zhi Peter Tolly, excerpted from the September 2017 ZRS newsletter   Walk after Storm Drops of rain like a dishcloth raised away from the sink— a dragonfly face down in the driveway. It was the flagpole’s clang that stopped me in the corner […]

Three Chinese Characters or Pictographs Explain the Meaning of Zen

By Ming-Kai Franklin Chen, excerpted from the December 2017 ZRS newsletter At the CMind Conference, one of my instructors, Dr. Steve Murphy-Shigimatsu introduced three Pictographs of Chinese origins explaining the meaning of Zen (or lack of Zen). Dr. Murphy- Shigimatsu was born of a Japanese […]


By Taiso Hannya Byron Bartow Roshi, ZRS Head Priest, excerpted from the December 2017 ZRS newsletter

There has recently been some discussion of the precepts. The approach taken with the precepts is one of the remarkable Hollow Bones interpretations of the zen tradition.

  1. Affirm Life
  2. Act Generously
  3. Be Loving
  4. Manifest Truth
  5. Respect Clarity
  6. Honor Silence
  7. Celebrate Others
  8. Be Giving
  9. Embody Compassion
  10. Steward the Earth
  11. Manifest This Way

The traditional versions of the precepts are presented in the negative, and ours are reframed in the positive. As these are presented in the Hollow Bones Sutra Book , there is a sentence or two pointing toward a further understanding. As each precept is outlined, there is an effort to blend the traditional Buddhist understanding with a practical, modern and culturally relevant interpretation.

For instance, the traditional precept Ahimsa (non-harming) is reframed in the positive as Affirm Life . In the further development of the concept we have this: “In order to live, it is necessary for me to take life. I do so with reverence for the life taken.” This draws from Native American spirituality, and realizes a practicality within our meat eating culture. The final sentence implies the Mahayana vow: “In gratitude, I do not take my own life for granted.”

Broadly speaking, in our modern western culture, we are estranged from our root in nature. The precept Steward the Earth is unique to our Hollow Bones tradition as a corrective for the cultural alienation from nature. Nature is not seen as “other” – a target for human exploitation and dominion. Rather, we are this nature, not separate from our mother. This precept finishes with a vow: “I work toward achieving a lifestyle that gives more back to this earth than I take from it.” So, the ultimately impossible, “giving more back” is a vow drawing us toward a commitment to awareness of our engagement with nature in everyday life – it is not an even-steven, 50/50 proposition, but a 100/100 or even 110/? endeavor.

As zen practitioners realize that the Buddha-way is the path for “their” practice, we celebrate entry into this stream with the jukai ceremony. The Hollow Bones interpretation and the traditional precepts are contemplated and taken as vows. The precepts are guidelines to support our practice conventionally. Yet, as with all dualistic principles, this is partial and provisional – as the ultimate realization of Buddha nature is a middle-way, beyond extremes. With the realization of Buddha nature, actualizing a marriage

of wisdom and compassion, these guidelines are unnecessary; yet, the violation of these principles is inconceivable.

ZRS Board Minutes – Mar. 24, 2018

20180324 ZR Board Minutes Attendees: Kai Hui, Liaoran, Taiso, Jian Zhi Convened at 10:11   Topics: Financials Significant contributions at the end of last year; about $1,100 per month including this bump; about $600 per month this calendar year Slight profit in 2015, slight loss […]