Grace & Gratitude

 

 

Remembering Bill Nordahl   

 

Deep gratitude to Bill for his courage to sit zazen alone, planting the seed that grew into the Lincroft Zen Sangha.

“Sitting silently,

Doing nothing,

Spring comes and grass grows by itself.”

*Basho*

 

(1937-2019)

 

“What legacy shall I leave behind?

Flowers in spring.

Cuckoos in summer.

Maple leaves in autumn.”

*Zen Master Ryokan*

 

 

Bill began practicing Zen after hearing a talk given by John Daido Loori Roshi at UUCMC. The talk had been arranged by Steven Thayer, who led a practice group at his home in Freehold on Wednesday evenings. Bill began sitting there along with several of us who are now in the LZS Sangha. When Steve moved out of the area, Bill kept the Dharma flame alive by forming a group at UUCMC, requesting Kodo Roshi (then a student) to lead the group. Getting started was a little bumpy. For a while, attendance was sporadic and there was a stretch of time when Bill sat by himself in our room. Over time, the group grew stronger. Eventually Bill — who had strong opinions about religious hierarchies — decided to practice on his own while encouraging us to continue to sit as a sangha.

The many people who have “come and gone through our Dharma gates” over the years owe a debt of gratitude to Bill whether they knew him or not. His diligence — and the  UUCMC’s generous support — created this local practice opportunity for us all. Our deep bows to Bill.

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Ceremony Buddha's Birthday 2015

 

Reflections of Buddha’s Birthday Celebration

April 19, 2015

Buddha’s Birthday at Sensei’s by Lynn Palumbo

How the sky awakens each new morn,
today a deep pink marble with purple

veins, I mean the lofty trees, pulsing with life
like any sentient being.

Not fully awake, my habitual mind reminds,
Sailor take warning…storm by evening.
Seize the dawn, seize the day before we’re
drenched in rains, though these rains perhaps
shall bathe the baby Buddha on his birthday,
incense wafting through the air of reverence and ritual.

The weeping willows, though not sad, bow down
to the spongy ground, in gassho, it seems, I’d say;
the swamp maples, claret red, join the breeze of chanting.
And the pink and white magnolia cups, open silken purses,
like their little sister star magnolias, have surely made
of themselves a light for all to see.

 

April 20, 2015

Deep gratitude to all who created our third  Buddha’s Birthday celebration. Heartfelt thank you’s to James Ryushin Carney, Christopher Ryuzan McKenna,   Kathi Koshin Novak, Peter Nyodo Ott, Katrina Eko Durante, Andres Durante who helped prepare the space.

Deep gratitude to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County for allowing our Sangha a weekly practice space. All over the country the generosity of Unitarians is allowing Buddhism to begin flourishing in the suburbs.