Welcome to the Leaflet

The Leaflet blog provides:
. Innen's weekly comments from a Dharma perspecti
ve
• the up-to-date practice calendar for our Red Maple Mindful Living Centre,
• links to our Tendai family of centres

For more on RMS, or Tendai Canada, visit www.tendai.ca
For more on the Red Maple Mindful Living Centre, click the link on the right border


Sunday, October 27, 2013

INNEN’S TRIP TO JAPAN

INNEN’S TRIP TO JAPAN

On November 20, I will be joining several other Tendai sangha leaders from the US (including New York, Washington DC, California and Hawaii), Europe (Denmark and Italy), Brazil and India to participate in a symposium examining the current state of our tradition in the world. The symposium is scheduled from November 27-29 and will be held at our spiritual centre, Mount Hiei, just north of Kyoto. I will be travelling with this group which is headed by our Dharma master, Ven. Monshin Naamon, sensei. The event, titled Emerging Tendai -Teaching Outside of Japan and its Future, marks the 40th anniversary of the overseas mission of Tendai Buddhism since it resumed its activities after World War II.
The Tendai Mission of Hawaii (Hawaii Betsuin) was established in Honolulu, Hawaii on November 25th, 1973 with the determinations of many people within and outside of Tendai Buddhism of Japan. The light of Dharma of Tendai Buddhism which was halted due to the Pacific War was lit abroad once again. Over those forty years Tendai-shu has spread to various locations in the United States and to other parts of the world, such as India, Brazil, England, Denmark, Italy, Canada and Australia, with Hawaii Betsuin and New York Betsuin as its centers. Those outside of Japan are in environments where presenting Tendai Buddhism is not an easy task. The experiences and visions of those who have been involved in Tendai Buddhism abroad, may provide insight in the future of our organization in Japan as well as in international societies in the 21st century.

I have been invited to prepare and present a short slide show describing the history of Red Maple in Canada, the growth of Tendai Canada over the past few years and the challenges we, along with other non-Japanese groups face in bringing Tendai-shu to our corners of the world. On either side of the symposium, we will have some free time to explore some of the religious and cultural sites around Tokyo and Kyoto. I look forward to sharing this once-in-a-lifetime adventure with all of my Tendai Canada friends at our December Mahasangha Brunch on Saturday, December 14 at the Old SchoolHouse in Renfrew.

For more details, see - Invitation to Tendai Symposium

Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu    

               

BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH

BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH

Hallowe’en, as an old European festival, confronts us with death. It takes numerous forms, some more religious, some more frightening, but all have this deathly feature.  Interestingly, it comes not too far off the Japanese festival of Obon  (the Fall equinox,  about 3-4 weeks earlier), which similarly proposes an intersection of the realm of living beings and “hungry ghosts”.
We did an exercise at this Saturday’s Contemplative Walking practice exploring this. We circumambulated a section of the building which required passing through 4-5 different doorways and along several different walls - some bright and windowed, others dark. As we passed through each door we were to visualize ourselves passing through transitions from this to the next life, whatever that might mean. Each of us interpreted this uniquely, but we all experienced  repetitions,  familiar patterns of growth,  letting go,  moving on. Everyone commented on the “liminal” experiences too. These are what we feel as we pass over thresholds (limins) between stages of life, or, to extrapolate, what we may one day experience as we face the doorway between life and death.
Modern commercialization has converted Hallowe`en into a playful cartoon, hardly what we refer to in our chants as “this Great Matter of Birth and Death”. The more we take the Dharma promise seriously, the more we understand that neither death nor life are linear or exclusive experiences, but rather layered ones, distinguished by our perceptions, or lack thereof. Imagining Hallowe’en or Obon lets us drop our fixed belief that death  follows and is utterly different from life and experience the transparency of the two.



 Read this week's Religion Experts article 
 
Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu

Sunday, October 20, 2013

NEW RESOURCES FROM OUR DC FRIENDS

Hi Sangha and Friends,

Here are two exciting  new resources from the Washington DC Tendai sangha.

An introduction to sutra service  

This is an article explaining the service we perform here called the ReDedication


Lotus-Sutra-Study-Guide

This is a Chapter-by-chapter commentray from Jikan Anderson, the leader of the sangha. Full of his usual mix of wit and insight.

in the Dharma, 
Innen, doshu

THE COMING AND GOING OF TREES

The Coming and Going of Trees

There’s a row of poplar trees, just over the stone fence beside the vegetable garden which grows and re-grows every year. We cut dozens of one inch saplings every year to keep them from shading the garden. This generates about as much emotion, ( mostly grumpiness) as mowing an over-grown lawn. Then, there are the sad tree losses, like our old apple tree that split in half from a snow-load or the one that disappeared one afternoon , along with several cedars and pines, in the process of creating a new septic bed. We’ll miss the protection from the west winds and for the tart fruit provided free of charge and labour every fall.


The other kind are the giants, like the handsome maple outside the kitchen window. We watched it start to die, in patchy limbs, over the time we’ve been here. Each day as I walk past it now, aware of the decision made, I recall the cooling shade it cast over the kitchen or the bird feeders it hosted.  It is time to bring an end to its reign over the front yard.
The coming and going of these silent friends and neighbours is part of the landscape drama that includes grasses, annual flowers and mushrooms.  It’s a never-ending one, punctuated by the loss of such landmark trees, faithful old-timers who seem, at times, to be permanent features, like the stones and rivers. Their passing serves to remind us how precious it all is.


om namu amida butsu,
Innen, doshu 

 Read this week's Religion Experts article

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

INTERFAITH STATEMENT ON QUEBEC CHARTER

Hi Sangha and Friends,

I received this statement (partially quoted below) which represents a response from multi-faith leaders across Canada. I certainly add my vioce to this.

While the neutrality of the state in religious matters is a principle that helps to ensure the equality of all people and all faiths, and while Quebec most certainly has the right to its own self-identification, we strongly believe that secular institutions do not require the prohibition of personal religious symbols in order to provide fair and equal access and services to all citizens. Rather, we celebrate the diversity of a truly pluralistic society. It is in the freedom of diversity for all faiths and those of no faith tradition that there is justice for all.

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation encourages the Quebec government to reconsider its proposed ban on religious symbols in the public service. Requiring individuals to abandon certain religious practices and essential parts of their identity creates an atmosphere of intolerance and inequity and will undermine the egalitarianism and the sense of the unity that the Quebec government wishes to uphold with this move.

The Canadian Interfaith Conversation is an advocate for religion in a pluralistic society and in Canadian public life. We want to promote harmony, dialogue and insight among religions and religious communities in Canada and all Canadians, strengthen our society’s just foundations, and work for greater realization of the fundamental freedom of conscience and religion for the sake of the common good and an engaged citizenship throughout our country.

in the Dharma,
Innen, doshu

Sunday, October 13, 2013

GIVING THANKS


GIVING THANKS

This weekend we celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada, reflecting on the harvest of our lives, both literal and symbolic. We are grateful for tomatoes and squash, but also good health and family. Surprisingly, gratitude is not included in the six paramitas to which we aspire as Buddhists. However, the more we frequent a Buddhist environment, the more we recognize gratitude in that space. The most obvious symbol  is  the standing bow or gassho, which is how we greet each other, how we enter/leave a practice space,  how we acknowledge the presence of a Buddha or Bodhisattva image, how we thank each other, and many more expressions. In Indian contexts, the same gesture is called namas-te, and carries all the same meanings as the Japanese gassho. 

 
Unlike the tip of the hat (acknowledging a class difference) or the handshake (releasing a weapon hand), the gassho contains a profound statement of belief. It represents our acknowledgment that the other or their actions are the active presence of the Buddha, not a symbol, they are, in fact, the presence of the Buddha. We bow to affirm the activity and presence of all the Buddhas in our everyday lives.
Those exploring Buddhist practice from a Western background may find such a gesture offensive, or at least an anachronism, behaviour from a past when class distinctions prompted such deference. The more we take seriously that, on the one hand, we are all equal in our future Buddhahood, and, on the other, great teachers have lived and died to make the Dharma available for our awakening, the easier it becomes to express our thanks in this simple gesture.




Yours in the Dharma,                           
from Akashaloka,                   
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu


Sunday, October 06, 2013

KOKORODO


KOKORODO

This morning we began the first of what will be monthly extended walks, a practice called kokorodo. The intent of this practice is to push the form of our walking beyond the slow circular one we are familiar with in the zendo. That form, called kinhin is “just walking” and is itself a moving version of zazen, our sitting practice. Kokorodo isn’t just a pleasant walk over natural trails, it too is an extension of other practices, like zazen and kinhin.
In Japanese, kokoro means something like spirit or heart. In fact, our Heart of Whitewater group in Pembroke was named using a Zen phrase “heart like water” (mizo no kokoro), which describes someone whose heart or spirit is free to flow where it will, unencumbered by worldly concerns. So, our kokoro-do, that is the practice of kokoro, is a fluid wandering over our natural landscape, released from and unimpeded by our usual worldly concerns.
Kokorodo is another opportunity to transform an ordinary activity into a practice experience, where we can immerse ourselves in the larger flow of the natural world, without an agenda or plan. As with our indoor practices, we bring nothing special to it and take nothing away from it. We allow the practice to transform us without a scheme or strategy. Kokorodo does not require a map or end-point, it is a process of engagement, one where we open our own hearts to the heart of the world.

Yours in the Dharma,                          
from Akashaloka,                  
Innen, doshu
om namo amida butsu