Written in the Clay Blog

Keep up with what's happening in the Sangha
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  • 19 Oct 2015 8:51 AM | Cherry Zimmer (Administrator)

  • 15 Nov 2013 9:47 AM | Cherry Zimmer (Administrator)
    At the most recent retreat I forgot the meal chant cards so we had to write them up by hand (photo by Richard is at end of retreat when we started talking again of Beth educating everyone). As you can see, everyone was in a good mood at the end of the retreat!

    For future reference, the following are two versions we use:


    We reflect on the effort that brought us this food and consider how it comes to us.
    We reflect on our virtue and practice, and whether we are worthy of this offering.
    We regard greed as the obstacle to freedom of mind.
    We regard this meal as medicine to sustain our life.
    For the sake of enlightenment we now receive this food.

    Alternative used by Mindfulness Communities:
    This food is the gift of the whole universe, the earth, the sky, and much hard work.
    May we be fully present to appreciate this meal.
    May we shed light on our states of mind, and learn to eat in moderation. 
    May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
    We receive this food to realize the way of understanding and love.

  • 18 Aug 2013 4:13 PM | Cherry Zimmer (Administrator)
    I mentioned the book Zen and The Art of Needlecraft by Sandra Detrixhe in my talk on August 4. Here is the excerpt which really caught me (italics mine):
    Any needlecraft, if we do it out of love of the process, is a
    decidedly Zen experience. Zen is the Japanese translation of a
    Sanskrit word meaning meditation. Zen is a form of Buddhism,
    which emphasizes meditation or self-discovery and understanding
    as a way to enlightenment, rather than studying or following
    rules. The goals of Zen practice are threefold. The first is to
    balance the mind, or, in other words, to find the right combination
    of spontaneity and self-control. This is a nice definition of
    creativity, don't you think?

    The second goal is enlightenment, which is a kind of superalertness.
    We experience this alertness when we give ourselves
    over to our hobbies, leaving the rest of our stressful lives behind
    for awhile. We may not discover total, universal understanding,
    but often solutions to our own problems come to us once we've
    escaped to our stitching.

    The third goal is to live that enlightenment in our daily lives.
    This one's a little harder. We shift gears so often: from work to
    family to hobby to housework to church or other volunteer work
    to countless other activities. Half the time, or perhaps more,
    we are thinking about everything except the current activity,
    the current moment. We look without seeing, hear without listening.
    We rehearse the future and relive the past, failing to
    appreciate the here and now. We need to learn to work and play
    mindfully-that is, aware of and appreciating the moment we
    are living in. The way to learn to do this is to practice it where
    it is easiest to achieve, with our beloved hobby. Sewing with a
    measure of Zen awareness just might teach us how to bring that
    same peace and joy into the other aspects of our lives.
    I encourage everyone to find an art into which they can pour themselves this way and experience this. You don't need to be good at it!
  • 17 Jun 2013 9:45 AM | Gareth Young (Administrator)
    I reported in my dharma talk yesterday on the trip Beth and I took to Turkey.  We traveled as a part of a group of twelve from Christian, Jewish and Buddhist traditions, led by a Turkish Muslim, and it was a wonderful and completely transformational experience.  For those interested in reading more about the trip and my editorial comments on it, you can look at my blog posts:

  • 05 Jan 2013 5:36 PM | Gareth Young (Administrator)
    I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about salvation, and wrote a blog post that draws on the Stephen Bachelor book we are reading on Tuesday night as well as a wonderful talk by a Daoist teacher which David Toone recommended, and which I thoroughly recommend you all listen to.  Here's a link to my post, Saved; a link to the talk is embedded therein.

    I have also posted an old dharma talk that I gave early last year that came to mind: Zen Radicals and Reformers.
  • 25 Nov 2012 1:41 PM | Cherry Zimmer (Administrator)
    For those who were at the Hungry Ghost festival today, here are some resources for the Wheel of Life image we discussed:

    Very nice images with enlargement and descriptive text for each one. The god holding the wheel is Yama, god of death. 


    Really cool flash graphics explaining things when you hover over a portion of the image. 

    Also a pretty good description of Tibetan burial rituals and Bardo.


    This is a stone version. No clue where it came from, but it is on a Chinese language blog about Bardo (if the translator worked well). 


    The Ullambana Sutra which calls for the festival to free beings from other realms.  Also some beautiful images from the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery. 


  • 07 Nov 2012 8:37 PM | Gareth Young (Administrator)
    If you are interested in catching up on some of the talks that have been delivered over Red Clay Sangha's eighteen month existence, please take a look at the "Dharma Talks" tab.  Cherry and I are adding to this over time, and have already built up a decent library.  And if you have delivered a talk and would like to post it, we would love you to do so; please check in with Cherry or I and we will be happy to work with you on putting it up.
  • 31 Oct 2012 5:14 PM | Gareth Young (Administrator)
    Last weekend we had a wonderful retreat at the Self Discovery Center with Zen Master Dae Gak.  Our registration of twenty-five was full, and with unsubscribed attendees in total thirty people were with us over Dae Gak's two day visit.  The food - thanks Dev and David - was wonderful, and the practice that Dae Gak and Daniela brought and shared with us was gentle and much appreciated by those who have contacted me enthusiastically since the retreat.  Many of us purchased his book and took the opportunity to have him stamp it with his chop on every picture!  I have really enjoyed what I have read so far and am looking forward to finishing it - and to visiting him at Furnace Mountain before the end of the year!  I was inspired by his visit to write a post on my own blog at True Religion
  • 21 Oct 2012 8:35 PM | Gareth Young (Administrator)
    I continue to find that while my practice is firmly anchored in Buddhism, and more narrowly in the Soto Zen tradition, I am finding great benefit from other world traditions.  I will be posting a couple of dharma talks on this blog that draw on some of the other Buddhist practices, and I know this benefit is felt by other members.  I have also continued to find the practices of other faiths to offer much that I am finding of huge value.  My latest In The Clay dharma talk addressed some of this, but more can be found at my Interfaith Blog, the most recent post being CODA on Transmuting.
  • 31 Aug 2012 4:03 PM | Cherry Zimmer (Administrator)
    Interdenominational and interfaith activities are important to the culture of openness and inclusion of the Red Clay Sangha. With gratitude to Gareth Young we are pleased to invite you to the following events (click for details):

    Atlanta Community Food Bank, Thursday September 27, 6:30-8:30pm details...

    Interfaith Contemplative Service at the Sikh Gurdwara, Sunday September 30, 6:30-8:30pm details...

    Please contact Gareth if you would like to attend.
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