Oshin Jennings named Dharma Holder

Oshin smiling, wearing a brown rakusu, standing in front of a large rock.

Rev. Oshin Jennings has been named a Dharma Holder by his teacher Enkyo O'Hara Roshi! 
While away on summer retreat Oshin and his Dharma brother, Tokuyu, were named Hoshi, or assistant teachers in the White Plum lineage. They were given brown rakusu in a private ceremony on August 14th, and look forward to serving in their new role. This is exciting news for the No Barriers Zen community and for the future of accessible Buddhism. 9 bows!

Away on Retreat

Eli Kozan and Oshin sitting at a cafe table.

Oshin and Mandy sitting on the Grail's porch.

Oshin and members of the No Barriers Zen community are away on retreat in upstate New York with the Village Zendo. 

Oshin has been working with members of our community and many interpreters to help make the Dharma Accessible. They are looking forward to sharing all they have learned when NBZ resumes services in September. 

Jennifer and Oshin standing outside of the Grail.

Buddha's Birthday / Hana Matsuri

A composite image of the Hana Matsuri celebration. Showing the baby Buddha statue being bathed by participants with a bamboo dipper, challah bread, and flower pot shaped cake.

Last Saturday, May 7th, members of the NBZ sangha gathered for zazen and to celebrate Buddha's birthday. The Hana Matsuri ceremony is a simple ceremony that comes to us from our Japanese tradition, people take turns ladling sweet tea over a statue of the baby Buddha. Rev. Ōshin told us the story of Buddha's birth and life. Afterwards the sangha shared their own aspirations for the spring time, then we sang and signed "Happy Birthday Buddha" before the whole sangha blew out candles and cut whimsical flowerpot-shaped cake. 

Sangha members brought wonderful home made foods to share, including freshly baked sweets and even a home made sweet challah, brought to us from the leader of the campus Hillel organization. A wonderful day of community and fun, a great way to wrap up the semester on campus and herald in the spring!

Inryu of All Beings Zen Shuso Hossen

Dairyu with his Hossu and Inryu with her fan.

Our neighboring DC Sangha, All Beings Zen, just celebrated their resident priest's Shuso Hossen ceremony on April 24th, 2016. A small contingent from No Barriers Zen Temple was in attendance to help mark the occasion. 

Bobbi Inryu Ponce-Barger was shuso (head student) for this recent ango (practice period). She led her community through this recent practice period which culminated in a ceremony to mark her transitioning to senior student. Her teacher, Dairyu Michael Wenger, came from California to guide the ceremony and celebrate with the sangha. During the ceremony Ōshin stepped in and served as Shoki, or as the SFZC lineage calls it, the MRFS, "the most recent former shuso"! The lineage differences are always most apparent in the liturgy, but Ōshin embraced his duties and under Dairyu-sensei's guidance the ceremony was permeated with playful energy.

Rev. Ōshin and Rev. Wakoh stand beside Rev. Inryu, the new senior student.

Our own Rev. Ōshin had sat with Dairyu Wenger-sensei over a dozen years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing him again. Once ceremonial duties were over Dairyu and Ōshin had a chance to celebrate together and catch up.

Also in attendance was Rev. Wakoh from Baltimore and NBZ's own Connor Giyū Gillis, who helped with interpretation duties for Ōshin. Inryu's new senior student status is a wonderful addition to the greater DC sangha, and the city as a whole. Congratulations, Inryu-san!

The All Beings Zen sangha, friends, and family.

Soto Zen Administration responds to climate crisis

To leave flowers to the wind, to leave birds to the seasons are the activity of dana/giving.

The Soto Zen Buddhist Association has just released their letter in response to the current climate crisis. This position, which is backed by scientific research and firmly rooted in the Buddhist teachings, is a call for all of us to look carefully at our relationship with the planet. Waking up to our interconnectivity, waking up to each other and this planet, because this is our principle concern as practitioners of The Way. How can we care for this earth and stop the damage we are doing to this planet? It will take all of our efforts as individuals, and as a community, to heal our earth. Skillful compassionate action, deep mindfulness is required of all of us. Please read this important address: 

Press Release: A Western Soto Zen Buddhist Statement on the Climate Crisis

New ASL Dictionary Entries

Screen Shot of NBZ's list of ASL Videos

Screen Shot of NBZ's list of ASL Videos

We just uploaded our first 6 entries into our ASL Buddhist Dictionary here on the website! The site is starting to really come together, and front and center is this great new educational page; our dictionary! Our hope for this dictionary is that it helps to create a culture of education and access. With study and communication being two of our Five Expressions, it is vitally important to continually foster the study of our languages. Our communication, or how we express the Dharma in our lives, and how we connect with each other while doing it, is an important piece of our spirituality!

Added to this new dictionary are ASL signs for: "Buddhism", "Buddhist", "Nirvana", and three sign variations for "Buddha". With many more signs to come in the near future. If you have questions about these signs, or you would like to offer feedback, please contact us.