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Sesshins held at ZCLA in 2014.

Save the Date!

  Saturday, November 22

Workshop on "Inside the Grass Hut"

10am- 12:30 pm

Details below





Residential Training Opportunity

Resident training offers Zen students the opportunity to deepen their practice by living with a resident teacher and a community of practitioners. Residents combine Zen training with family and careers, engage in shared stewardship, and explore the dynamic life of Sangha. Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA) has two apartment buildings for its Residential Training Program.   Applicants with either a little or a lot of experience as a Zen student may apply. Before the application process begins, prospective residents are asked to complete the introductory Zen practice classes, ZP1 through ZP3. The Buddha Hand Circle (BHC) oversees the application and admission process. Interested parties can contact Betsy Enduring-Vow Brown via Senshin, the ZCLA Program Steward at info@zcla.orgfor information and requirements. We currently have one studio apartment available.


Personal Practice Talk by Ellen Reigen Ledley

Thursday, October 30, 8:00 p.m. (Service 7:15 p.m.; Zazen 7:30 p.m.)

During Personal Practice talks, the speaker introduces their spiritual journey to the Sangha, focusing on the themes that have run through their lives and the insights, people, and events that have deepened and transformed their understanding of life itself. Come take this opportunity to get to know your fellow sangha member in a deeper way. Everyone is welcome to attend. Followed by tea and cookies.


Day of the Dead Altar Set-up

Saturday, November 1, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

If you can stay after our Saturday morning schedule or drop by at this time to help set-up the altar and the garden, it would be greatly appreciated.  Snacks provided.  If you can please email


ZCLA Annual Day of the Dead

Sunday, November 2

This year we are all going to learn a Traditional Dance of Joy (Bon ODori) dance taught by Sensei Kojima from Zenshuji.  Stay tuned for details.  If interested in heping with preparation, email Senshin at

Day of the Dead Schedule:

8:00 a.m. Face Painting and Altar Preparation

9:00 a.m. Gate of Sweet Nectar/Obon Service

9:45 a.m. Obon Dance Instruction followed by Day of the Dead Procession & Dancing (with drumming and instruments) to honor the Ancestors

10:45 a.m. Short Break

11:00 a.m. Council on Death & Ancestors – Dharma Hall

12:15 Celebratory Lunch

We are asking for everyone to:

-- Bring pictures of your deceased ancestors and/or object representing them to place on the Ancestor Altar in the garden.

-- Come dressed as:

  • Your own ancestor
  • Just a dead person
  • A Zen Ancestor (Joshu, Dogen, Bodhidharma, Iron Brush Liu, etc.
  • A Bodhisattava (Jizo, Avalokitesvara, Manjusri, Hotei, etc.)

--You can come with your face made up, but we will also have basic face paint available.  Masks are also encouraged. All expressions are allowed. This is a day when you can where bright colors, costumes. You can be as elaborate or as simple as you wish.

--Bring a percussive instrument if you have one (we will also have some provided).

-- You may also bring a short Buddhist saying on death to share.


Zazenkai at the Japanese Garden in Van Nuys

Saturday, November 8, 9 am-3 pm

Led by Sensei Shingetsu Guzy

The Valley Sangha & ZCLA are hosting a Zazenka at the Japanese Garden located  6100 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys, 91406. Only 45 spaces available. No partials, you must attend the entire program. The deadline to RSVP is October 31. Please RSVP to $20 - admission to benefit ZCLA & The Valley Sangha

The day in the beautiful Japanese Garden will include: zazen, kinhin, a council, time to stroll around the grounds and a meal break (we ask you bring your own lunch).  Snacks will be provided in the morning.  We are also asking that you bring your own zafu if you have one.  Let us know if we need to provide one.  Bring layers of clothing as the weather may be cool.


Jukai (Receiving the Precepts) Classes

Wednesday, November 12 & December 3; 7:30– 9 p.m.

Taught by Roshi Egyoku

This two-class series is for those who wish to receive the precepts. The Precepts Series is a prerequisite for these classes. The class topics include the Lineage, bowing practice, the Jukai Ceremony, the Rakusu (the Buddha’s robe), and the mudra of Gassho.

Tuition: $70 for members; $120 nonmembers.  To register please, contact Senshin at


Day of Reflection on Precept #6: The Practice of Not Speaking of Others Errors or Faults

Saturday, November 15, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Led by DeWayne Gojitsu Snodgrass

Every third Saturday is devoted to the Zen Bodhisattva Precepts. The day begins with a recitation of the precepts and includes zazen and face-to-face meetings with our teachers, a brief precept talk, and a precept circle. Open to everyone. For precise schedule click here.


The Practice of Perfection: The Ten Paramitas from a Zen Buddhist Perspective Class #9 Bala

Thursday, November 20, 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Everyone is also enouraged to attend Service at 7:15 p.m.

A ten-class series led by Roshi Egyoku

The last class is December 18. 

ZCLA Members: $20 per class; Non-Members: $30 per class

RSVPS only. The class is full but if interested, please email


Workshop on "Inside the Grass Hut: Living Shitou's Classic Zen Poem"

Saturday, November 22, 10:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Led By Ben Connelly

In this workshop, Guest Zen Teacher and author Ben Connelly will help participants to enter the mind and practice of Zen by applying the insights of one of Zen's classic poems to your life—here and now.  $20 Members; $30 Non-Members.  Rsvps appreciated.

Shitou Xiqian’s “Song of the Grass Roof Hermitage” is a remarkably accessible work of profound depth; in thirty-two lines Shitou expresses the breadth of the entire Buddhist tradition with simple, vivid imagery. Ben Connelly’s Inside the Grass Hut unpacks the timeless poem and applies it to contemporary life. His book delivers a wealth of information on the context and content of this eighth-century work, as well as directly evokes the poem’s themes of simple living, calm, and a deep sense of connection to all things. This is destined to become a trusted, dog-eared companion.

Ben Connelly is a Soto Zen priest in the Katagiri lineage training with Tim Burkett at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. Connelly began teaching at MZMC in 2005, was ordained in 2009, was made shuso, or head monk, in 2012.  He is also a professional musician and leads meditation/backpacking retreats in Montana.  He lives in Minneapolis, MN.


2014 Fall Practice Period

September 29 - December 31, 2014



“Zazen” is the theme for our 2014 Practice Period.
In particular, we are emphasizing approaching every activity
of our daily life from the unity of zazen. We will
train ourselves by using the actions of our daily lives to
wake up and function from unity and love.

We ask you to consider what commitment you can
make to deepen your practice. The emphasis is on deepening,
not stressing yourself out unnecessarily by adding
more activities. What is doable and sustainable for you
for three months? Is there something unnecessary that
you can set aside? What will help you hone your inborn
urge to live awake here and now?

For a copy of the Practice Period Commitment form, click here. 

Please turn in your form NOW so we can enter your name on the Sangha Training Board and in the next edition of the WaterWheel Newsletter.

For a copy of the Sutra Writing document for you to print out and use for your writing commitment, click here.   You don't have to turn these in with your commitment forms and can use them throughout the Ango.


Circle News

Health Circle

The Caring Net is one program of the Health Circle. This group of volunteers offers support to ZCLA members who are experiencing acute medical issues. The forms of  assistance include food shopping, preparation of frozen meals, transportation, visits and meditation support. New volunteers are welcome and always encouraged.  To learn more, please contact Luminous Heart at


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