Berkeley Zen Center… visit II

8 01 2007

Lady Zen and I went to Berkeley Sat. a.m. to checkout the Zen centerzencenter berkeley again and get some zazen instruction (sitting meditation). We got there around 9:15 after finding parking we arrived just in time to start. There was a group of about 8 or so. Instructions went around with the how/why did you get here questions. The group leader explained things well. Zendo ( building of meditation ) etiquette, breath, etc, etc, blah blah. We did about a five minute meditation for a start. Then that was it. The regular session was not happening today because a talk given by someone.

I wanted to hear so we stayed around a few minutes for that to start. It was taking place in the Zendo hall. Nice little Japanese hall Zendostyle building. It would be cool to have Martial Art classes there, perfect.

We go in and find a seat, shortly afterward people started coming in behind us. They had been out doing walking meditation and now returned. The place filled up quickly. Looked like about 30 or more people, all looking very Berkeleyest.

The speaker, someone high up I thought was going to speak on Zen stuff. But no, she talked about her and the groups trip to Japan to visit some Zen temples there.

Afterward some of the other traveller spoke about their experience as well. There was one interesting story. This lady in her Buddhist marking and very short hair was the object of great amusment by a couple of tenage boys on a train. They thought she was hystrical looking and could not stop laughing she said. However these youths who saw this great amusment in her, had their hair dyed bright blond, wore massive amounts of blig blig gold jewely, baggy saggin pants and combat boots…

Interesting to hear their impression of visiting what to them is the motherland of their Zen practice. As the founder of this center and 3 others here in Calif. came from Japan from the Soto sect.

cookies and tea
There was tea and cookies afterwards and a travel movie. We did not stay.

Afterward Lady Z and I remarked to each other, about the normal visitors views, they did not see the real Japan. Even though they went to some temples and did zazen practice. I was fortunate to see it. This Autumn one of my visits will be also to a Zen temple in Osaka, for a session and to speak with the master sailor. That should be interesting.

My impression of The Berkeley center. So so, just ok, no one spoke to us outside of the first instructor, she was pleasant. Of course we were in and out fairly quickly. But still I did not get a homey kind of feeling.

*Bad news just in my sis N bro inlaws, maybe have to transfer to another country due to his job Bummer! Not only no visit from them this year, but will not be able to see them in Autumn or when we move to Kobe. 😦

That is really disappointing on many levels, also for Okasan (mum) who was just getting used to being near her daughter. This also increases the need for us to be there for her in a few years*

Well back to Berkeley, after the session we went over to Oakland to “Geta Sushi”. A very Good little Japanese restaurant. Mostly to go, with only two tables inside. Real Japanese operators. Excellent price, excellent food. We ate there and then took some home for dinner to eat while watching our Saturday Japanese TV programs.

Our next visit on this Zen adventure is The San Francisco Zen Center. This Sat, there is a lecturer from Japan there. I am hoping to get to speak with him personally . He can explain a few things to Lady Z about Meditating, in Japanese so she will understand it better. Whilst there we can pickup some Zafu (sitting) cushions. The San Fransico Center is suppose to be more diverse as well. Maybe the energy will be different, but… I dislike going into the city. We’ll make a day out of it, go to Japan town for lunch and supplies.

I am not seeking to become Buddhist, this is more about the meditation practice. For benefits of that. One can be a student of Zen without being a Buddhist. It is interesting to hear The Buddhist philosophy and some of it I agree with, but not all. I read today from what I understand, and I maybe wrong is after the Buddha became “enlightened” he still needed to be convinced that females were equal enough to become enlightened. Huh, excuse me?? Now I maybe wrong and if anyone who ever reads this knows that I am, please tell me. Because it makes me wonder what kind of enlightenment is that? In the Tao we are all equal. In the foundation teaching of Jesus we are all equal. People distorted that but that is another story…

At some point I am hopeing to try out some kyudoka. Japanese Zen archry. I have alway enjoyed archry this should be the bomb! The problem is the timing when I can get to class.




2 responses

8 01 2007

Just found my way here on a stiff westerly breeze! This looks like good reading, thanks, Zen! *a deep bow*

9 01 2007

Good to read you Val, thanks for dropping by. Now you know the path come as you wish.

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