Book Club Update

Suzuki reclining


Today our book club met.  We had a good discussion on the introduction to Shunryu Suzuki’s Sandokai lecture series.  The book is called Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness.  The intro was really inspiring a whole host of thoughts and reactions, and members took the opportunity to talk not only about the text, but other thoughts, ideas, and personal experiences.  We always have a good chat.

For next time, we’ll talk about the first six lectures in the book.  These chapters / lectures each cover a couplet of the original Sandokai text, and are rich without being over-wrought or showy.

Anyways, please join us if you can.

March 16th, 8 to 10 am, at All Beings Zendo in Adams Morgan.

– All Beings Book Club Folks



Rei-gen Danny Parker Sensei to offer February 20th Dharma Talk

This week Reigen Danny Parker Sensei is visiting the DC area. He will being offering a Dharma Talk for All Beings Sangha during our regular Thursday evening practice. His talk is inspired by the teachings of Kobun Chino Roshi on “practicing enlightenment”.
7pm opening service
7:10 Zazen
7:25 Sensei Reigen’s Talk
8:00 Period for questions

Zazen canceled for February 13th due to inclement weather

Due to todays weather and the expectation of more snow this evening we will not be have the evening practice in Adams Morgan tonight 2/13/14.
Our guest speaker Eleanor Graves has agreed to reschedule her Dharma Talk for March 13th, 2014.
Our Sunday Half Day on 2/16 is still “on”.

New Events for January / February 2014



Greetings All –

We’ve put a few upcoming events on the events page.  A Dharma Talk, a guest speaker, a half day sit, and book club discussion.  Check them out, and we hope you can come.

Stay warm, everyone!

– All Beings


Reading Group Update – Fukan zazengi is next



Hey everyone – 

Just yesterday, the reading group finished our third and final session discussing Red Pine’s Lankatavara Sutra.  I think we all agreed it was a tough read, but a good text to come back to periodically.  You can read paragraph after paragraph and be totally confused, but then stumble across a passage that really resonates.  Amazing for a text as old as it is, and Red Pine’s notes and presentation are, as always, just top notch.  

Next we’re going to read the Fukan zazengi, Dogen’s classic, short pronouncment/manifesto ‘Recommending Zazen to All People’.  It’s short, practical, and very beautiful.  

There are numerous translations of this text.  Here are a few on the open internet for your reading pleasure:

Again, it’s very short, folks – most translations clock in at under three pages.   

We’ll meet on Sunday, January 19th to talk about this text.  Hope you can make it!  



Thirteen People participated in the opening day of our Fall Practice Period!

Despite not being able to listen to Dairyu’s Dharma talk mid-day, it seemed that we had a very useful discussion during that break period in sitting.  Later in the day we were able to Skype with Dragons Leap to participate in the Shosan Ceremony before closing our Sesshin with chanting the refuges.

Many thanks to Lane and Ilaria for sharing Tenzo duty on Sunday and nourishing our practice with healthy, delicious food!  Thanks also to Carlos for baking cookies for and managing the afternoon tea.

Here is a photo which Curt Ponce-Barger took of the sangha members still in the zendo at 8pm.
Looking forward to our next half day sit on October 20th, 2013 from 9am-2pm.

Image 2

2013 Fall Practice Period

This year, All Beings Zen Sangha will be participating in a Fall Practice Period beginning on September 29th.  Practice period is a tradition in Buddhism allowing for more time dedicated to focused practice, and in the Japanese Zen tradition, it is known as “ango” or “peaceful dwelling”.  This traditional period is an opportunity to clarify spiritual intentions, deepen understanding and more fully integrate practice with life circumstances.  It is said that participating in practice period is not only a way of returning to the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but also of upholding and revitalizing the entire community.

Below are details of the offerings at All Beings during this period:

Two main opportunities for deepening practice period will be in the areas of zazen (including sesshin) and dharma study as described below.  Note that for Dharma study we will be reading and discussing the Lankatavara Sutra.  This is the famous text Bodhidharma gave to his successor right before he vanished, saying something to the effect of, “Everything you need is in this book.”  It is a classic Zen text.


Full-Day Retreats (one):  Sept. 29th

– Half-Day Retreats (three):  Oct. 20th, Nov. 16th, Nov 17th

Regular sittings:  Thursday evenings at 7pm, Monday and Friday mornings at 6:30am

5 Day Sesshin (at conclusion): Starting Tuesday December 3rd, Ending Saturday December 7th

Dharma Study & Talks:

– The Practice Period will open with a Dharma talk offered by long time All Beings member Ja Shin Elizabeth Bourne on the topic of “Quotes that inspire my zen practice”.  The talk will be given following one period of zazen on Thursday September 26th.

–  Three Sunday Morning Teas will be offered to discuss the Lankatavara Sutra on these dates; October 13, October 27 and November 10th.  8am- 9:30am.  The first morning we will read the introduction together and decide upon topics for the following two study discussions.

–  Other Dharmas Talks, provided by Dairyu Michael Wenger of Dragons Leap Temple in San Francisco California via audio broadcast during full-day sittings and sesshin and by Inryu Bobbi Ponce-Barger our All Beings Sangha Resident Teacher.

Here is a draft sample of the next half day schedule .

– October 20th, 2013-

9am – Zazen

9:30 – Kinhin

9:40 – Zazen

10:10 – Service Heart Sutra

10:20 – Break/Walk

10:50 – Zazen

11:20 – Kinhin

11:30 – Zazen

12:00 Oryoki Lunch

12:45 – Break

1:15 – Dharma Talk

2:00 – Refuges and Closing


The efforts of many hands bring forth the Dharma.  If you are in a position to support the Sangha financially through a donation it is most welcome.  Donation envelopes can be found near the door of the zendo.

The Lankatavara Sutra

The Lankatavara Sutra


Hi everyone –

So, a few of us are going to be reading and discussing the Lankatavara Sutra, the famous text Bodhidharma gave to his successor right before he vanished, saying something to the effect of, “Everything you need is in this book.”  It’s a Zen standard.

Red Pine is the name Bill Porter takes when he translates old Chinese texts.  His translations are fantastic, both for their erudition and the presence the author brings to the work.  Red Pine lives this stuff, and it shows in his translations.

Bobbi is going to be getting a few copies of Red Pine’s Lanka for members to purchase, but if you want to try to find it through a library, here’s the link to the record in WorldCat (WorldCat is a compendium of library catalogs around the world).

Thanks everyone.  Looking forward to reading this with others.