July 2020
Weekly Meditations via ZOOM - see at bottom flyer below
Dharma talks, metta, meditation, teachers, sharing, and much more!
Dear ones,
Sadness, anger, denial, frustration, anxiety, fear, and depression seem to be swirling all around us. Covid-19, race, politics, masks, justice, persecution, separation and change seems to be a more pressing part of our life than ever before. What can we do? What does it all mean? Why are we all suffering?
Our historical teacher, whom we know as the Buddha (Awakened One) taught of suffering (dissatisfaction) over 2500 years ago. He offered us a way to look within and find peace in the midst of suffering.
As we cultivate our spiritual practice and path, let us return again and again, and again to our metta practice, wishing all beings (including ourselves) to be well and happy and to know love and peace.

The Four Noble Truths are part of the original and basic teaching of the Buddha; we crave and cling to impermanent states and things, which are dukkha, "incapable of satisfying" and painful. This craving keeps us caught in samsara, the endless cycle of repeated rebirth and dying again, and the dukkha that comes with it.

by eliminating all "craving, desire, and attachment"

May all beings know love and peace,...... in metta,......Thay Kozen
Photo by Jeff Lemley
Avalokiteśvara bodhisattva and Mt. Adams Photo by Jeff Lemley
Our temple property will reopen to the public on July 15th, 2020 .
The public will be free to walk the labyrinth, the cloister and to visit the temple.
No services will be held inside the temple.
The maximum number of visitors is limited to 15 people at any one time.
Facial masks, hand washing, and social distancing are required for all visitors.
Dalai Lama: Seven billion people 'need a sense of oneness'
The leader of Tibetan Buddhism sees reasons for optimism even in the midst of the corona virus pandemic. People are helping one another, he tells the BBC's Justin Rowlatt, and if seven billion people on Earth develop "a sense of oneness" they may yet unite to solve the problem of climate change.

Read the entire wonderful article by His Holiness The Dalai Lama at https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-53028343
Negative thinking linked to dementia in later life
From an article on the CNN website.
"We propose that repetitive negative thinking may be a new risk factor for dementia," said lead author Dr. Natalie Marchant, a psychiatrist and senior research fellow in the department of mental health at University College London, in a statement.

Negative thinking behaviors such as rumination about the past and worry about the future were measured in over 350 people over the age of 55 over a two-year period. About a third of the participants also underwent a PET (positron emission tomography) brain scan to measure deposits of tau and beta amyloid, two proteins which cause Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia.
The scans showed that people who spent more time thinking negatively had more tau and beta amyloid buildup, worse memory and greater cognitive decline over a four-year period compared to people who were not pessimists.
The study also tested for levels of anxiety and depression and found greater cognitive decline in depressed and anxious people, which echos prior research. But deposits of tau and amyloid did not increase in the already depressed and anxious people, leading researchers to suspect repeated negative thinking may be the main reason why depression and anxiety contribute to Alzheimer's disease. https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/07/health/negative-thinking-dementia-wellness/index.html

The Buddha's teachings help us to understand that what we become what we think. Anxiety, negativity, and depression appear to be precursors to later cognitive issues. Let us all learn to practice the peaceful teachings of our historial teacher and be mentally healthy.
My Practice
by Rev. Scott See
Ah, my practice. I sit and watch it grow.

At first, my practice confused me; it bewildered me. All the non-sense. All the mysteries to solve and understand.

And then, my practice enraptured me. The thrilling excitement of this new thing I had discovered.

And then, my practice became my pride and joy. Such pity for all who knew no such practice.

And then, my practice left a hole in me. As I let go of my pride; let go of my attachment; let go of my feeling exceptional, my practice became just my practice. I’d felt a loss. Thoughts of whether I’d strayed off the path. Thoughts of whether I’d lost my practice. Nagging self doubt.

And then, my practice and I found peace with one another. “Forgetting the Ox, the Oxherder Rests Alone,” now makes sense. Still, I work hard in my studies, as I did before. But not for me. Not for me. For the chance that I may be blessed one day to be better able to point someone else along the way.

And then, I practice. And then, I practice.
Thich Minh Thien (Thay Z)
Abbot of Budding Dharma (Arlington Texas)

Letting Go

Here we are four months into the Covid19 pandemic. Most of us have experienced more isolation in our lives than we have ever had before. That leads to lots of unstructured time that we may or may not be used to and we may be struggling with it a bit. This unstructured time may be making us more aware of our thoughts and actions as we struggle to find balance in this new way of living or it might be causing some challenges that we haven’t experienced before. As practitioners of the teachings of the Buddha, we may be looking to our practice in new and differing ways than maybe we did before, as we now have more time to observe our thoughts, our words and our actions.

When one sits in meditation, we are practicing the art of not struggling and not doing. Meditation is about letting go and just being and meeting oneself as we already are. The practice is just that — practice. As we sit, we relax; we rest; we let go and in those moments, it is where we can find our state of “being-ness”, right here and right now.

In our practice, we may find it hard to touch that “being-ness” at times because other parts of us identify with or focus on some of our other parts; like “thinking-ness” or “planning-ness” or “remembering-ness”. Our minds can be full of activity like busy little bees or monkeys; which of course, is where the term monkey-mind comes from. All of these thoughts are just parts of us that we frequently over identify with. These sorts of mental activities can work to keep us distracted and from touching our “being-ness”, which is the clearer vision of who we really are.

As we practice our meditation, our walking, our breathing, our mindfulness, we can start to realize that there has been an inner awareness that has been there all the time. It is very different from that monkey-mind. We begin to recognize and identify with our core, or as it might labeled in Buddhism, our Buddha mind.

Our practice is not about getting rid of all our busy bees and monkeys, but rather to identify them and to help us to re-identify with our pure potentiality; our pure “being-ness”. As we practice meditation and mindfulness, the busy bee or monkey activity begins to slow down a bit. We never really eradicate those parts of our mind, we just begin to take better control of them and recognize the busy bees and monkeys not as mortal enemies, but just other parts of us to be mindful of and exercise control over. The Buddha mind or inner-knowing becomes what it always is — who we truly are and are meant to be. As we master our thoughts and train our minds to slow down and let go, our potential for happiness and serving others increases exponentially and is now a channel of expression for that Buddha nature in the world.

Letting go of our busy mind, even just for the period of time where we sit in meditation, has the potential of providing balance and stability, even when all that surrounds us, is unbalanced and unstable. We can then practice to our fullest potential our abilities to express loving kindness and compassion; not only for ourselves, but for all the sentient beings we are so connected to. Our Metta practice becomes our way of living. It becomes more than just the words. May all beings be well and happy and know love and peace.
Ajaan Fuang's Wisdom

When you meditate, you have to let go in stages. Like when they go into outer space: The space capsule has to let go of the booster rockets before it can reach the moon.

When the mind is really in place, you can let go of the breath, and it won't wander off anywhere. It's like pouring cement: If the cement hasn't set, you can't remove the plywood forms, but once it's set,
it'll stay where it is without any need for the forms at all
Poetry from Venerable Fa Sing
(Thich Tâm Minh)
waiting quietly
for the pot to boil,
I sit and listen
while the sound of rain
fills my cup.


Whether I blaze
with the fire of hatred
or the fire of compassion,
those who are near me
will be touched by the flames 

But I will be consumed by them.


borne aloft
on a hummingbird's wings 
honeysuckle dreams
“from the Cover Design for Susan Murcott’s book The First Buddhist Women by Gay Reineck”
I ntroducing the Therigatha:
By Rev. Valerie Grigg Devis

The Therigatha is the oldest historic text by and about Buddhist women. The text itself comes from the Pali Canon, which was passed down to us through oral and then written form, together with the teachings of the Buddha. From this same source, we learn about the lives and spiritual quest of the Buddha's nuns or female followers, known as “Bhikkhunis”. An account of the arrival of the first Bhikkhunis is told in chapter fourty-five of Old Path, White Clouds, a re-telling of the Buddha’s life story, by Thich Nhat Hahn, as follows:
"Early one morning on his way to the lake to get some water, Ananda met
Gotami and fifty other women standing not far from the Buddha’s hut.
Every woman had shaved her head and was wearing a yellow robe. Their
feet were swollen and bloody. At first glance, Ananda thought it was a
delegation of monks, but suddenly he recognized Lady Gotami. Hardly able
to believe his eyes, he blurted out, “Good heavens, Lady Gotami! Where
have you come from? Why are your feet so bloody? Why have you and all
the ladies some here like this? Gotami answered: “Venerable Ananda, we
have shaved our heads and given away all our fine clothes and jewels. We
no longer have any possessions in this world. We left Kapilavatthu and have
walked for fifteen days, sleeping by the roadsides and begging for our food
in small villages along the way. We wish to show that we are capable of
living like bhikkhus. I beseech you, Ananda. Please speak to the Buddha on
our behalf. We wish to be ordained as nuns.”

It is quite fascinating that the Therigatha provides more detail about the lives of the early Buddhist nuns than we know about the Buddha’s closest monastic companions – including such familiar names as Sariputta, Anuruddha and Moggallana. Have you heard of Bhadda, Vimala, Yasodhara and Mahapajapati
Gotami? Perhaps it is time to be introduced.
Among them were women of royal family, slaves, untouchables, prostitutes, courtesans, and spiritual seekers from other religious sects. They included the displaced wives, royal concubines, sisters, and daughters of the men who followed the Buddha into a life of “homelessness”, as well as female relatives of the Buddha himself - including his wife and his foster mother.

Much of the Therigatha consists of poems commemorating the life and enlightenment experiences of each woman. In fact, the earliest English translation refers to them as “Psalms,” like the “Psalms of King David” found in the Old Testament Bible.
These early Buddhist women, even when grieving over a lost child or a failed marriage, do not see themselves as victims. Instead, they turn their hardships and tragedies into steps on the spiritual path. Vasetthi, for example, was so deeply tormented over the loss of her son that she:
wandered the streets
naked with wild hair
and lived on trash heaps, in a graveyard,
and by the highways.
But by the end of the poem, she has “realized great joy” by making the Buddha’s
teachings her life practice. The nuns also speak with self-confidence about the
most painful moments of their lives. As Canda says:
I was in a bad way
a widow
no children, no friends,
no relations to give me food and
Touchingly, the poems include final words of enlightenment on behalf of an unnamed elderly women, or

“She Who Went Forth Later in Life”:
Sleep softly, old lady,
wrapped in the robe you sewed yourself;
for your desire has been quelled,
you’re cooled and quenched.

Many of the issues faced by these women are as vital today as they were twenty-five hundred years ago. They speak of growing old, of depression, motherhood, childlessness and menopause, of temptation and of loss. They reject materialism and celebrate friendship and community. The spirit that permeates their poems is fiercely antihierarchical. The words of the Venerable nun Nanda ring out:

"Get rid of the tendency
to judge yourself
above, below or
equal to others".

From the very beginning, women have realized the truth of their own Buddha nature and demonstrated indisputable spiritual accomplishment. They manifested leadership - including the authority to organize themselves, to teach the Dharma, to hold positions within the Sangha and to lead others in the practice. The many hundreds of nuns who followed the path during the Buddha’s lifetime lived a simple way of life, just as the monks did, reminding us to take up a sustainable way of living.

Following their introduction into the Sangha, many nuns were recognized by the Buddha himself for their spiritual attainments, including brilliant Dharma discourse, deep wisdom, compassion and insight. They did so in spite of the prejudice of the society in which they lived and initial reluctance on the part of the
exclusively-male Sangha in which they took their rightful place. These women thought and acted for themselves, seek and attaining an enlightened life. In short, from the very beginning, women have co-created Buddhist practice as we know it today.

To learn more about our female Buddhist ancestors, here are several readings which have the Therigatha as their source material:

(1) MURCOTT, Susan. The First Buddhist Women: Translations and Commentary on the Therigatha. Parallax Press. 1991. This book includes some of the fascinating stories associated with the first Buddhist nuns, which offers us insight into the amazing lives they lived. It also includes some historic context and commentary, which allows us to better understand the significance of their spiritual accomplishments.

(2) The Lives of the Elder Nuns – (*NEED REFERENCES for the book: Author, Press and date) This book is available at the Mt. Adams Zen Temple gift and book shop (at the entryway). It includes the history and words of many of the first Buddhist nuns.

In addition, there are several free translations of the Therigatha available on-line.

A NOTE ON TRANSLATIONS: Just like the English translations of the rest of the Pali Canon, the readability of the translations of the Therigatha varies. If you have difficulty with one translation, it is worth seeking another one that speaks to you.
Spending time in nature boosts health
" A new UK study has found that spending two hours per week soaking up nature -- be it woodland, park or beach -- gives a positive boost to health and wellbeing, both mentally and physically.
The study, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports , draws upon interviews with around 20,000 people in England about their contact with the natural world in the previous week.
It found that among people who had spent little or no time in parks, beaches or woods in the past seven days, close to half reported low levels of life satisfaction and one in four said they were in poor health.
Among people who had spent at least two hours in the natural world, only one in three said they felt dissatisfied, while just one in seven reported poor health. "

"Buddhist Book Club" will be rising from the ashes
WHEN:  We will be meeting from 7:00 to 8:30pm the first and third Thursday of each month through August, with the possibility of continuing into the fall if there is interest. Our first meeting will be next Thursday the 18th of June.
WHO:  My friend Emily Martin and Scott Cushman will be leading. This is a "peer-led" group so we do not consider ourselves teachers but rather facilitators. The group is geared towards folks with some level of Buddhist meditation experience who have an ongoing practice. If you're wondering if it might be for you, just reach out and we can chat!
WHERE:  We will be meeting on the land where Scott lives near Northwestern Park. We have a beautiful deck tucked in the trees with a cleared area around it where we will gather. There is plenty of space for folks to spread out and keep a safe distance. Directions to the property are below.
WHAT:  This is will be chance for us to commune and support each other in our dharma practice. This feels especially valuable in this time when so much real-life communing is on hold. We will be reading The Way of Tenderness, a short book by zen priest Zenju Earthlyn Manuel that feels particularly relevant in this moment as it brings "Buddhist philosophies of emptiness and appearance to bear on race, sexuality, and gender, using wisdom forged through personal experience and practice to rethink problems of identity and privilege." ( you can order the book here) Each meeting will begin with a 30 minute period of meditation, followed by a brief check in and then reading out loud and discussing the book together. Don’t worry if you feel you won’t be able to read the book outside of meetings, we will be reading it during our time together.
Our first meeting will be next Thursday the 18th. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to walk in to the deck and get settled. If you can RSVP so we have a sense of how many folks are coming that would be appreciated. Please feel welcome to share this with anyone who you think might be interested!
For information contact rscottcush@gmail.com
May the Infinite Light of Wisdom and Compassion so shine within us
that the errors and vanities of self may be dispelled; 
so shall we understand the changing nature of existence and awaken into spiritual peace.
Mt Adams Zen Buddhist Temple   46 Stoller Rd., Trout Lake WA 98650 509.395.2030     www.Mtadamszen.org