Well, it has finally happened! The COVID pandemic has finally reached the point in Erie County in which the Buffalo Zen Dharma Community is able to start in-person gatherings. This past Saturday, the 6th of August, we met at the Network of Religious Communities building for our first monthly half-day, Saturday morning zazen (meditation) intensive since the COVID social restrictions started. Afterwards it was possible to share lunch at one of the local restaurants. This has been a long time coming. We are also presently planning on having full Tuesday night services like we had pre-COVID sometime in October. In September we will be suspending our Zoom Tuesday night program as we prepare and coordinate full services in October.
Participation in the half-day Saturday morning zazen (meditation) intensives requires that the participants have already received introductory information/instruction on zazen. Such information is available through our Newcomers page and through contacting us. More specific information can be supplied by talking with one of our members who have already been going to these events.
This intensive meditative event has six meditation periods with five periods of walking meditation in-between. The event is held in silence. Participants are asked to attend for the whole session. However, there can be some extenuating circumstances where exceptions are made. Bathrooms are available, and participants may bring a beverage. Incense is started at the beginning of each meditation period. Participants are asked to be fully vaccinated against COVID, though no proof is required. Those feeling ill are asked to not attend. Masks are not required; and the wearing of masks is left up to the participant. Formal Mountains and Rivers Order students are requested to wear their meditation robes, but for those who are not, just comfortable clothing is required. Low sound electronic air purifiers are used to recycle the air every hour. Cell phones are asked to be turned off.
If anyone is interested in taking up an authentic and life-changing Zen Buddhist practice, please contact us about learning more. The Buffalo Zen Dharma Community is an affiliate of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism centered at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY, which was started by Roshi John Daido Loori.
David Kozen Williams, MRO has been a formal student in the Mountains and Rivers Order since 1997.