KAIHAN                  Spring 2002
North Carolina Zen Center                                             919-542-7411
390 Ironwood Road                                                         http://www.nczencenter.org/
Pittsboro, NC 27312-6592                                             NCZENCENTER@prodigy.net


For the full daily practice schedule check the website or call the Center.

From Sandy

In Nagarjuna's Verses of the Middle Way, we have come to Chapter 24, Examination of the Four Noble Truths.
Verses 8 & 9 are central to our practice:

The Buddha's teaching of the Dharma
Is based on two truths:
A truth of worldly convention
And an ultimate truth.

Those who do not understand
The distinction drawn between these two truths
Do not understand
The Buddha's profound truth.     

Zen, and particularly koans, are often referred to as paradoxical.   With an understanding of Nagarjuna's two truths we become clear about what seemed puzzling.  We learn that there are two points of view a person can take towards anything.  For example, in the truth of worldly convention, each of us has a self.  Speaking from the perspective of ultimate truth, we can say none of us has a self.
So, having a self and not having a self are completely compatible!  There are two truths.
In our koan practice, we initially focus on the ultimate perspective.  Many of us started with a koan like "When you are driving your car, how do you manifest your Buddha nature?"  In other words,  "When you are driving, how do you demonstrate ultimate truth?"  
We are all quite clear about the worldly conventional truth of driving our cars.  In working with this type of koan, as we become clearer about the ultimate truth, we clarify the distinction between ultimate and everyday truth.
We still drive our car just as we always have!  We do not go into a selfless trance.  Rather, we notice that ultimate truth is always manifesting as we drive.  And we notice that at the same time, we can view driving from the standpoint of worldly convention. "I am driving my car along with everything!"
Thus we follow Nagarjuna's suggestion.  We practice to "understand the distinction drawn between these two truths."
I didn't have any understanding of this until, after 20 years of practice, I happened to have a meeting with Katagiri Roshi.  I asked, "How can I have no self and also have a self?" He said, "It's a matter of perspective.  There are simply two points of view."

Solstice Fair

 The Center will hold a Summer Solstice Fair on Saturday, June 22nd from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We will have some live music, a few artists showing their work, some good food and a chance for us to get together and celebrate the Summer Solstice. We are also asking for any donations for a "flea market" we will hold that day - if you have something to give that we can sell at the flea market, please let us know (919-542-7411). We look forward to seeing you at this outdoor event!

New Building Plan

 In a move to accommodate Mat and Kim¹s current need for housing as well as their willingness to contribute substantial money and physical and mental labor the board has decided to postpone the dormitory, dining, office project and pursue building the ³staff house² next.This will be an eight-room building with outside entrances to each room so that they can be used as bedrooms for retreatants, an office, for sewing, storage, dining, or staff housing. The Youngs will use two of the rooms as a small apartment. It will be build in the same style as the rest of the Center and will be located just to the west of the bathhouse but even with the kitchen building.
Projected cost is $75,000 and donations can, of course, be made to the Building Fund.
 If you have any time you would like to donate to this project Matt and Kim will be working daily and you may contact them at the Center to work out details.
 Currently the site prep and grading are complete, the batter boards are up and we are waiting for a building permit.

Sesshin Schedule

   A week long retreat will be held at Southern Dharma from June 29 - July 6, 2002. To register contact Southern Dharma Retreat Center, 828-622-7112, 1661 West Rd., Hot Springs, NC 28743; sdharma@main.nc.us


 The Center is now home to three people. Linda¹s addition to her cabin was finished in time for her to take up residence in January and she has now been joined by Matt and Kim Young who have decided to continue their practice with us. The have spent the last year at Mount Baldy and bring with them a sincere commitment to a more scheduled routine.
We welcome all three and their daily contributions to maintenance and progress.

Spring Work Weekend

 Much was accomplished during the regularly scheduled spring work weekend. Monica McTighe and Catherine Boston came down from Virginia along with Bill Stephens and BJ O¹Brien. Laura Slaughter and Tim Sussman also came to work with Sandy Stewart, Be Gardiner, Jerry Humphreys, Linda Campany, Barbara Gordon, and Roxanne Henderson. Michael Brown gave us a jump start on Thursday with his painting expertise. Progress was made throughout the weekend on the bathhouse (see below) as well as much cleaning up and burning of brush. John Iler was able to come on Saturday with his ability to attend to the finishing of  projects. Those of you who have not visited the center in the last few months would be surprised and, we presume, delighted by the state of the place.

Sitting Weekends

 The dozen sitters for the Spring weekend at Brooks Branch were joined Sunday by several others for the celebration of Buddha¹s Birthday on April 14. On an quintessential spring day Sandy did a wonderful job of manifesting the 2500 year old Buddha bowing to his infant self. They were not two.
 In late April Sandy lead a wekend retreat in Santa Fe attended primarily by people who have been practicing since the ³early days² at The Lama Foundation and Bodhi Manda. The atmosphere was of a reunion of old friends long out of touch with each other but with many memories and mutual contacts. After an overcast day there, we awoke to a clear, windy predawn which produced these poems from osho and tenzo.

dark winds blow away
all the clouds of yesterday-
now just this: full moon

on the dawn chilled path
the criunch of sharp edged gravel
leads to the full moon

The Bathhouse

 Thanks to an enthusiastic work weekend crew the outside of the bathhouse is now finished. The trim is all installed and painted and the stucco complete. On the inside, Sandy, with the ongoing help of Michael Brown and Matt Young has finished all the rough in plumbing. The current project underway before we will pass the inspection is to redesign and rebuild a shower for handicap access. And then we¹ll move on to insulation and the rest.


 In 2001 we were able to pay all the ongoing expenses from donations of fifty dollars or more. We invite you to join those who have already become members this year in supporting the Center in this way while we thank them for their contribution.


 Be Gardiner entered the Zen priesthood in a tokudo ceremony on March tenth. His new dharma name is Tei Taku, grasping and clearing away, and he was gifted by Sandy with the poem

tall pines sing and dance
unaware of who¹s watching
why do I feel joy?


 John Fitzgerald passed through the center again leaving small projects remedied and new tools available. His most recent purchase is a chainsaw. The Cameron-Jardines gave us a major portion of the stucco for the bathhouse and hosted a monk for both the work and sitting weekends. They are great neighbors. Michael Brown showed up on Saturday morning during the sitting weekend with an assembly of friends willing to cut and haul dead cedar posts, one twenty feet long, from down in the swamp area out to the area where the footpath leaves the road. They will be used in construction of the entrance gate. The volunteers were discussing methods of assembly in anticipation of a final design from Sandy and Jerry and so it seems likely will be back to help with construction.
 Monetary contributions were received from Jennifer & Mike Armstrong, Drew Dunn, John Iler, Linda Campany, Jerry & Diana Humphreys, Roxanne Henderson, Bill Stephens, Joan Berman, David Sellers, Anonymous, Barbara Gordon, Dennis Lennox, Eugene Lowe,  Tim Jin Shing Sussman, Carol Hewitt, Matt & Kim Young, Joe Kenlan and Bodhi Manda Zen Center.
 We are also grateful to the people who participated in an impromptu workday on May 18th. They were Sandy Stewart, Matt and Kim Young, Be and Ezra Gardiner, Roxanne Henderson, John Iler, Jennifer Armstrong, Linda Campany, Jason Dowdle, and Barbara Gordon.

Lawn Mowing

 Joe Kenlan has kindly been loaning us a heavy-duty lawnmower. If you or anyone you know could donate one, we will be grateful.


by Roxanne Henderson

Below the black hem of the robe, gorgeously blue-veined and gnarled feet

stand, sure as the talons of a walking-bird emerging from a skirt

of feathers ‹ right platform for a man to sweep all the world

into his arms. The dark hem hangs even with the horizon

the wooden hammer slaps the wood block

the falling robe sighs, a tall monk

dissolves into the bow

and cushion, into

the gray morning

light and all

is gone






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