A lay Zen Buddhist group has begun holding regular Sunday morning services at the Heron Hut, Old Frog pond Farm, 38 Eldridge Road In Harvard. Meditation begins at 9 a.m. For directions to the hut contact Geoffrey Koetsch (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Linda Hoffman (studio@linda hoffman.com).
The service follows standard monastic form: We practice in silence, the sequence of actions is signaled by sound instruments. Seating is primarily on the floor on meditation cushions (although chairs and benches are available). There are two 25-minute periods of meditation (zazen) broken by a ten-minute period of walking meditation (kinhin). The aim is to preserve quiet and mental focus. In the future, an early chanting session will be added and on occasion tea will be served after meditation. New participants in the Sunday session are asked to come one half hour early (8:30) for orientation.
There are also weekday sittings at the Heron Hut are Monday to Friday from 7:30 to 8:15am. Please contact Linda if this will be your first time sitting weekdays at
Old Frog Pond Farm.
This is a lay practice. There is no Roshi or ordained priest. Teaching is limited to general information about Zen and instruction as to the forms of practice (Zen meditation and order of service). There is no creed or formal enrollment. Group leaders are volunteers. Contributions for maintaining the hut are voluntary.
THE HERON HUT
The Heron Hut is located at Old Frog Pond Farm in Harvard Massachusetts. In 2008 Blase Provitola transformed a small shack into a lovely meditation hut. It is a wooden building beyond the orchard in the woods facing wetlands. There is a path through the woods and along the wetlands for walking meditation. The hut seats eight meditators.
Zen is not complicated. Personal experience is everything in Zen. The foundation of all its concepts is simple unsophisticated experience as it unfolds in everyday life. Although many have the impression that it is obscure or mystifying, actually it is simple and accessible. The true object of Zen is our waking up to our own lives at each moment, everyday.
Zen does not recognize a spiritual agency and one need not subscribe to a creed. If used solely as a method of introspection, it can co-exist with other religions. Its goal is a comprehensive, intuitive grasp of the whole. Whatever teachings there are come out of one's own mind. We teach ourselves; Zen merely points the way. Zen is an affirmation of life, it is an experience that rises above logic and dualistic thinking.
Zen purposes to discipline the mind itself, to make it its own master, through insight into its own nature, without resorting to anything external. If Zen can be said to have a goal, it is to develop the wisdom to live a compassionate life.
Even if you have no experience, please feel free to join us.
THE GROUP LEADERS
Geoffrey Koetsch was a student of Daien Hifu at the Wild Goose Zendo in Concord, Massachusetts. Daien is a Rinzai Zen priest ordained by Eido Shimano at the Dai Bosatsu Monastery in upstate New York. Koetsch has taught courses in Asian art and thought at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Linda Hoffman first encountered Zen when she lived in Japan in 1979-81. Since 2002 she has been training at Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, N.Y. She received Jukai in 2010 from Conrad Ryushin Marchal and was given the dharma name, Shinji.