SPRING PRACTICE COMMITMENT PERIOD
Ancient Dragon Zen Gate will be hosting a Spring Practice Commitment Period from April 2 – May 25. Practice Commitment Periods are an opportunity to integrate and develop sustainable practice in our everyday lives in intentional community practice. All are welcome to join in-person or online, or in some combination. This year’s period will be hosted by our guiding teacher Taigen Dan Leighton, and we will be studying selected chapters of the Vimalakirti Sutra. To register, please speak to Taigen or email email@example.com. Deadline for registration is Monday, March 27. There is a $125 suggested donation, including $75 suggested donations for each sesshin day in the practice period. Sliding scale available. See our Practice Commitment Period page for more detailed information.
THE WORK THAT RECONNECTS WORKSHOP
Matt Streit, a priest-in-training at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and sangha member of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, will facilitate an online “Work That Reconnects” workshop on Saturday, March 18th. The “Work That Reconnects” was founded by Joanna Macy and her group of volunteers to help people deal with anxiety, despair, and overwhelm when facing our world’s environmental crisis. This online workshop will be interactive and participants will engage with others and activities focusing on gratitude, honoring our pain, seeing with new eyes, and going forth. Suggested donation is $50, but all our events are sliding scale for everyone. All proceeds of this benefit event will go to the Ancient Dragon Building Fund. Please see the event link for more information and to register for this workshop.
RESULTS OF RECENT BOARD ELECTION
In our recent board election, board members Dylan Toropov and Ko Carol Laursen were reelected, and sangha member David Wray was newly elected to the board. We congratulate them and welcome their compassionate service on our board!
SANGHA POTLUCK FOR DOUGLAS FLOYD
All Dragons are invited to attend a celebratory potluck lunch at our Lincoln Square zendo on Sunday, February 5, following the regular dharma talk and service. We will gather to share food and to express our gratitude to Douglas Floyd for the many contributions that he has made to our sangha, as he steps down from his position as Director and also from the Board, which he has led as President for many years. We will also welcome our new leaders Wade and Alex. Click here to see the event link for more information about the day as well as to sign up to bring food for the event.
VENEZUELA DONATION DRIVE
Ancient Dragon is working with the Illinois Venezuelan Alliance to help collect goods for Venezuelan refugees living in Chicagoland. Their next drive is Sunday, November 6. Click here to see a flyer containing a list of goods needed and information on how to donate. Also, please click here to learn more about the Illinois Venezuelan Alliance and for other opportunities for dana.
NEW ESSAY BY GEORGE OCHSENFELD: UKRAINE AND NUCLEAR WAR
Click here to read a new article by Ancient Dragon sangha member George Ochsenfeld, entitled Ukraine and Nuclear War: A Brief Essay on Preventing Armageddon. You can also access it, as well as other articles by sangha members, by viewing our Articles Page.
INTERVIEW WITH HOWARD RUAN IN TRICYCLE MAGAZINE
Our sangha member Howard Ruan, who is a practicing chaplain, was interviewed about the intersection of his work, his practice, and psychoanalysis in Tricycle magazine. Click here to read the article, or look at our Dharma Articles page to read it and other writings by various sangha members and friends.
SHAKYAMUNI AT THE BORDER
Click here to read a new poem, “Shakyamuni at the Border”, by our guiding teacher Taigen Dan Leighton. The poem is also available to read on our page containing other articles by Taigen.
SEMINAR ON HUAYAN BUDDHISM LED BY TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON
Taigen will be leading a seminar on Saturday, October 22 from 1-4:30 PM where he will introduce and discuss complexities of the Huayan Buddhist school in China (Kegon in Japan), often considered the pinnacle of Mahayana philosophy. He will explore teachings of the Huayan ancestors, including Indra’s Net and the Fourfold Dharmadhatu, the unfolding of the relationship between Principle and Phenomena and their non-obstruction. To register, fill out the form in the event link here. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggested donation is $50, but sliding scale available to all, less or more is welcome. All are invited regardless of insufficient funds.
DHARMA BUDDY PROGRAM RECONVENING
We are restarting our dharma buddy program! The dharma buddy program is intended to be a support for sangha members, and to be a way to encourage each other in your practice and otherwise. We will pair you with one or two other sangha members and you can meet to talk about practice, how you are doing, or simply just to connect with each other. You will plan your meetings together at a time that works best for you; it could happen once a week, or twice a month, on the phone, on zoom, or in person. To ensure everyone gets paired in a timely manner, please sign up by October 1st, 2022. You are welcome to sign up after, there may just be a bit of a wait.
If you are interested in participating, please fill out this Google form. If you have trouble with the form, please email email@example.com.
HIROSHIMA VIGIL IN EVANSTON
Our guiding teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton, will be participating in a vigil for the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing this Saturday, August 6, in Evanston. The event will start at Fountain Square, followed by a meditative walk to Dawes Lagoon. Click here to see the flyer containing more information about the event.
RUTH OZEKI TALK ON NEW BOOK
Zen priest and novelist Ruth Ozeki gave a talk on her latest novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness June 24th at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, co-sponsored by Ancient Dragon Zen Gate and Women and Children First bookstore. Hear her talk on our podcast by clicking here. Two days before the talk, Ruth Ozeki received the prestigious Women’s Prize for Fiction award for this book.
Responses to the End of Reproductive Rights
Click here to read a post from our guiding teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton, responding to comments by his dharma sister, Konjin Gaelyn Godwin Roshi of the Houston Zen Center, regarding the Supreme Court’s recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.
RECEPTION FOR HOGETSU LAURIE BELZER
On June 2nd, 2022, our sangha was grateful to celebrate the dharma transmission in May of Hogetsu Laurie Belzer from her teacher Taiyo Lipscomb in Asheville, NC. The joyous and warm reception was held at Kathy Bingham’s residence. Kathy and Eishin Nancy Easton hosted a festive gathering of dragons as attendees brought potluck dishes to share, as well as personal stories of Hogetsu’s instrumental impact on the founding and growth of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate. Gifts were given in honor of Hogetsu’s transmission, including a Green Tara statue from the sangha and a kotsu handcrafted by sangha member Michael Soter from a tree at Tassajara. The sangha is thankful to Hogetsu for her helpful leadership, ceaseless support of our sangha, and tender spiritual friendship to all. She now joins the other transmitted teachers at Ancient Dragon. Hogetsu has long been our sangha’s sewing teacher for sewing Buddha’s robe. Her teacher Taiyo is Dharma brother of our guiding teacher Taigen.
RUTH OZEKI BOOK LAUNCH
Ancient Dragon is partnering with Women and Children First (womenandchildrenfirst.com) in welcoming to Chicago internationally renowned novelist and Zen Buddhist Priest Ruth Ozeki to celebrate her recent novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness. The event will take place on Friday, June 24th at 7 PM at the Ebenezer Lutheran Church Auditorium, 1650 W. Foster Ave. Ozeki will be giving background to the creation of and reading excerpts from The Book of Form and Emptiness, and will be introduced by Taigen Dan Leighton, Guiding Teacher of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate. Copies of the paperback edition of The Book of Form and Emptiness will be available to purchase. Click here for the event listing which contains more information as well as an Eventbrite link to register for free.
SEMINAR BY TAIGEN ON DOGEN’S EXTENSIVE RECORD
On Saturday, May 21, from 1 – 4:30 PM CST, Taigen Leighton will host an online seminar on Dogen’s Extensive Record, Eihei Koroku. For more details about the event, and to register, click here to view the event listing. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggested donation is $50, but sliding scale available to all, less or more is welcome. All are invited regardless of insufficient funds.
NEW ARTICLE BY TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON
Click here to read a new article by Taigen Dan Leighton entitled “Dogen’s Vision of the Environment and His Practice of Devotion and Faith,” to be published in The Theory and Practice of Zen Buddhism: A Festscrift for Steven Heine, edited by Charles Prebish and On-cho Ng (Springer, 2022).
BOOK LAUNCH FOR STEVEN HEINE FESTSCHRIFT
Taigen Dan Leighton will be participating in a book launch this Friday, April 8, from 12-3 PM CST, commemorating the release of The Theory and Practice of Zen Buddhism: A Festschrift in Honor of Steven Heine(Springer, 2022), edited by Charles S. Prebish and On-cho Ng, for which he was among many notable contributors. Taigen’s article for the book, “Dōgen’s Vision of the Environment and his Practice of Devotion and Faith,” can be viewed here. The Zoom link to the event can be accessed here.
GYOSHIN LAUREL ROSS PARTICIPATING IN INTERFAITH CLIMATE SUMMIT
Ancient Dragon Priest Gyoshin Laurel Ross will speak at an Interfaith Climate Summit at 3:00 PM on Sunday, March 13, at Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church with representatives from Baha’i, Sikh, Protestant, Jewish and Catholic faith traditions. Gyoshin will speak about climate change from a Buddhist perspective. The public may attend in person at 600 W. Fullerton Parkway, Chicago. The event also will be streamed simultaneously on Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church’s YouTube channel. Registration is required for in-person attendance. Visit lppchurch.org for more details.
RECENT BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE
Highlights from our recent board meeting on February 6 are now available to read here. You can also check out past highlights on our Board Meeting Highlights page.
IN PERSON EVENTS TO RESUME AT EBENEZER LUTHERAN CHURCH ON FEBRUARY 27
Beginning February 27, 2022, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate will return to holding in-person events at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 West Foster Avenue, on Sunday mornings and sometime soon also on Monday evenings, to be announced. Ancient Dragon events will continue to be available online and will be recorded. Because of concerns related to the infectiousness of the Omicron variant, Ancient Dragon has updated our COVID policy, which can be found on our COVID Policy page.
RECENT BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE
Highlights from our recent board meeting on December 12 are now available to read here. You can also check out past highlights on our Board Meeting Highlights page.
2021 YEAR-END CAMPAIGN
Click here to read our 2021 Year-End letter, sent annually to our sangha. Included in the letter are instructions for making a gift or increasing an existing donation if you are a current supporter. Our donation page can be found by clicking here.
REGULAR IN-PERSON EVENTS TO RESUME AT EBENEZER LUTHERAN CHURCH
Starting Sunday Nov. 21st, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate will be meeting in person (with Zoom also available) for Sunday morning and Monday evening zazen and Dharma talks at Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W Foster Avenue. Please see our full announcement for more details regarding getting to the church, where to go when you arrive, and the COVID policy for attending. All of our other events will continue on Zoom, unless noted in the calendar.
LOTUS SUTRA CHAPTER 25 STUDY GROUP LED BY SHUDO PAULA LAZARZ
This study group will meet three times, all on Sundays: November 28, December 12, and December 19. The group is limited to 10 people. We will use the Gene Reeves translation of the Lotus Sutra. The text of Chapter 25 will be provided to those who don’t own the book. Shudo Paula Lazarz will serve as facilitator. Suggested donation is: $50 – sliding scale available upon request. Click here to register.
RECENT BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE
Highlights from our recent board meeting on October 17 are now available to read here. You can also check out past highlights on our Board Meeting Highlights page.
Recent Board Meeting Highlights Available
Highlights from our recent board meeting on August 22 are now available to read here. You can also check out past highlights on our Board Meeting Highlights page.
KAZ TANAHASHI CHICAGO PERFORMANCE
Kaz Tanahashi, zen poet, artist, translator, and good friend of our guiding teacher Taigen Dan Leighton, will participate in the premiere of “A Brush With Our Time”, a multimedia piece in collaboration with Fourth Coast Ensemble, the Chicago-based vocal ensemble, at the Newberry Library on Sunday, September 19. Info and a link to purchase tickets can be found here.
In Remembrance of Thomas Cleary
Our guiding teacher Taigen Dan Leighton has written a short remembrance for Thomas Cleary, a prolific translator of many important Buddhist texts, who died on June 20. Taigen’s remembrance can be found here, as well as on Taigen’s Articles page.
June 2021 Board Meeting Highlights Available
The highlights from our June 2021 board meeting is now posted on our board meeting highlights page.
Conclusion of Hyde Park Zen Group
After some 12 years of existence, the Hyde Park Zen group, led by Nyozan Eric Shutt, will be coming to a conclusion on July 28. It has been an outreach of Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, bringing Soto Zen teaching and practice to the University of Chicago. Until the pandemic, the group met in Rockefeller Chapel on Wednesday evenings, had participation by many students and faculty of the University as well as community residents, benefitted from a number of Ancient Dragon teachers and students as speakers, and enjoyed the assistance of a number of UChicago interns who were assigned to Ancient Dragon. In the past year, however, the group has experienced a serious decline in student participation, and the leadership team members have moved on to other commitments, resulting in the necessity to bring this worthy project to an end. Many thanks to Nyozan and all who have been a part of this effort over the years!
Talk by Taigen Dan Leighton on Bob Dylan's 80th Birthday
On Sunday, May 23, Taigen will speak on the Dharma of Bob Dylan in honor of his 80th birthday the next day. Taigen has updated his article, “Bob Dylan’s Ongoing Critique of Social Injustice and Masters of War”, to reflect Dylan’s recent album.
New Article by Hozan Alan Senauke
Click here to read a new article by Hozan Alan Senauke, entitled “Is This Buddhism? The Oneness of Spiritual Liberation and Social Justice”. Hozan Senauke will be speaking again at Ancient Dragon on Sunday, June 13. The article will also available on our Dharma Articles and Teachings page.
SEMINAR ON BEING TIME AND DEEP TIME WITH TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON
Taigen will present a seminar on Being Time and Deep Time on Saturday June 19th about Being Time (via Dogen) and Deep Time (via Joanna Macy). The seminar will be in part based on Taigen’s article “Being Time and Deep Time” from the book A Wild Love for the World: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Time (Shambhala). To register please email email@example.com. Suggested donation is $35, but is sliding scale. People can donate on our donate page any time before June 19th.
RECENT BOARD MEETING HIGHLIGHTS AVAILABLE
The highlights from our April 2021 board meeting, as well as a working budget document, are now posted on our board meeting highlights page.
Statements on the Attacks of January 6
Click the links below to read statements from San Francisco Zen Center and the Soto Zen Buddhist Association regarding the attacks on the Capitol Building on January 6.
San Francisco Zen Center Statement
Soto Zen Buddhist Association Statement
Winter Solstice Dedication
Click here to read our winter solstice dedication composed by our founding teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton.
TALK BY TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON ON SONG OF THE GRASS HUT
Click here to watch a talk given by our founding teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton, in the online zendo of Zen Center North Shore on November 19, 2020 on the Song of the Grass Hut.
NEW ARTICLE BY TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON – “BEING DEEP AND DEEP TIME”
Click here to read a new article by Taigen Dan Leighton, “Being Deep and Deep Time.” The article is part of a new book, “A Wild Love for the World: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Time,” edited by Stephanie Kaza, that focuses on Macy’s lifetime work and writings. From A Wild Love for the World: Joanna Macy and the Work of Our Time, edited by Stephanie Kaza. © 2020 by Stephanie Kaza. Reprinted in arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.
TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON DHARMA TALK AT NORTH SHORE MEDITATION CENTER
On Thursday Nov. 19th, Taigen will offer a Zoom Dharma talk on the Song of the Grass Hut at the Boston area North Shore Meditation Center, 6:15 – 7:30 PM CST, preceded by zazen and ceremony starting 5:30 pm. Click here for information and to register.
Eightfold Path Study Group
An opportunity to become acquainted with, or do a deeper dive into, The Eightfold Path. Shudo Paula Lazarz is the facilitator. The study text is “The Word Of The Buddha,” by Nyanatiloka Mahathera. We will also look at commentaries by contemporary teachers to inspire our study and discussion. This group is limited to 10 participants. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org by October 28th to register. Suggested Donation is $100 – sliding scale available.
Chicago Hiroshima Day Events
NEW TEXT DISCUSSION GROUP IN SEPTEMBER
Looking for a way to connect with others, deepen your practice, and study an essential Zen text closely? If so, consider joining a new text discussion group that is forming starting on September 2nd! The group will meet on Zoom for five consecutive Wednesdays from 7:30-9:00 pm, and will be limited to eight participants. The emphasis for these discussions will be how the text can illuminate and inform our everyday practice. Please register by August 31st. Suggested donation is $25.00, with a sliding scale available. If you’re interested or have any questions, please email Matt Vogel at email@example.com.
HYDE PARK ZEN GROUP MENTIONED IN TRICYCLE MAGAZINE
Our affiliated dharma group in Hyde Park was recently featured in an article in Tricycle Magazine, a monthly Buddhist review. The article talks about dharma groups at colleges and universities. Click here to read the article, which features interviews with many ADZG practitioners who are part of our Hyde Park group!
TAIGEN DAN LEIGHTON ON THE CUKE AUDIO PODCAST
A new episode of the Cuke Audio Podcast features ADZG’s guiding teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton, talking with podcast host David Chadwick. David moderates cuke.com, an archival website devoted to Shunryu Sukuki, the founder of the American branch of our lineage. You can access the podcast on Taigen’s Teachings page, as well as directly on the Cuke Audio Podcast website.
Community Meetings Summary Report
As an effort to protect our sangha, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate has not met in our Irving Park Road city temple since mid-March, shifting focus to operating as a online practice community. This new realm of Zoom zazen has been sometimes strange but has brought many benefits, including increased practice offerings and new sangha members from around the world. In the month of August, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate held three open community meetings in the online zendo to discuss the helpfulness and challenges of our online practice, possible additional practice opportunities, and whether or not to renew our lease on the temple building on Irving Park Road. Ancient Dragon’s current lease on the temple space, with the option to renew, concludes on December 31st.
Sangha member Brian Taylor assembled a summary of the opinions expressed at these community meetings, which we invite you to read by clicking here.
These community meetings will inform the upcoming Board of Directors meeting on September 13th, during which the renewal of the Irving Park lease will be discussed. Once a formal decision has been made, a follow-up Ancient Dragon community meeting will be scheduled to discuss the decision together and plan our next steps together.
With bows and deep thanks for your practice,
Ancient Dragon Zen Gate
ADZG COMMUNITY MEETING: FUTURE POSSIBILITIES FOR OUR TEMPLE'S LOCATION AND PRACTICE
Monday, August 10, 2020 @ 7:45 pm – 9:00 pm (begins in online zendo after 7:15p zazen)
Saturday, August 15, 2020 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm (no zazen – just enter the online zendo at 1pm)
Sunday, August 23, 2020 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am (begins in online zendo after 9:30am zazen)
Calling all dragons!
The Board of Directors warmly invites the sangha, the Ancient Dragon Zen Gate community, to participate in an online discussion of the future of our physical temple and practice possibilities. Please feel welcome to attend any or all of the three community meetings. We need community input to chart our course forward in this time of the COVID pandemic.
The strength of our thriving practice community is exemplified by our agile move online, robust practice offerings, and enthusiastic participation in our online zendo. As we respond to the reality of the pandemic, our community meetings will help us practically and creatively explore options for temple location and manifestations of the forms of our dharma practice.
Since March 2020, public health safety concerns have necessitated the close of the temple space and the move of all of our dharma events online, and our physical temple space will remain closed until December 31, 2020 due to the persistence of the pandemic. Now, we face a major decision with significant implications: we need to decide together whether or not to renew the lease on our temple home at 1922 W. Irving Park Road.
Meetings will occur in our online Zendo via ZOOM and instructions on linking are available on the website: https://www.
"THUS HAVE I HEARD FROM KATIGIRI ROSHI" - NEW THOUGHTS BY BRIAN TAYLOR
Click here to read some dharma thoughts by one our sangha members, Brian Taylor.
Pandemic Dharma Words
Click here to read some dharma thoughts regarding the pandemic by one of Ancient Dragon’s priests, Gyoshin Laurel Ross.
CHICAGO RELIEF OPTIONS
Take a look at the Chicago Relief Options page for a list of Chicago organizations in need of support, as well as resources to inform ways you can support our community.
MEDITATION IN MOURNING FOR BLACK LIVES TAKEN AND IMPRISONED
We have begun a new Friday morning meditation series in mourning for Black lives taken and imprisoned. The service will be led in our Online Zendo by Dylan Toropov, who asks for your help in selecting material for the discussion portion of the service. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Dylan’s Ongoing Critique of Social Injustice and Masters of War
Taigen’s article “Bob Dylan’s Ongoing Critique of Social Injustice and Masters of War” is a much expanded version of a talk he presented at a Bob Dylan Symposium in Tulsa last year.
Movies and TV for Staying in Place
Our guiding priest, Taigen Dan Leighton, has begun to create a list of movies and TV shows to watch at home while sheltering in place. The list can be found here and is constantly updated. Feel free to send any submissions you have to email@example.com!
On Saturday August 3rd, 2019, Ancient Dragon Dharma Teacher Taigen Shizan Leighton completed Dharma transmission ceremonies for his Dharma heirs Nyozan Eric Shutt and Eishin Nancy Easton, and authorized them as Dharma teachers. Shosan Victoria Austin from San Francisco Zen Center served as Preceptor for the ceremony.