Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

January 2017: Practice Period

Friday, December 23, 2016 7:10 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

   January at Red Cedar Zen Community

Dear Sangha,

A dramatic year is coming to a close. As the new one arrives I know many of us are feeling rattled and uncertain. About everything. 

One thought: let's devote more of our energies for these first two months of the year to meditation and reflection. Let's support each other in returning to the "zero point" of our lives. To remember the feeling of fullness and radical okay-ness. This is so important and so fundamental, and a central thread of what we have to offer as Zen students.

Let's take action too, absolutely, but maybe first we take Dogen's "backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate yourself" - we need to be illuminated to bring light into the world. And into the world we must go. For we already are there. 

But first, let's practice. 

We can end the year with our New Year's Eve Zen Ceremony next Saturday evening.

We can begin the new year with Zazenkai: a morning of silent practice on Sunday morning.

And then a couple of weeks later, let's begin Winter 2017 Practice Period together on Wednesday, January 11th.

What is Practice Period? Every year in January into early March we gather together to intensify our practice through the ancient Buddhist tradition of the "rains retreat" - in India this was done in the summer, but our rains are in the dark of winter. 

A time of darkness, a time of light. A time of formal practice and a time of reflection and growth.

(Action too! One possibility: we have moved the opening sesshin of the Practice Period from Saturday, January 21st to Sunday, January 22nd to make room for the Bellingham Women's March, which will be from 10am to 2pm on that Saturday. Gather in front of Bellingham City Hall to join the march.)

I am delighted that our long-time member Ryushin Kate McKenna is bravely moving forward as our head student (shuso) for the Winter 2017 Practice Period. Please come join her and the sangha in deep practice from January 11th - March 8th

Two important things to do to get started after you take a look at the Practice Period page to get the overview.

 (1) Sign up online - here the link: Winter Practice Period 2017 - overview & registration sign up there, and then also book the classes and retreats you wish to attend. (Everything else is drop-in: there is separate registration for classes and retreats).

The online sign up is helpful. It serves as a clarification for you of what is offered, as a planning guide for what you plan to attend, and it's an opportunity to share with Kate and I what your intentions are for this sesshin. (only Kate and I will read your comments).

Additionally, there are options in the online sign up to ask for support. 

You can request a practice partner (and "accountabili-buddy"?) or you can invite one of our teachers to be in touch especially if you live outside of Bellingham (or even if you're local but can't make the regular times).

(2) Come, if at all possible, to the opening ceremony when Kate is invited to become our shuso and the gathered sangha share their intentions out loud (if they choose!) - Wednesday January 11th. More details here: Practice Period Opening Ceremony

Hope to see you soon at the zendo or beyond,

Nomon Tim Burnett

Spiritual Director

Annual Red Cedar Zen Community Fundraiser

In case you missed the email, we're grateful to the Annual Fund Workgroup for putting our annual fund drive together again this year. 

Over the last year, we have been involved in the larger Bellingham spiritual community through the countywide interfaith program of Let Love Be Our Legacy.  We have done several service projects in the community, continued our wilderness programs, and have dealt with some very significant issues with our beloved but aging infrastructure (read: "flushing with confidence.").

Your ongoing support is vital for us to remain financially stable and to continue to grow and thrive.

To offer a donation (fully tax deductible):

  • Donate online
  • Mail a check, payable to Red Cedar Zen Community and labelled as "donation", to the following address:
Red Cedar Zen Community
PO Box 5183
Bellingham, WA 98227

Also, please take a moment and have a light-hearted look at our 2016 Fund Drive Video.

In addition to a yearly contribution, if you wish to become a member of RCZC or to renew your membership ties, please submit a membership form. For additional information about the benefits of membership, please see our web page About Membership.

Sangha Events for January and into February

Saturday, December 31, 2016 7pm  New Year's Eve Zen Ceremony

Sunday, January 1, 2017 8:00am  Zazenkai: a morning of silent practice

Saturday, January 7th 6:00am - 9:00am 1st Saturday Morning Sit with Potluck Breakfast
                                    9:00am - 1:00pm Work Day with Potluck Lunch

Wednesday, January 11, 2017  7pm-9pm (Wednesday evening)  Practice Period Opening Ceremony.

Wednesday, January 18, 201 6pm (before Wednesday zazen)  Intimacy at the Heart of Conflict (Shuso's Class)

Sunday, January 22, 2017 (NOTE: re-scheduled to Sunday) 6am - 5pm Practice Period Opening Sesshin, which includes...

Sunday, January 22, 2017 10:30am Shuso's Way Seeking Mind Talk.

Saturday, Feburary 4th, 2017 9:30am Annual Sangha Meeting with the Board

Sunday, February 5th, 2017 9:00am - 5:00pm Sunday Simple Sit with Chris Burkhart

Special event for the sangha and the Bellingham community - our 4 week Introduction to Zen Meditation class
Tell your friends interested in Zen meditation, or come yourselves to our Monday evening in-depth class on Zen Meditation. Taught by Connie Martin and John Wiley.

Events in the Community:

Our involvement with the interfaith group Let Love be Our Legacy continues with two events in December:

February 4, 11, and 18: A Course on Islam will be hosted at St Paul's on these three Saturday mornings from 10am until noon. The Rev. Josh Hosler of St. Paul’s Episcopal will moderate this three-part series on our Muslim neighbors. There will be a presentation by members of Bellingham Mosque on the 4th. On the 11th, Professor Paul Ingram, Emeritus at Pacific Lutheran University, will speak. Recently the leadership of the Bellingham Mosque reached out and voiced a readiness to build interfaith dialogue, so this is a valuable opportunity to learn about this tradition.

Saturday, January 7: The Sikh Gurwara in Lynden will open its doors in celebration, to share prayers, peace, and food in a multicultural, interfaith prayer service from 4-8pm. Service is from 4-6pm, and a traditional vegetarian meal is offered to all attendees in keeping with Sikh teachings to make food available to all. All are welcome, anRyushin Andrea Thach will represent Red Cedar Zen at the service.

More information on these events will be place on the Let Love Be Our Legacy Facebook page and webpage.

Upcoming Retreats:

January 22, 2017:  Practice Period Opening Sesshin (re-scheduled to Sunday!)

March 2-5, 2017: Three Day Sesshin with Zoketsu Norman Fischer & Nomon Tim Burnett

December Dharma Talks:

December 1, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett: David Loy’s Response

December 2, 2016: Eko Jeff Kelley: Avowal and Repentance

December 3, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett: Four Foundations of Mindfulness 1 – Observation of Body 3

December 14, 2016: Heigaku Talus Latona: When Truth Moves

An offering from a Red Cedar Zen member:

So here is a moment in time – photo. 

It spoke to me. I may be the only one?

Winters grip fading. Late March morning.

Time for a walk around Lake Padden.

Not freezing, but still chilly. Walking along the shoreline, I noticed a color change off to my right.

Stopped and looked out through a tunnel of branches to lake water and sun.

Something was there. I (quickly) used my cell camera to record a number of images.

Idea was to sort them out later.

One jpg spoke to me!

Spring blue.

Last summer -


About this newsletter: Red Cedar Zen Community sends out a monthly newsletter to highlight upcoming Sangha activities, member news, and other noteworthy events. If you would like to feature something in an upcoming newsletter, please email Johnathan Riopelleten days prior to end of the month for submission in the upcoming newsletter. We welcome all kinds of offerings: event listings, resources, poetry and visual art.

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