Just Paint Spring

“When you paint Spring, do not paint willows, plums, peaches, or apricots – just paint Spring.”
― Dōgen

The giant and ancient willow and dozens of wise old apple trees that bear witness to our practice here at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community are bursting open with life. Taking it all in with a single breath, we are simply enveloped within the beauty of everything being fresh and new. After a long Vermont winter, the sap runs strong, and moment by moment the willow weeps more heavily with joy, and the pink and white apple blossoms can’t restrain themselves. The totality of Spring teaches us, once again, of the natural interconnectedness of all life. All the pieces belong to one another and Spring unfolds.

It is a beautiful time to be here, not only for the stunning beauty of Spring, but also because the rare beauty of Sangha is also being painted. Peg Reishin Murray and Johny Daishin Widell took up residence at Bread Loaf Mountain – and are just terrific at getting us more settled, taking care of our beautiful land and buildings, and getting to know the neighbors. Thanks to them, we now have cleaned-up flowerbeds, a flock of chickens, and most importantly, a daily meditation schedule. Each day the sangha is sitting together.

Also, please read about our bearing witness to hunger practice, and consider joining us in your own way.

And mark your calendars to come to one of the upcoming events at BLMZC. Everyone is always welcome.

Daily Meditation Schedule

Bread Loaf Mountain Monastery is open for meditation. Come as you are and when you can:

Daily Meditation Schedule:
7:00-7:40 am Monday through Sunday
6:00-7:00 pm Monday through Saturday

For meditation, please try to arrive at the Zendo at least 5 minutes early. If you arrive late, you are still welcome. One of our residents will greet you.

Information about chanting practice and Zen liturgy will be posted on the website.

Meditation instruction is offered by request. Email Joshin or call us at (802) 462-2138

Sunday evening we are closed because we sit with the CVUUS Sangha in Middlebury on Sunday evening at 7:00. 

Mark Your Calendars! 
  • Thursday, May 17 at 6:00 pm: Dharma Talk with Sensei Joshin. Stay for Spring Soup. Vegetarian pot luck offerings are optional but welcome.
  • Saturday, June 2nd: Zazenkai, meditation day, with Zen Affiliate of Vermont at Bread Loaf Mountain Monastery.
  • Thursday, June 21 at 6:00 pm: Summer Solstice Sangha Sit and Potluck Supper: Meet and Greet all the Residents at BLMZC!
  • Saturday morning, June 23: Dogen Discussion Group with Kyodo Sinclair
  • Saturday evening, July 21 at 6:00 pm: Chef’s Table and Movie Night in The Barn at Bread Loaf Mountain Monastery
  • August 31-September 2: Our Braided Lineage, with Senseis Joshin and Genzan
  • Ongoing, Online Precepts Study Group
  • October 3 -7, Practicing with the Zen Ox Herding Pictures
  • Many more programs, events, and service projects are in development! Stay tuned for more.
Bearing Witness to Hunger and
Food Insecurity

Perhaps you’ve been hearing about the Poor People’s Campaign. Starting May 14th, many communities in the US will be engaging in 40 days of nonviolent actions and organizing around poverty, inspired by the original campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In solidarity with that movement, Peg, Daishin and I will engage in a 40 day practice of bearing witness to the issues of hunger and food insecurity as they are experienced by people who depend on government-issued food stamps to buy their food. We will limit our food budget to the average food stamp allotment in the US. We will consider ourselves a family of three, which qualifies for a total of $511 a month for food.

The purpose of the practice is to get an embodied experience of the challenges of living on a strict food-stamp budget. We recognize that we are privileged and will not actually experience the physical and psychological impact of chronic poverty. Our practice during this time, however, is to do our best to bear witness and bring attention to this issue. We will periodically document our experience on our website and Facebook.

We want to invite others to join us. If you can’t commit to the whole 40 days, you can bear witness for a week, a day, or even a meal by budgeting yourself to $37 per week, $5.29 a day or $1.76 per meal, if you are single. Please share your experience with us.

Taking Up Residency!

Don’t be fooled by this picture of our newest residents at BLMZC – the Zen Hens.  We have human residents too!

Peg Reishin Murray, M.Ed., has been committed to practicing the Eightfold Path since 1995. Originally a student of Thich Nhat Hanh, she received the precepts with Thāy in October 1997 and lay ordination in September 2007. In October 2007, she moved to Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe where she received jukai from Joan Halifax, Roshi and lived in residency as a personal and administrative assistant to Roshi for 6 years. While at Upaya, Peg served as coordinator for the annual Being With Dying contemplative end-of- life-care (CEOLC) clinician training program, the Nepal Nomad Medical Clinic, and the Prajna Mt Forest Refuge. From May 2013-August 2014 she studied Early Buddhist (Pali Canon) teachings through Bodhi College Committed Dharma Practitioner Program based in Devon, England. In 2015 she served as the workshop coordinator for Sakyadhita’s international conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Prior to her arrival at BLMZC, Peg was cooking regularly in Crestone, CO for Dharma Ocean retreats, sitting with Eon Zen in Boulder, CO and sharing Brahmavihara teachings as part of Willow Farm Contemplative Center’s Cause to Pause CEOLC volunteer training program. Peg has two children, Caite who lives in Boulder, and Justin and his wife Ellen and their children Jude and Mose, who live in Ashland, OR.

Johny Daishin Widell has been connected to Upaya for about three years. In March of this year, he received jukai from Roshi Joan Halifax and currently studies formally with Joshin’s Dharma brother, Sensei Genzan Quennell. In 2007, after many years of practicing law in Seattle, Daishin took a big step back from his busy commercial litigation practice and moved to Santa Fe to write songs and start what he calls a “Zen-inspired Americana band,” the Broomdust Caravan. He has two children – Phoebe who lives in San Francisco, and Hunter who lives in Hokkaido, Japan with his wife Shino. Daishin is an awesome musician – and for sure, we’ll get him playing some of his Zen-inspired folk music for us in the red barn at Bread Loaf Mountain Monastery very soon.

Other residents will be joining us soon – Kyodo, Joe, and our first family, Laura, Willie, and daughter Felicity. Please come to Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community on Thursday, June 21st, when all of our residents will be here. We’ll have a community supper as a way to welcome them.

If you or someone you know is interested in residency at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community, please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me at joshin@breadloafmountainzen.org

Summer Fundraising
Our philosophy of raising funds is to ask only for what we need in order to engage a widening circle of people in the practice. We endeavor to live by the Zen adage, Just Enough. It is not always easy to decipher what is needed from what is wanted, and each person may have different opinions about this. We hope it will remain a regular part of our community conversations as we develop.

Some of our needs are small and some are larger. Your giving will help us continue to open our doors wider and to fully live into the name of our temple, “No Barriers.”

  • Replacement of the water system pressure tanks in the basement. They are rusted out. We need this urgently. The total cost is $4,000. This is one of those gifts that is critically important but not very showy.
  • Six simple twin bed frames for residents. A wonderful business owner in Rutland is giving us a great discount. $780
  • Bedding including twin sheets, pillows, and comforters. $300
  • Fifty simple durable white dishes, bowls and cups. $500
  • Recoup the the cost of wallpaper removal, painting, and lighting fixtures $4,000
  • A large van to help people who cannot drive or don’t have cars come to the Zen Center for mindfulness practice, stress reduction, and community- and skills-building activities. $25,000
  • Renovation of the red barn. We want to create meditation and meeting space for workshops, and a commercial kitchen and workspace for job skills training. Roughly $75,000 for contracted work and supplies
    • Donated architectural design services
    • Skilled helping hands to do much of the work ourselves

From the very first moments of Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community, heartfelt generosity has been the beginning, middle, and the end of the practice. All who come to our Zen Community, or who are touched by the bodhisattvas who practice here, have benefited from many kinds of giving: giving of one’s time, attention, concern, care, things, money, and the sharing of skills and abilities. We are so grateful for all that you have given.

Click here to give online or to find out where to send your gift. All financial gifts are tax deductible.

We want to give a special THANK YOU to the many volunteers who have helped us get the house ready for residents and the grounds cleaned up for summer. Kyuan made us a beautiful spalted maple Han to call everyone to practice. Kristi helped with plants and weeding for our gardens.  Sue, Colleen, Ryoha, Ginni and many others have helped in countless ways. Working as one body, Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community is truly a shared endeavor.

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