Kyudo n LA…Kanzeonji

20 07 2009

LA Kyudo – Spirit/Mind

I went to three different Dojos’ while in LA. Even through run by the same person each was different and had a different energy, but the root sameness. It was like a living Kyudo Sanmi-Ittai. My day tripping began on Sat. Morning. It was early but not too bad. One good part about it is there was no traffic at 6:30 am on Sat. So I was able to zip to where I needed to be for Sat morning service.


I arrived just in time for the second part of the Zazen. I went to the wrong place next door, before finding Kanzeonji where I needed to be. Kanzeonji is a small Zen Buddhist Temple located in the Mt Washington Area of Los Angeles.


The meditation and the Kyudo was taking place there. As I tried to find my way around to the Zazen I was met outside by a young Asian man in a robe, who guided me in. More on this man later.

I joined the group for the second 30 min Zazen. As with Soto style we faced the wall. That sitting time went by much faster than I imagined. Next up was the part I was not looking forward to ! One hour of chanting Sutra’s. We do not do Chanting in our Chan group so it is always a little strange for me. Today I was relaxed. It was a very small group only 3 of us, plus the abbot and a Monk/Priest ( the Kyudo Sensei). The Young Man, my guide, pointed to where in the book we were. It was helpful. He also did this when we were chanting and I got lost…repeatedly. That was the hard part, keeping up, and If I stopped for a moment to think about pronunciation , they moved on to the next words, so no time to think. The WORST part of the Chanting was having to kneel for one hour. We do not spend a lot of time on our knees in Chinese Chan..none in fact. So this was a test for me. Little did I realize this was the easy part as I could use a cushion to support my weight…The real deal came later…

After the morning services, the Kyudo people started coming at 9:00. One of the people is a Lady I met at one of my groups retreats. We exchanged greetings and such. Then I was told the format of the kyudo session, by the young man, my guide let’s call him.

We meditated again, chanted the Diamond Lotus Sutra, then went out and shot one arrow. Then had tea. I found out later this was not a teaching class. It was more of a Spiritual Shower for the morning, Everyone was to shoot one arrow via whatever Style you chose to use. Styles did not matter in the morning session. A couple of the people did very ceremonial shots. Bow, Kneeling, turns. Very much as presenting an offering in front of the Shinto shrine the shooting area was located.


However after everyone had shot. We were given some instruction on how to hold/grasp the Yumi and a short demo. I made some mental notes.

After the shooting we sat again had tea and fruit and chatted. It was a pleasantly different experience. Then we took apart the Dojo and cleaned up.

Facing the mirror at the shrine

Facing the mirror at the shrine

My guide at one point says to me, are you still using Mac’s? Huh?!? How do you know that?  I say, rather surprised! I know you he says, you know my mother. It turns out his mother and I took some computer classes together. We were buds at one time. This guy I had not seen in some 10 yrs he was grown now. Small world, now to meet him here as a Monk in training, studying Kyudo, Amazing running into that sort of connection karma.

Afterward I went to lunch with the Kyudo Sensei and met his family. He also took me to his home and showed me his private Dojo and meditation shack next to the family veggie garden.  I had explained to his wife about how to make pesto earlier. The yard and training area where peaceful. I was invited to shoot there when I visited another time.

Next stop on the Day, was meeting up with the “Team Buddha”, I’ll call them. We had been in contact for several months via the Blog/network social clubs. We hung out, laughed and had a few deep thoughts 🙂


After a struggle finding parking and being totally amazed at the numbers of people out shopping in Pasadena, who had not heard or care that there was a recession on. Good for them. Anyway we met in Starbuck and chatted for a couple of hours. While shopping, and being seen went on in Pasadena, CA home of the Rose Parade.


So ended my Sat. part one and two events. time for part three… I headed out for a new location. Pasadena Japanese Cultural Center.




One response

21 07 2009

We had deep thoughts?

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