Saturday, September 26, 2015


When we read about the earliest period of teaching, whether this be the Buddha himself or numerous other teachers, it should not surprise us to realize that teaching and practice happened principally in the outdoors. Yet when we look at practice environments and practice opportunities in the modern period, such outdoor practice has an aura of exoticism, as if it were reserved for the most elite of mystics. There are many reasons for this slanted view of outdoor practice, some of them from with in Buddhist history, some are inherited from the anti-nature philosophies of the modern West.

Beginning in October, we will be designating half of our practices as indoor and half as outdoor. Further, because we will be out of doors half of the time, we will give extra emphasis to walking on those outdoor practice sessions. This means that the first Saturday and the first Thursday of each month will be structured around outdoor practice. The Saturday morning practice will align itself with our sunrise orientation, and so we will base those practice sessions at the covered platform outside of the museum next to the hydroelectric Falls. The walk to this location allows us to cross the celebrated swinging bridge, both coming and going. That practice location also means we are practising against the gentle sounds of the waterfall.

For our evening practices, on the first Thursday of each month, we will likewise align that practice with the sunset and Amitabha practice, including the visualizations that are occupying us this year. We have a couple of potential sites where we can do this practice and over coming months, we will choose the one which allows for the best reviews of the setting sun.

Practitioners will no doubt appreciate that we place ourselves at the mercy of the weather, which in certain seasons can be quite inhospitable. We will attend to the weather and give preference to times when we are not exposed to extremes of cold, snow or heavy rain. All those who attend these practice sessions are provided with a waterproof mat, and a cushion to sit on. Each person should ensure they have sufficient warm and/or weatherproof clothing.

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

Sunday, September 13, 2015


I recently had the pleasure of speaking for the wedding of our sangha friend, Jiho. Here is the text I spoke.

This brave and happy couple, Liz and Cam, have kindly asked me to offer some words to this ceremony as a representative of the religious side to this occasion. The first thing to notice about this is that these two acknowledge and value the place of religion in their lives and the significance of this marriage. They agree that, while their individual accomplishments, their material prosperity and their interactions with friends and family enrich their lives, these are not the whole picture.
Every living, growing thing, including a marriage, is grounded in the material, in the day-to-day and the sloppy, messy nourishment of the earth. Equally, this same living thing relies on the insubstantial warmth and heat of the light and air. In my tradition, we teach that religious truth is the interplay between the messiness of this earthly experience and the brilliance of the timeless. For any marriage to thrive and succeed, it needs to attend to all the messes of day-to-day life. There will be jobs to attend, floors to sweep and tears to wipe away. And it needs to look to the symbolic - an anniversary, a daily good-bye kiss and the necessity of dreams shared and dared.
When we consider a marriage as a religious event, we do not bind it to a weekly morning’s service, to following the urgings of any book or to an anxious expectation of some coming reward. Religion is about the sharing of meaning-filled action for what my tradition calls “the benefit of all beings”. As in religion, so in marriage, we are called to strive to make an on-going commitment of selfless service. Marriage like religious life calls us to be our best for another, to contribute to their growth and fulfilment.
May I join all of you gathered here today to wish Liz and Cam many years of such meaning-filled action, such service and the satisfaction which flows from it. Like the living-growing thing I mentioned earlier, let us wish their union thrives and blossoms, season after season.

Sunday, September 06, 2015


Some really thought provoking writing in the latest Buddha-dharma-Fall Issue Online

I've been reading some stuff lately on the rise of Buddhist monk militancy in Sri Lanka. It began early in the 20th century and was part of the anti-colonial movement lead by Walpola Rahula and others. Tragically the militancy is now growing beyond the historical Sinhala-Tamil conflict into anti-Christian and, even more, anti-Muslim activism

The Rise of Militant Monks
by Michael Jerryson


Buddhists Betray the Teachings — Jack Kornfield on the anti-Muslim violence in Burma
by Jack Kornfield| July 14, 2014


Be sure to read the debate in the Comments Section of the Kornfield article. Its really interesting. Fair criticism of Kornfield's viewpoint as a white American.

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