Zen Meditation at St. Francis Xavier

September 7, 2009

Updated Schedule:  Summer Break 

Sitting Resumes  Sept 18  9/25, 10/2, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30  (No meeting 10/9 Columbus Day

 

Saturday Day of Meditation:  September 30

 Meets Weekly on Monday 7 pm,

Zen Meditation practice is available to all parishioners, their friends and others who are interested.  People come to meditate here for different reasons.  Many have a curiosity about meditation, and stay to have it satisfied.  (Beginners are especially encouraged.)  Some use the practice to energize their work in other ministries. Others use it as a way to deepen their own spiritual practices.  All are welcome, whether they come once, occasionally, or every week.

Zen practice raises energy and clarity and reminds us to be fully alive at each moment.   People of many faiths have discovered in Zen practice a profound connection to life.

Through this practice of stillness and awareness, we wake to a world of wonder and gratitude for life in all its aspects- in its splendor, in its ordinariness, and even in its pain.  It deepens our compassion, wisdom in action.

Compassionate action is a central outcome to a meditation practice.  Consequently, this practice is ultimately about service in one’s community.  The form of the action depends upon the unique circumstances and gifts of the individual.  For example, it may inform or put a new perspective on one’s spiritual awareness, or express itself in the social, educational, or spiritual ministries.  Thus, meditation practice does not stand alone, but is integrated or complements the activities of the parish ministries.

Details: Meditation is held each Monday evening from 6:50 pm to 8:30 in the Mary Chapel. (Enter through the Church Office at  55 W 15th St).  There are two 25 minute meditation periods and a period of walking meditation.  There is usually a short talk and the opportunity to meet individually with a teacher.    Cushions and chairs are provided.  Introductory and refresher instructions activity is always available.  Wear comfortable clothing.  There is no charge and reservations are not necessary.  Parishioners are welcome to bring guests.  Additional information from Peggy and Paul Schubert, schubertnyc@gmail.com

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Zen Meditation at All Souls Church–City Tiger Zendo

September 7, 2009

On-going, Wednesdays;   

Currently not meeting

Contact at schubertnyc@gmail.com for current meetings

                                                    

“To encounter the dharma (truth) is rarer than encountering a tiger in the City.”

City Tiger Zendo derives its name from this line in the classic Zen koan collection, the Denkoroku.  Zen is an opportunity to encounter and experience the truth or nature of one’s own life.

Zen practice raises energy and clarity and reminds us to be fully alive at each moment. People of various faiths and no particular faith have discovered in Zen practice a profound connection to life. Through this practice of stillness and awareness, we wake to a world of wonder and gratitude for life in all its aspects- in its splendor, in its ordinariness, and even in its pain. It deepens our compassion, wisdom in action. Compassionate action is a central outcome to a meditation practice. The form of the action depends upon the unique circumstances and gifts of the individual. People come to meditate here for different reasons. Many have a curiosity about meditation, and stay to have it satisfied or move on. Beginners are especially encouraged. Some use the practice to energize their activities in other areas. Others use it as a way to deepen their own spiritual practices. All are welcome, whether they come once, occasionally, or every week.

Details: Meditation is held each Wednesday from 6:50 to 8:30 pm at the Unitarian Church of All Souls 1157 Lexington Ave at 80th St. (Enter through the garden at the right of the Church). There are three 25 minute meditation periods with walking meditation between sitting periods.  There is usually a short talk and anopportunity for individual meeting with a teacher.  Cushions and chairs are provided. Introductory and refresher instructions activity is always available. Individual interviews with a teacher are also available. Wear comfortable clothing. Free will offerings ($5-7 suggested) are used to defray costs. Reservations are not necessary. Additional information from Peggy and Paul Schubert, schubertnyc@gmail.com


Offering Zen to Students: Letting the Practice Speak for Itself

July 26, 2009

Background

1. For most new practitioners, commitment grows, usually in an uneven fashion, until the practice takes over and becomes natural or they move on to something else. This introduction presents the practice to students at its best, in a familiar location and without financial costs. The introduction runs over the length of 1 school term, either as a seminar or an after school activity.  Finally, it has strong practice and primary literature components.

2.  There is a significant minority of students who have an interest either in Zen or other forms of meditation.  Some grew up in families with a meditation tradition; these students particularly welcome the opportunity to be taken seriously.  Others have a genuine curiosity.  A third group follows their friends.

3.  The participants are self-selected and 6-12 people are a good number for the starting group; some attrition is expected.  Each meeting lasts for one hour and has both a practice and literature component.  Between meetings, zazen is encouraged but not required.  A reading and some reflective writing is generally given.   An experienced practitioner can facilitate these sessions.  It is also a great opportunity for the facilitator to work with the literature.

Practice Component

1.  Since zazen is the heart of the practice, the instruction on meditation is rigorous with emphasis on posture, breathing, attention, and returning to the breath. In the following weeks, these instructions are summarized at the beginning of most of the sitting periods.  Since cushions are usually not available, chairs are used.

2.  The first sitting period is for 5 minutes.  (For many young people, this length of time seems to be an eternity.)  Each following week, the period is extended several (2-3) minutes, until 25 minutes is reached.  There are two interesting observations.  First, all agree that they can sit the extended period each week.  Second, at the end of the term, there is genuine amazement that they can readily work for an entire period.

3.  At the conclusion of the sitting period, there is a short group discussion period. This open discussion is crucial since questions that have arisen can be raised from an individual’s experience can be immediately addressed for the larger group.  These few minutes, really help to clarify the practice and grow confidence in their sitting practice.  (As an example, questions about sitting with attention, but without judgment or a goal, were frequently raised.)

4.  Near the end of the term, a visit was made to a local Zendo.   A sangha member gave a tour, an opportunity for the students to use cushions, do kin-hin, chant  and be oriented to the etiquette of the space.  This visit also provided an introduction to extend a welcome those who may be interested in practicing there.

Literature Component

1.  Reading assignments were distributed most weeks. The selections were chosen to cover a wide range of content, time, and cultures.  For example:

Sermons (Buddha)

Commentaries  (Bodhidharma, Dogen)

Visual Art  (Oxherding Pictures)

Sutra (Diamond Sutra)

Poetry (Basho)

Koan (Wumen)

Instruction (Mirror of Zen, So Sahn)

Zen Stories (Reps)

2.  The students read the assignments (typically 5-10 pages) during the week.  They selected a section or sentence that had meaning for them and were asked prepare a typewritten one page response (to submit).  These reflections formed the starting point of the literature discussion.

3.  During the literature discussion period, a wide range of topics naturally surfaced.  These included the impermanence, attachment, direction of practice, compassion, wisdom, original nature, form and emptiness, awakening.  These subjects were discussed by the group in no particular order, but by the end of the term, had some familiarity with them.

4. Reading the primary literature gave the students a perspective of the breadth and depth of the practice.  Secondary interpretative sources were not as well received.   It was significant for them to understand that they had the understanding and maturity to work at this level.  This contributed to confidence that they were fully capable of the practice.

Final Comment

The experience is to provide the opportunity to begin a process for each individual.  At the conclusion, some students have continued with a sitting group, a few sought out established zendos, and the majority move on to other experiences.  There is no success or failure, practice manifests in its own individual way.  Additional information can be made available at the contact address in the header.


Teaching Schedule

February 21, 2008

Paul Seiko Schubert, a resident of New York City, is a dharma successor to Roshi Robert Kennedy of the White Plum Asanga. He received transmission from Roshi Kennedy in August 2007.

These groups are open to all, welcome beginners, provide beginning instruction, and request, at most, a nominal free will donation. On the scheduled dates that Paul is the visiting teacher, a short talk is given as well as the opportunity to all for individual interview.  He also works with students independently of these groups.

Zen Teaching Schedule-Paul Schubert    (Updated 9/1/17)

Home Groups

Zen at Xavier (Link)   

Mondays 7:00 p.m. St. Francis Xavier, 55 W. 15th St., New York

Meets Weekly:    Schedule for September/October

Resumes 9/18,  9/25, 10/2, 10/16, 10/23, 10/30  (No meeting Columbus Day 10/9

Saturday Day of Meditation: September 30

(Peggy/Paul Schubert, schubertnyc@gmail.com)

City Tiger Zendo (Link)  

Wednesdays 7:00 p.m. All Souls Unitarian Church, Lexington Avenue/80th St., NYC (Peggy/Paul Schubert)

 Contact for Current Schedule

                                 

Visiting Teacher–Regularly Scheduled

White Plains Zen

April 25
Last Tuesday of the month

Tuesday 7:30 p.m. White Plains Interfaith Zen at St. Bartholomew’s Church, White Plains, NY

 Link:  White Plains Zen

           Oct 31

 

Manhasset/Rockville Center

Link: Inisfada Zen

       Sept 20, October 25

 

 Oratory Church of St. Boniface

 

September 27

Wednesdays  at 6:15

190 Duffield Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201

(christopher.smith@oratory-church.org)



Support of  Independent Sitting Groups–Commitment to sit with people where they are

Zen is the great gift to experience life directly by being present fully in the moment and to express the experience in appropriate, spontaneous, and even creative responses to the time and conditions as they arise.

Just as Zen is manifested in the workplace, it should be taught where people work  and live with rigor and energy. The symbol of  this teaching practice is a walking stick.  Here, the walking stick represents a commitment to go,  sit and work with people where they are.  It is visiting in their home groups and sanghas.

These groups are open to all, welcome beginners, provide beginning instruction, and request, at most, a nominal free will donation. On the scheduled dates that  Paul Schubert is the visiting teacher, a short talk is given as well as the opportunity to all for individual interview.  He also works with students independently of these groups.

Beginners are especially invited to visit any of these  sitting groups.  (Contact information provided above.) The intent is to welcome all, provide support, and allow each to develop in their own way.  Beginners and new practitioners are encouraged to meet with the teachers. It is our experience that clarifying the basic directions of practice and meditation at the beginning is especially valuable to build a sustainable practice. This is an important reason to support the independent groups.   Providing guidance  to deepen individual practice, not talks or explanations, is the primary purpose of the visit.  The specifics are dependent upon the individual, but all activities have only the refinement of the life experience as the motivation.  This service is offered without charge.


A recent example is:  Offering Zen to Students: Letting the Practice Speak for Itself.

–Contacts: Paul Schubert can be contacted at schubertnyc@gmail.com. There is other information about him at the link About PS. You are welcome to browse his other articles on many different subjects (Zen Stories, Working, Perception Skills; index on the bar above) on this site. Finally, the link to Roshi Kennedy’s home site is attached.