Dear friends, dear sangha,

I am writing to you regarding the  extention of the closure of  the Zen Center until we are safe.

It is an opportunity for us all to do an experiential introductory lesson in Zen. Zen mind is the mind of the beginner. Always open, wondering and learning.

I address practitioners in all disciplines, as the space and the way teachers teach the arts here is geared towards the Zen Way.

I will remind you of some basic principles that make events come to life, without any intention of theoretically covering Buddhism, before proposing what we can do in the midst of this pandemic.

We see clearly that everything is changing and at the same time that they are so connected. We see the transcience of things we have and the illusion that they are permanent.

How important it is for us to exercise ourselves, to be free and complete, regardless of external conditions. Being yourself is enough. We don’t miss anything!

Thus the importance of the “middle way” of Buddhism. That is, while emptiness is form and the form emptiness, we should not place too much emphasis on form over emptiness, which we usually do without wanting it, but not the other way around.
As Okumura Roshi said on his last visit, we are all bubbles. Where we think we have a form, we reach the surface of the water and “puff”, empty.

This forced restriction gives us the opportunity to reflect on our priorities and values. To experience our relationships differently. Turn inward without the external pressures that tend to get us out of our center. To find, at least for a while, this center. There is peace there.

To re-measure the footprint we leave individually and collectively in the environment. Humans stopped moving and the planet breathes better.

To be detached from the past and the future, which do not exist. Stop chasing what we think we like and avoid what we don’t like. We now experience that this is not happening.

Let’s stay a little quieter now.

All of this is good, but practically what do we do?

I would suggest that we exercise our happiness. What does happiness want? Practice wants that too. It wants Zazen, Zazen, Zazen and Zazen !!! Here I am a little dogmatic. Harvard, after nearly a century of research, suggests, in addition to Zazen, to focus on having good relationships, sleeping well and doing gratitude exercises. If we work on these four areas for some time, we will be happy! I think so too.

Because nothing exists without its opposite, it is a great opportunity, now, for us to exercise our happiness on their own !!!

We can do Zazen tuned in at the same time. Follow the Zazen program of the Zen Center. Every morning from 08: 20-09: 00, and if we have time, every afternoon from 20: 20-21: 00. But most importantly, we sit for a 40 minute Zazen per day.

Whenever it suits us.

When the time comes, we will continue the practice together.

Not knowing, with love,

Konstantinos Sgoubopoulos