8-25-09 - Hello from our friend in Chicago, Taigen Dan Leighton with news about his Zen group there.
Taigen's cuke link page
Ancient Dragon Zen Gate
Dear David and other Suzuki Roshi lineage friends,
I am happy to be writing to let you all know about our Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago. The last six months have included many exciting changes and new developments.
After guiding the group in Chicago for a number of years since its inception while commuting here from the Bay Area, I relocated to Chicago full time in the beginning of 2007, with thanks to my Dharma brother Taiyo, who kindly insisted on driving me here from the East Bay. Our sangha moved in mid-January 2009 to our storefront temple in North Central Chicago at 1922 W. Irving Park Road. Here we continue to offer Zen practice in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, under my guidance as Dharma teacher. Transitioning to this space included departure from the Cenacle Retreat Center, which had been home for Ancient Dragon activities since 2004. We are grateful to the Cenacle for their support of our Zen activities, and their steadfast attention to our needs in our beginning years.
The move to our new home was a major undertaking, with the involvement of many people contributing time, specialized skills, and committed effort. We were fortunate to be able to design our own space with the help of our landlord/ contractor. We have an attractive entryway, a Zendo, kitchen/ library, small dokusan room, and bathrooms. Assignment of practice roles and development of a system in which many sangha members participate in maintaining our new space, greet newcomers, and participate in services have been key activities.
After fifteen years of leading meditation groups and needing to put away the sitting cushions after each event, our dedicated zendo is a great joy. I love every period of zazen here.
We have been able to offer a rich array of Dharma events during the past six months, including weekly routine events and special events:
Regular Dharma Events
∑ Sunday morning Meditation Instruction, Zazen, and Dharma talk
∑ Monday evening Zazen & Dharma talk, Wednesday morning Zazen, Thursday evening Zazen
∑ Monthly half-day, one-day, or three day sesshins
∑ Monthly Chicago Buddhist Peace Fellowship meetings
∑ A Meditation and Recovery program happens the first and third Sunday evening of every month
∑ Starting this month, a monthly Peace and Environment forum Sunday afternoons featuring informative guest speakers
∑ Ongoing weekly meditation practice at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Chicago
Special Dharma Events over the last six months
∑ Day-long Calligraphy workshop, and Sunday morning Dharma Talk about early Indian roots of engaged Buddhism, given by Kaz Tanahashi, artist and Zen scholar
∑ Talk on his new translation of The Lotus Sutra, to be given by Gene Reeves, a noted scholar
∑ Half-day seminar on the bodhisattva precepts, to be given by Taigen
∑ A Bodhisattva Precept Lay Ordination ceremony for ADZG students in October, 2009
∑ Our annual Segaki ceremony to feed the hungry ghosts
∑ Starting this fall a weekly meditation and discussion event down in Hyde Park at the Rockefeller Chapel of the University of Chicago will be led by a senior ADZG student, with monthly Dharma talks by Taigen
∑ We are hoping to arrange early next year a weekend Genzo-e teaching on Dogen by Taigen's translation collaborator Shohaku Okumura
∑ We are working on arranging a temple dedication ceremony next spring performed by Taigen's teacher, Reb Anderson, hopefully including a weekend teaching
Please see our website <www.ancientdragon.org> for a more complete schedule of our programs and activities, and also for audio files of Dharma talks by myself and others (excuse the third person "Taigen" in the above lists). Our website also has pictures of our wonderful storefront temple.
We are working to bring Zen practice to Chicago, as well as Buddhist teaching and cultural engagement. We are also engaged in activities that we hope will support awareness and kindness in the larger community. We welcome your participation at any of our Dharma events.
Please come and sit with us or attend our events whenever you are visiting Chicago. With all of these activities and with a strong core group of active students, we are still trying to figure out how we will pay the rent ongoingly. Any contribution you might be able to make to our efforts will be greatly appreciated. You can do so online, at <www.ancientdragon.org/sangha/supporter>; or just mail a check to the below address.
I look forward to seeing Zen Center friends here in Chicago.
With deep bows,
Taigen Dan Leighton
Ancient Dragon Zen Gate
1922 West Irving Park Road, Chicago, IL 60613 <www.ancientdragon.org> (773) 899-3841
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