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 and may be best understood as interdependent facets of complete Buddhist practice. Our practice is a manifestation of the Buddha’s awakening. And not just the Buddha, this practice in this time continues the practice of those who have come before. So in this way the ancestors’ practice is present with us, and we recognize this by lighting the ancestor candle during our service and talks.

Traditionally, sangha was the community of nuns or monks who practiced together. In interdependence, sangha encompasses a broader community… ultimately all being. Zen River Sangha continues the practice of our founders, Vicara, Manju, and Daruma. And they were continuing the practice of Junpo, who is continuing the practice of Eido, and so on. We are blessed by the support of all who practice.

As a sangha, each of us contributes in many ways. Buddha nature is manifest in this sangha relation. Practicing, this sangha honors the generosity and practice of our ancestors and benefactors. We can offer gratitude to this entire sangha relation in taking refuge.

Reishin’s practice is continually manifest in Zen River Sangha through the generosity which gives a home for practice at 2989 Spencer St. in Appleton. And we have a dharma friend in Kensho, a Hollow Bones Priest, from the Denver/Boulder area. Kensho, an unseen sangha member has made very generous contributions which have helped to make it possible for us to have this home for our community. Kensho will visit during the first week on May.

Here, together we have made a home for practice, through the generosity of everyone. Our financial contributions and our commitment to practice–including work practice in all forms–are melded in this sangha relation. Our motto continues to be: “Your presence is your most important contribution.”

We will hold a half-day sit on May 5 and conclude with a ceremony that honors the founders and all contributions that manifest in this sangha–Zen River. Of course this includes you, and there is a seat for you if you can join us.

I want to conclude with a moment of reflection on the passing of Junpo’s teacher and the founder of our root monastery, Dai Bosatsu Zendo of the Zen Studies Society, where Junpo received formal Zen training. Just following this is a note from Shingei Roshi on the passing of Eido Shimano.

Blessings, Taiso

Dear Zen Studies Society Sangha,

With a heavy heart I must inform you of the sad news of the passing of Ven. Eido T. Shimano Roshi, while he was in Japan. Early this morning I received a telephone call from Fujin-san Formhals. She said that at Shogen-ji Junior College, in Gifu, he had delivered a teisho on Dogen’s Life-Death that she felt was the best teisho she had ever heard him give.

Some time ago, Eido Roshi had asked that Sogen Yamakawa Roshi, abbot of Shogen-ji, conduct his

funeral service in Japan. There are still many details to be arranged. We will keep you informed once we know the arrangements for the service there and at Dai Bosatsu Zendo.

Let True Dharma Continue!

Shinge Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi, Abbot