Fall’s Book for Zen Meditation & Study Group

Cover of The Book of Householder Koans

UUC’s Zen Meditation and Study Group has begun its fall book study, and welcomes drop-in attendance for meditation and discussion. The group meets from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Fridays via Zoom. Silent meditation is held in the first hour, with a group check-in and book discussion in the second hour.

Using a shared reading format, the group will engage The Book of Householder Koans: Waking up in the Land of Attachments, by Eve Myonen Marko and Wendy Egyoku Nakao. This book was published in February 2020 and is available in both print and e-book formats, through most commercial booksellers, used and new. The authors are both women and respected Zen teachers. Both are founding teachers of the Zen Peacemaker Order, which promotes spiritually based social activism.

Having the book is not required, as the day’s reading will be shared at each meeting. There is no need to prepare in advance or worry about what you’ve missed.

The modern-day koans presented are short, and accompanied by commentary to assist and deepen introspection. Following a traditional style, the “case” is offered in brief, sometimes introduced with a framing sutra or verse, and ending with an essential questions arising from the koan’s story.

Depending on how the discussion flows, we may engage one koan per meeting, more than one koan, or maybe continue discussion of any given koan to more than one meeting. While these are not koans from the ancient traditions of Zen, the opportunity to personally engage koan introspection through this study will not differ much from traditional koan introspection practice. As the book’s introduction tells us, the secret to working with koans is to “close the gap between subject and object, between yourself and what you are facing.” For more information on the Zen group, the book, or how to connect, see the group’s resource page, or contact Janine Larsen, UUC Director of Ministries.