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  • Thursday, June 06, 2024 12:48 PM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    Dancing with the Dead: Red Pine and the Art of Translation (2023) - IMDbA master of ancient Chinese poetry and the search for a lost tradition. Bill Porter, who goes by the pen name Red Pine, is recognized as a living gateway to ageless Chinese history and culture. He has published over thirty books, including Road to Heaven, his quest to find hermits in the Zhongnan Mountains that reignited a movement in modern China to seek enlightenment through poetry and mountain solitude.

    The new film, Dancing with the Dead: Red Pine and the Art of Translation, follows Bill’s adventures as a child of a bank robber, raised in a gilded household, who turned his back on American devotion to materialism and went off to live in monasteries and mountains in Taiwan. He pursued a fascination with Buddhism and poetry and traveled to remote regions of China to rediscover an ancient tradition of mountain hermits vital to Chinese culture.

    Following the film, will be a Q & A with Ward Serrill followed by a live performance by Spring Cheng. Spring is a Bellingham Artist and Native Chinese whose poetry-music is featured in the movie.

    Additional information and tickets can be found at: https://www.pickfordfilmcenter.org/movie/dancing-with-the-dead-red-pine-and-the-art-of-translation-2/

  • Monday, June 03, 2024 11:52 AM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    This month’s featured sangha member (and related story) is Kandō Rei Greene. Rei was an indisputably needed component of the sangha’s recent Japan pilgrimage. She worked with Nomon Tim for nearly two years on backbone planning and was indispensable in-country as the interpreter and group leader. I heard again and again how much Rei was appreciated for her organization and tremendous support once in Japan. Deep bows!

    I spoke with Rei recently to learn more about how her Japan journey began over 20 years ago, and how her love of Japan continues still.

    Desiree: How did that first trip to Japan unfold?

    Rei: The first time I had the chance to travel and live in Japan was through winning one of two scholarship offerings, back around 2002. The scholarship was for a one-year stay in Japan as an exchange student, and took place during half of my junior year and into half of my senior year in high school.

    My parents - especially my mother - were furious! Not only about going, but applying in the first place, without permission! However, despite “initial grounding,” I obviously went, then went back after my first year in college to teach English.

    Desiree: What did you especially enjoy this trip?

    Rei: I loved connecting with the Japanese people once again. It was so enjoyable to interact with the three bilingual tour guides and I was so happy to be reconnected with my host family!

    Desiree: What were some other highlights?

    Rei: I really enjoyed meeting the “Marathon Monk”, Dai Ajari-sama, who ran marathons before regular practice and achieved the 7 year, 1,000 day challenge that only 46 men have completed since 1885.

    Also enjoyable was tasting the delicious shojin-ryori or temple food, experiencing the small and quite strenuous part of the Kumano-kodo pilgrimage trail, and visiting the nun’s training monastery. And, of course, visiting Shunryu Suzuki’s family at Rinso-in was very warm and enjoyable.

    Desiree: Any last words?

    Rei: Despite worries about transportation, especially buses and coming together with everyone, everything worked out well.

    I’m so grateful that everyone involved were seasoned travelers who were very independent and resourceful! I’m so grateful for the trust that I received from everyone and for the generosity of the sangha to make it possible for me to return to this place I love! Thank you!


    Thank you, Kando Rei, for the tremendous energy in planning, organizing and carrying everyone through this journey...such a gift!

    ~Much gratitude, IkuShun Desiree

  • Monday, June 03, 2024 11:33 AM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    RCZC now has a YouTube channel for Dharma talks!  New talks will be posted to both YouTube and the RCZC website and, in time, historical talks will also be posted to the new channel. 

    To see a teacher's talk notes you will still need to go to the Dharma Talks library on the RCZC website, but YouTube is very convenient for streaming talks on your phone or tablet.

    YouTube Channel
    (Click Subscribe for notification of new posts)

    Website Dharma Talks Library

  • Monday, June 03, 2024 11:26 AM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    The Fresno Zen Group with it's guiding teacher, Grace Shireson, is no longer meeting in person and has generously offered to donate their main altar, cushions, and other Zen gear to the sangha.

    The trick is, it is all in storage in Fresno, California.

    Fancy a road trip to California to pick it up for RCZC? Hiking in the Sierras and then driving this wonderful donation back to Bellingham?

    A vehicle with a trailer hitch that a U-Haul trailer could be hooked to comes to mind as one way this could be accomplished.  

    Please contact Nomon Tim if you are interested in helping the sangha!

  • Monday, June 03, 2024 11:18 AM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    From the June 2024 Red Cedar Zen newsletter:

    From Nomon Tim

    I've been feeling anew into how hard it is to prioritize my own needs lately. 

    Like so many in the sangha my life has become a life in service to so many others. To my children and step children, to my staff at work, to you my dear sangha, and of course to my wonderful wife. And this is truly wondrous - it opens and nourishes my heart to support, to help, to connect, and to love others. I am blessed to be in relationship with so many wonderful people. It's incredible. Truly.

    And yet there's often an imbalance. If I perceive a need someone has, before I know it, I've dropped everything. A powerful impulse in me to help others takes the wheel. And there's no pausing to think, what do I need here? What are my priorities?

    I do have a lovely (and quite privileged) life, don't get me wrong: I'm not complaining. But I am noticing that I often miss chances to nourish myself and my deeper passions. 

    From time to time, this all catches up with me. Years can go by and areas of interest that deeply feed me gets no attention. Mostly this seems to be because I'm too busy doing everything else, and so much of that everything else is for others. 

    I do know, at some level anyway, that if I take care of myself more fully, truly nourish myself, I'll actually be of more use to others. I'll show up more fully as a warmer, clearer and more loving presence. There's something to filling my own cup that matters. That there's a win-win possible here. That it doesn't have to be a tug-of-war between me and everything else.

    This is an area I've been working on for some decades to be honest! Some years ago I was listening to the Canadian folk singer Brucc Cockburn and some lines to his poignant song "Pacing the Cage" just about knocked me flat:

    I never knew what you all wanted,
    So I gave you everything

    That's what I do!! I realized at the time. All the time! Including the lack of feeling into (or asking!) what's really, truly needed here.

    Our vow to save all beings, I'm reminding myself, radically and completely includes ourselves. 

    How does this work in your life? Is this imbalance there at times? Often?! This can run deep.

    Let's support each other by each of us taking better care of ourselves. By treasuring ourselves as fully as we treasure others.

    So, if I don't call back right away, I hope you can celebrate with me. Maybe I'll be out in nature, or finally working on my Spanish, or playing guitar. I'll get back to you soon for sure, and I'll be glad to connect, but not until I've given myself some time and love first!

    Nomon Tim

    p.s. And please don't read these thoughts and worry about me or hesitate to ask if there's something I can do for you. No need to protect me from myself! Do ask, I do care and I want to know. And...I'll have the opportunity to practice balancing my needs with the needs of others. We take care of each other in so many ways.

    Nomon Tim Burnett is Red Cedar Zen Community's Guiding Teacher

  • Friday, May 31, 2024 10:16 AM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    Sangha Members, Family and Friends,

    I am sorry to inform you that our dear sangha member Ryushin Kate Korn-McKenna has contracted COVID and, as a result, tomorrow's Completion of Training Ceremony has been canceled.  This special ceremony will be rescheduled for a date yet to be determined.  

    Please send your well wishes to Ryushin Kate, and contact admin@redcedarzen.org if you have any questions.

  • Sunday, May 19, 2024 3:23 PM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    This past week we had a few cancellations for the sesshin, which has opened a handful of spaces for you to join us.  As of this writing we have:

    • One full sesshin e-cabin (i.e., with shared bathroom)
    • Two full sesshin rustic cabins
    • A few full sesshin tent spaces
    • One first half sesshin rustic cabin scholarship
    • Several second half sesshin rustic cabins and tent spaces 
    • Unlimited Zoom spots.  

    Please remember that to attend for second half you must have attended a Samish sesshin previously, and you must register for the Zoom option to attend as much of the full zendo schedule as you have time for.

    All are welcome join the Dharma Talks on a drop-in basis online or in person.

    Please see the following link for more details regarding the sesshin, and email admin@redcedarzen.org if you have any questions.

    Samish Sesshin with Zoketsu Norman Fischer and Nomon Tim Burnett

  • Sunday, May 05, 2024 5:12 PM | Nomon Tim Burnett (Administrator)

    May Newsleter Feature--the Art of sangha member: Kandis Susol



    Kandis Susol: Artwork for Peace

    This month we are featuring our sangha member Kandis Susol.  Here is a bit about Kandis and her work summarized from an exchange that we had about her background, her artistic desire, endeavors, and how these inform her way of life…the way of peace.

    Kandis was 19 years old and had been working in a factory for 2 years, enjoying her work of soldering and wiring—until she found out what it was that she was contributing to—War Missiles. Her tremendous desire to work for peace conflicted so greatly with that livelihood that she quit the factory, but never forgot what she had been unknowingly contributing to.

    She began learning about the Way of Tea after seeing a Japanese style tea ceremony.  She ended up moving to Orcas Island, where she lives now, with her husband on their fruit orchard.  Although she feels she is still a beginner in the art of Tea Ceremony, at her home on Orcas, she did create a tea room.  As she began really paying attention to the making of the tea--and bringing that mindfulness to it, she saw that this awareness, this flowing moment by moment, is the same on her cushion, in her art, and in her daily life. 

    Kandis discovered, quite to her surprise, her unique and beautiful artform—wax and paper sculptures; many pages coming together as one—papers from the pulp of Mulberry trees, infused with an encaustic wax technique. These beautifully combined sculptures—dynamic and flowing, show how each piece is created with individual papers forming into an interconnectedness. Each pure, sculpted piece, with its featherlike softness and flowing movement and stillness, exudes peace—the peace that Kandis infused in each page. This infusion of peace is how she offers a counterbalance to the actions not so peaceful in this world.

     “We need to find peace within our hearts and radiate that out to the world.”

    An upcoming show, revealing new pieces, is inspired by the climate consortium.  Kandis collaborated with Jon Riedel, who established a glacier monitoring program which is bringing to light the impact on melting glaciers and their impact on agriculture and environment.  

    This work is on exhibit this month at the Winston Wachter Fine Art gallery from April 25th to June 12th

    Please check out Kandis’ website for more about Kandis and her work extraordinaire: kandissusol.com.

    Her work was also featured in a recent article in the Orcasonian (the local news of her Orcas Island community).

  • Saturday, May 04, 2024 12:25 PM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    Nomon Tim has been asked by the RCZC Board of Directors to start exploring with the sangha how we will use the new Cedarwood building.

    Can you help us by filling out a survey on what practice times work for you, and future programs you are interested in?


  • Thursday, May 02, 2024 5:46 PM | Program Administrator (Administrator)

    Deep thanks to sangha member Neal Engledow for his fine woodworking. After retiring as a journalist Neal took up woodworking seriously as a hobby and we're so grateful he did. He has a special interest in "kumiko" the Japanese fine art of wood lattice work.

    Neal has made several things for the new zendo already, which have mostly been stored away until we get there.  However, at our Practice Period Closing Retreat, the big drum was called for in the closing Shuso's Dharma Inquiry Ceremony.

    And Neal had recently built us a wonderful drum stand. Look forward to seeing these and several other of Neal's pieces after Cedarwood opens.

    Thank you Neal!

    Neal Engledow with the drum stand he built based on traditional designs in collaboration with Nomon Tim. 

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