KAIHAN           Summer 2001

North Carolina Zen Center                                      919-542-7411
283 Quartz Hill Road                                               NCZENCENTER@prodigy.net
Pittsboro, NC 27312-6592                                      

Regular Practice at Brooks Branch Zendo on Ironwood Road

Thursday from 7 to 9 PM    Sunday from 10 to noon followed by tea until one.
Tuesday from 6 to 6:45 AM


July 24 -August 14 Sandy will be away.  The regular practice schedule continues.
September 13 -16 - a work weekend at Brooks Branch Zendo . Contact the NCZC.
September 27-30 - Nashville, TN.  Contact the Nashville Zen Group, Bill Compton, 1221 6th Ave., Nashville, TN 37208 or Lisa Ernst: 615-371-5441,
Oct.11-14 Flattop Zendo, Flattop, VA.  Contact Bill Stephens : 434-973-5435, 4425 Advance Mills Rd, Earlysville, VA, 22936 or pinetree@adelphia.net
November 1-4 Formal practice weekend at Brooks Branch Zendo . Contact the NCZC.
June 29 - July 6, 2002 Southern Dharma Retreat Center, 828-622-7112, 1661 West Rd., Hot Springs, NC 28743; sdharma@main.nc.us


The eighteen original members of the Center have now been joined by 12 others. Our estimate is that annually fifty memberships of fifty dollars each will support the expenses of electricity, insurance, phone, and office and residential supplies.

The Bathhouse

The bathhouse is now under roof with all exterior walls, a poured slab floor ready for the tiles, decking on two sides, and some rough in plumbing. Although the building fund is completely empty we still need approximately $1500 to meet our now overdue obligations to the contractor. After we meet that need we will move on to interior partitions, windows, doors, plumbing fixtures and so on.
 We urge you to make a contribution to the Building Fund now or to donate an item from the enclosed list, perhaps with the help of your friends.

Working Couples

Two couples, Chizo , a Mt. Baldy monk, and his wife and fellow Zen student, Tanya, as well as Matt Young and Kim Simons have recently spent time at the center and have given generously of their various building and earth moving skills to help us proceed still closer to our certificate of occupancy. Although the kitchen has passed all code requirements the zendo still has issues with the fire marshal, who wants the doors to swing outwards and lighted exit signs over the doors.  We are negotiating.
 Kim and Matt finished off their stay with a gala wedding. A relationship that grew during years aboard a small sailboat took the next step. Congratulations! They are giving up their life at sea and will join the monks of Mt Baldy in their practice.


Jerry Humphreys and a small group are beginning the process of designing the clearing and planting of the grounds.  The gate at the entrance to the path to the buildings, the woods between the gate and the buildings, and the courtyard in front of the chant hall/zendo are on the top of the list. Jerry, who recently started a nursery, is propagating plants for the project.
Contributions to the Building Fund
 We are also grateful for the financial support of: Woody Setzer & Carol Prokop,Drew Dunn, John Iler,Dale & Barbara Giera,  Paul Brown, Sally Fri, Carla & Walker Brown, Margaret Lundy, Janet Whitesides & Jim Peck, Robert Walker, Robert & Susan Simons, Kim Simons & Matt Young, Tom Kreutzer, Matt Irwin, Grace Huffman, Bill Kruvant and Heidemarie Weidener.


 The long spring weekend at Flattop was attended by a varying group of about twelve people. Sittings there are enriched by the viewpoints of some long term Zen practitioners who have experience from several teachers and schools. The mountaintop environment also fosters focus and effort.
 Southern Dharma is welcomed for the new faces it produces and the warmth of the staffıs welcome. This year there were twenty full time sitters, sufficient to assure a week long place in next summerıs schedule.
 Sandy spoke around the topics raised by the opening lines of the Heart Sutra: skandas, emptiness, and ³great wisdom².
 Afternoon thundershowers occurred almost daily.

Board of Directors

 At a meeting after tea on June 15th, Drew Dunn and Roxanne Henderson were welcomed as new members of The Board of Directors.  We greatly appreciate their willingness to help in this necessary capacity!  The continuing members are Joe Kenlan (president), Woody Setzer (treasurer), Linda Campany, Bill Stephens and Carol Hewitt.  Drew took the position of secretary. Our appreciation also goes to Yvonne Trostli, who resigned from the board.

On the Web

 Linda Campany is now  e-mailing  people current news and events at The Center. If you would like this network service please notify her (LindaCampany@aol.com).
 Jason Dowdle, having completed a great set of shelves for the kitchen pantry, has been working on a new web site  that will soon be operative.
 Also, if you have become able to receive these Kaihans by e-mail and would like to do so then notify Be Gardiner (ambez@fastransit.net).

Dharma practice at home and abroad

We naturally like to visit the zendo for a quiet couple of hours.  However, I encourage everyone to avoid the habit of thinking that going to the zendo is necessary for peace of mind.  Actualize the peace you want wherever you are.  This has been a recurring theme in the Kaihan.  Our first issue had the calligraphy of Japanese Zen master Hakuin, "MIDST - meditation in the midst of activity is a billion times superior to meditation in stillness."  Of course, this does not mean that you have to sit erect and cross legged when you are eating in a restaurant, or walk with your hands at the base of your sternum when you are strolling down the road.  However, I do like to use Tosotsu's first barrier as a reminder of how to do it "in the midst."  
 Tosotsu asked his students, "At this very moment, where is your reality?"  When I ask myself this question, it is "How do I manifest my real nature at this moment?"  
 Clearly, if we understand Tosotsu's "where?" to indicate a location in space, we'll go around like Mr. Magoo and never find it.  We have to learn to actualize our real nature in the midst of the very place we inhabit at that moment.
 In our lively practice of Zen we can demonstrate our real nature at any moment without hesitation.  It is the very thought processing that puzzles over this "where" that beclouds our true nature.  So if you are sitting at your computer and ask yourself, "At this moment, where is my true nature?" you should be able to answer without doubt.  If you are not able to do this, then one option is to come to the zendo and work on it.  Thus you will not be coming to the zendo because it is a peaceful place, but rather to become free and clear in your response to Tosotsu's question.
 This may be why so few people sit at Brooks Branch Zendo.  "The Osho refuses to allow people to sit peacefully.  He's a devilish fellow."  It's true - I often think of my teacher's words, "If you study Zen with me you can get a passport to heaven and hell!"  It's easy and comfortable to give ourselves to pleasant activities, but if that's all we practice, we will soon find ourselves in hot water, and we'll be unable to function. So, at this moment, how do I manifest my true nature?


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