Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington


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  • 23 Dec 2016 7:10 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

       January at Red Cedar Zen Community

    Dear Sangha,

    A dramatic year is coming to a close. As the new one arrives I know many of us are feeling rattled and uncertain. About everything. 

    One thought: let's devote more of our energies for these first two months of the year to meditation and reflection. Let's support each other in returning to the "zero point" of our lives. To remember the feeling of fullness and radical okay-ness. This is so important and so fundamental, and a central thread of what we have to offer as Zen students.

    Let's take action too, absolutely, but maybe first we take Dogen's "backward step that turns your light inward to illuminate yourself" - we need to be illuminated to bring light into the world. And into the world we must go. For we already are there. 

    But first, let's practice. 

    We can end the year with our New Year's Eve Zen Ceremony next Saturday evening.

    We can begin the new year with Zazenkai: a morning of silent practice on Sunday morning.

    And then a couple of weeks later, let's begin Winter 2017 Practice Period together on Wednesday, January 11th.

    What is Practice Period? Every year in January into early March we gather together to intensify our practice through the ancient Buddhist tradition of the "rains retreat" - in India this was done in the summer, but our rains are in the dark of winter. 

    A time of darkness, a time of light. A time of formal practice and a time of reflection and growth.

    (Action too! One possibility: we have moved the opening sesshin of the Practice Period from Saturday, January 21st to Sunday, January 22nd to make room for the Bellingham Women's March, which will be from 10am to 2pm on that Saturday. Gather in front of Bellingham City Hall to join the march.)

    I am delighted that our long-time member Ryushin Kate McKenna is bravely moving forward as our head student (shuso) for the Winter 2017 Practice Period. Please come join her and the sangha in deep practice from January 11th - March 8th

    Two important things to do to get started after you take a look at the Practice Period page to get the overview.

     (1) Sign up online - here the link: Winter Practice Period 2017 - overview & registration sign up there, and then also book the classes and retreats you wish to attend. (Everything else is drop-in: there is separate registration for classes and retreats).

    The online sign up is helpful. It serves as a clarification for you of what is offered, as a planning guide for what you plan to attend, and it's an opportunity to share with Kate and I what your intentions are for this sesshin. (only Kate and I will read your comments).

    Additionally, there are options in the online sign up to ask for support. 

    You can request a practice partner (and "accountabili-buddy"?) or you can invite one of our teachers to be in touch especially if you live outside of Bellingham (or even if you're local but can't make the regular times).

    (2) Come, if at all possible, to the opening ceremony when Kate is invited to become our shuso and the gathered sangha share their intentions out loud (if they choose!) - Wednesday January 11th. More details here: Practice Period Opening Ceremony

    Hope to see you soon at the zendo or beyond,

    Nomon Tim Burnett

    Spiritual Director

    Annual Red Cedar Zen Community Fundraiser

    In case you missed the email, we're grateful to the Annual Fund Workgroup for putting our annual fund drive together again this year. 

    Over the last year, we have been involved in the larger Bellingham spiritual community through the countywide interfaith program of Let Love Be Our Legacy.  We have done several service projects in the community, continued our wilderness programs, and have dealt with some very significant issues with our beloved but aging infrastructure (read: "flushing with confidence.").

    Your ongoing support is vital for us to remain financially stable and to continue to grow and thrive.

    To offer a donation (fully tax deductible):

    • Donate online
    • Mail a check, payable to Red Cedar Zen Community and labelled as "donation", to the following address:
    Red Cedar Zen Community
    PO Box 5183
    Bellingham, WA 98227

    Also, please take a moment and have a light-hearted look at our 2016 Fund Drive Video.

    In addition to a yearly contribution, if you wish to become a member of RCZC or to renew your membership ties, please submit a membership form. For additional information about the benefits of membership, please see our web page About Membership.

    Sangha Events for January and into February

    Saturday, December 31, 2016 7pm  New Year's Eve Zen Ceremony

    Sunday, January 1, 2017 8:00am  Zazenkai: a morning of silent practice

    Saturday, January 7th 6:00am - 9:00am 1st Saturday Morning Sit with Potluck Breakfast
                                        9:00am - 1:00pm Work Day with Potluck Lunch

    Wednesday, January 11, 2017  7pm-9pm (Wednesday evening)  Practice Period Opening Ceremony.

    Wednesday, January 18, 201 6pm (before Wednesday zazen)  Intimacy at the Heart of Conflict (Shuso's Class)

    Sunday, January 22, 2017 (NOTE: re-scheduled to Sunday) 6am - 5pm Practice Period Opening Sesshin, which includes...

    Sunday, January 22, 2017 10:30am Shuso's Way Seeking Mind Talk.

    Saturday, Feburary 4th, 2017 9:30am Annual Sangha Meeting with the Board

    Sunday, February 5th, 2017 9:00am - 5:00pm Sunday Simple Sit with Chris Burkhart

    Special event for the sangha and the Bellingham community - our 4 week Introduction to Zen Meditation class
    Tell your friends interested in Zen meditation, or come yourselves to our Monday evening in-depth class on Zen Meditation. Taught by Connie Martin and John Wiley.

    Events in the Community:

    Our involvement with the interfaith group Let Love be Our Legacy continues with two events in December:

    February 4, 11, and 18: A Course on Islam will be hosted at St Paul's on these three Saturday mornings from 10am until noon. The Rev. Josh Hosler of St. Paul’s Episcopal will moderate this three-part series on our Muslim neighbors. There will be a presentation by members of Bellingham Mosque on the 4th. On the 11th, Professor Paul Ingram, Emeritus at Pacific Lutheran University, will speak. Recently the leadership of the Bellingham Mosque reached out and voiced a readiness to build interfaith dialogue, so this is a valuable opportunity to learn about this tradition.

    Saturday, January 7: The Sikh Gurwara in Lynden will open its doors in celebration, to share prayers, peace, and food in a multicultural, interfaith prayer service from 4-8pm. Service is from 4-6pm, and a traditional vegetarian meal is offered to all attendees in keeping with Sikh teachings to make food available to all. All are welcome, anRyushin Andrea Thach will represent Red Cedar Zen at the service.

    More information on these events will be place on the Let Love Be Our Legacy Facebook page and webpage.

    Upcoming Retreats:

    January 22, 2017:  Practice Period Opening Sesshin (re-scheduled to Sunday!)

    March 2-5, 2017: Three Day Sesshin with Zoketsu Norman Fischer & Nomon Tim Burnett

    December Dharma Talks:

    December 1, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett: David Loy’s Response

    December 2, 2016: Eko Jeff Kelley: Avowal and Repentance

    December 3, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett: Four Foundations of Mindfulness 1 – Observation of Body 3

    December 14, 2016: Heigaku Talus Latona: When Truth Moves

    An offering from a Red Cedar Zen member:

    So here is a moment in time – photo. 

    It spoke to me. I may be the only one?

    Winters grip fading. Late March morning.

    Time for a walk around Lake Padden.

    Not freezing, but still chilly. Walking along the shoreline, I noticed a color change off to my right.

    Stopped and looked out through a tunnel of branches to lake water and sun.

    Something was there. I (quickly) used my cell camera to record a number of images.

    Idea was to sort them out later.

    One jpg spoke to me!

    Spring blue.

    Last summer -


    About this newsletter: Red Cedar Zen Community sends out a monthly newsletter to highlight upcoming Sangha activities, member news, and other noteworthy events. If you would like to feature something in an upcoming newsletter, please email Johnathan Riopelleten days prior to end of the month for submission in the upcoming newsletter. We welcome all kinds of offerings: event listings, resources, poetry and visual art.

  • 01 Dec 2016 5:31 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

       December at Red Cedar Zen Center

    Dear Sangha,

    A week after the election we had a "supermoon" - the moon as close as it's been to the earth since 1948 and an opportunity that will not be repeated until 2038. I read this was coming and several friends pointed it out with excitement. And I could feel the anticipation of seeing something special and maybe getting a great photo with my telephoto lens. A little excitement and a little desire arose in my heart.

    And not too unusually for the Northwest it was rainy and cloudy - at least when I looked (I'm not too hard-core about such things). So I didn't get to see the full moon clear and unobscured.

    The first time I looked up at it, I barely looked. All I could really register was the disappointment of not seeing what I'd wanted.

    And of course for so many of us since the election we've been thinking and feeling in all kinds of ways about the unexpected results of our national elections. 

    The full disclosure here is I'm on the liberal side of the equation, but I hope these reflections are useful for my friends on the conservative side. And the minute I write that I'm aware of how limited and narrow is it to think that there are just two kinds of people in our country.  I reminde myself that people have all kinds of reasons for choosing to vote for one candidate or the other, or choosing not to vote at all.

    The  next morning after the "failed" supermoon viewing, I was up early and went out to my backyard mediation hut to practice. 

    Another full disclosure: for week after the election I found it really hard to keep up my daily practice. I skipped several days figuring I'd be sitting with others in mindfulness classes or at the Zen center. Which is true enough but it doesn't serve the same essential purpose as sitting quietly at home in the morning does for me.

    I'd felt literally a bit ill in the body - queazy, low energy. And I'd felt a bit sick at heart. It's been hard to really show up for life. Challenging conversations in classes and at home. Trying to make sense of what's happening and trying to be helpful as others make sense of it. Sometimes trying a little too hard to reassure others. Other times feeling shut down and not wanting to engage. Wanting to hope that everything is okay sometimes. Other times batting down the whisps of despair that everything is very much NOT okay (and again this paralyzing belief in there only being two possibilities).

    And then that morning I saw the moon. There is was hanging just above the horizon to the northwest. On it's way down for the day. I saw it through the trees and in the clouds. I could just make out some of the details of the lunar surface. Mostly a glowing white orb.

    And I stopped. I really saw the moon - the supermoon! - as it was showing itself at this particular moment. Not what I had wanted in my mind, true. And incredibly beautiful and just as it is, also true.

    I've heard people (mostly those within my liberal-leaning circles) talking like this is the beginning of dark days. We'll have to be strong. We need to mobilze. So much to do. Anger and frustration needs to be channeled and used. I've heard doubts about peacefulness too: we don't want to chill out too much, we need that hard edge to be strong, to be motivated, to show up.

    But of course the America of Monday the 7th was, more or less, the same America that voted the way it did on Tuesday the 8th. Either the dark days have been with us for a long time or it's not quite right to say the days are dark. 

    The days are dark and light. The moon is clear sometimes, obscured by clouds other times. It's still the moon. This is still our beautiful, diverse, strong country. Part of the liberal ethos is to be a little suspicious of "loving our country" - that could be code for a certain kind of narrow minded, potentially violent, nationalism.  And I guess it can be.

    But maybe it's time for all of us, no matter what our particular kaleidoscope of views is, to learn how to really love our country. What is our country after all but the lands and peoples that live in it? And that live in it now. It's time to learn the effective and clear way to love everyone. That's what I hope our mindfulness and compassion practices will support us in doing. I think we need a much bigger vision than "enduring dark times."

    Will sitting on the cushion and bringing our attention back to our breathing with kindness solve anything really? Not exactly, but it can help us find a stronger ground to stand on to do our work of love. If there's anger, we can find ways to include that reality with honesty and with kindness, if there's fear - the same, but spilling our anger and fear out into the world only adds to our troubles.

    My secret hope from the surprise (or even shock) of this national election we will all be moved to find our own particular way to express and contribute to our hopes for the future. Whether that's renewing our attention to the quiet helping we're already doing at work or at home, or whether it expresses as overt activism.  And I hope that somehow the insights of our practice will help us not fall into these binary traps. Us and them. Good or bad. It's a mix. It's an unbelievably rich mix, and none of us can know the whole story.

    So I can understand if you voted for Mr. Trump. I really can. I want to know your reasons and I want to be in dialog and I hope even as you support the changes you hope for in making that choice we'll all join together to resist the anti-love expressions of misogyny and racism that also emerged in his campaign.

    It's time to be strong and loving. And this isn't new. It's always been true. Maybe this month we all received a big wake up to that ongoing reality regardless of how we voted or didn't vote (the third choice which about half of us made!).

    Nomon Tim Burnett

    Spiritual Director

    Sangha Events for December:

    November 30 - December 4, 2016: Rohatsu 2016 - Buddha's Enlightenment retreat

    December 1, 2016: Public Dharma Talks by Nomon Tim Burnett and Eko Jeff Kelley

    December 10-11: Saturday-Sunday, Rohatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment) Retreat with Myoshin Kate McCandless and Shinmon Michael Newton. Please join Mountain Rain Zen community for our annual  27-hour Rohatsu retreat. Let’s sit together through the night with determination, then celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment with all beings! Details and registration online:

    December 17, 2016: Saturday Morning Practice with Breakfast

    December 31, 2016: New Year's Eve Zen Ceremony

    January 1, 2017: Zazenkai: a morning of silent practice

    Upcoming Retreats:

    March 2-5, 2017: Three Day Sesshin with Zoketsu Norman Fischer & Nomon Tim Burnett

    Board of Directors News:

    November 2016 Board Minutes

    November Dharma Talks:

    November 2 Nomon Tim Burnett discussesthe four Foundations of Mindfulness: Observation of Body

    November 16 Nomon Tim Burnett:Loving My Country

    November 23 Nomon Tim Burnett discussesthe four Foundations of Mindfulness: Observation of Action

    About this newsletter: Red Cedar Zen Center will send out a monthly newsletter to highlight upcoming Sangha activities, member news, and other noteworthy events. If you would like to feature something in an upcoming newsletter, please email Johnathan Riopelle ten days prior to end of the month for submission in the upcoming newsletter.

  • 01 Nov 2016 5:29 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)

       November at Red Cedar Zen Community

    Dear Sangha,

    Lately I've been thinking a lot about how challenging it is that our practice encourages us to take such full responsibility for our own minds and hearts. By quieting the mind a little in zazen we see our own suffering more fully. And as we start to see and undertand our suffering we realize that we're creating so much of it through our expectations of others. What a strong and difficult habit of mind that can be!

    We want others to befriend us. We want others to thank us. We want others to initiate projects that we think they should be doing. We want others to be tidier. We want others to think about things the way we do and organize things the way we do. We want others to do all kinds of things and be all kinds of ways.

    And we expect all of this to By magic? Via mind reading? 

    Sangha life is great. It can include a lot of wonderful and clearly felt support. I could never express fully how grateful I am to the sangha.

    Sangha life can also be challenging. It can show us this powerful pattern of wanting others to do things for us; wanting others to be the way we want them to be. Somehow we think, "they should just know who I am and what I need!"

    And when they don't we suffer. It hurts.

    And yet through that hurt is a powerful path to freedom and joy: through understanding this dynamic more clearly, through learning to ask for what we need, and even more importantly through asking for help in working with this self-centered conditioning we all have.

    We gradually learn the bizare truth that when we do the inner work of softening around our own pain, releasing our expectations, and accepting that others aren't going to give us everything we want, that they somehow then do give us more of what we need! And in fact they already were giving us so much more than we realized.

    This is tricky territory in many ways. Zen is not about self-denial or shutting down our needs. It's not about toughing it out.

    And Zen is not about self-indulgence either. 

    But it is about finding the path to freedom, connection, and joy. And that path sometime goes down dark lanes. Lanes of clinging, lanes of fear, lanes of self-doubt. 

    It's wonderful to have our needs met. It's even more wonderful to recognize that those needs are already being met. And have always been met. 

    Letting go and softening around our own pain and and our own needs and understanding our own patterns is not only possible, it's neccessary. For our real happiness. For everyones happiness. For the survival of our species, and of our planet.

    My dear sangha friends, let's keep working to help ourselves and help each other in the wisest ways we can. I'll keep exploring the dark pathways of need and desire in my heart and I'm sure you will too. With awareness of what motivates our needs we can help each so much more wisely, and little by little we will all awaken to the freedom and joy that benefits everyone.

    with love,

    Nomon Tim Burnett

    Spiritual Director

    Sangha Events for November:

    Tuesday, November 8 and Wednesday, November 9: Election Day Sits 

    Monday, November 14: Cultivating the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (this is a change of date from Nov. 17)

    November 30 - December 4, 2016: Rohatsu 2016 - Buddha's Enlightenment retreat

    Upcoming Red Cedar Zen Retreats:

    November 30 - December 4, 2016: Rohatsu 2016 - Buddha's Enlightenment retreat

    March 2-5, 2017: Three Day Sesshin with Zoketsu Norman Fischer & Nomon Tim Burnett

    Events with Mountain Rain Zen Community:

    Our sister sangha in Vancouver is having two milestone events in November, and their rohatsu is a week later than ours this year making it possible to have a double rohatsu December!

    Sunday, November 13: Priest ordination for Nin-em Susan Elbe, at Loon Lake Camp, 10:00 am. Please RSVP to to get directions and the gate code for entry.

    Friday, November 18: Shusu Jikai Vicki Turay Dharma Inquiry Ceremony, at Loon Lake Camp, 9:30 am. Please RSVP to to get directions and the gate code for entry.

    December 10-11: Saturday-Sunday, December 10-11 Rohatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment) Retreat with Myoshin Kate McCandless and Shinmon Michael Newton. Details and registration online:

    Let Love Be Our Legacy:

    So happy that our sangha is participating the first inter-faith project of this effort to increase understanding, tolerance and love in the community. We're helping to host a full day of open public meditation on election day and the next morning. May a little peace and contemplation help in this difficult election.

    Monday, November 7: Let Love Be Our Legacy Interfaith Banner Display and Community Gathering

    Tuesday, November 8 and Wednesday, November 9: Election Day Sits

    More info on the project is here:

    SANGHA NEWS: JUKAI (receiving the precepts, "lay ordination")

    On a beautiful day of practice and community sangha members Jaren Jaren Hoppe-Leonard, Ken Oates, and Anne Mikkelson received the precepts from Nomon Tim Burnett in the jukai (receiving the precepts) ceremony. This ceremony marks a commitment to living by the precepts and deepens each students connection to the lineage m the practice, and their teacher. Taking the precepts warms up and encourages the whole sangha too. A wonderful day!

    Our sangha members new names are:

    Jaren: Junryū Shinchi,  "Pure-hearted Willow, Wisdom in the Body"

    Ken: Junka Shiri, "Pure-hearted Caregiver, Resting in the Forest"

    Anne:  Tojun Kakuyō, "Pure-hearted Companion, Dancing Crane"

    You can read Tim's notes about the selection of their names on the Dharma Talks page


    We're made tremendous progress in this project to help the family of Mercy Akumu and their neighbors in Kagan Village in Western Kenya (Homa Bay County).  We're sent over $2000 already. Enough to meet our initial goals to fund both a small scale irrigation project (there is no irrigation or electricity available in the area where this village farms) and to subsidize Mercy's younger sister Doneter in beginning to study at university to become a special education teacher. Amazing.

    See letters from Mercy's Uncle Charleton and Doneter, a few notes from Mercy, and pictures of the new pump in action in the Kagan Village Project page of our website (under Support). See the new Kagan Updates sub-page for the latest news.

    Board of Directors News:

    October 2016 Board minutes

    October Dharma Talks:

    October 29, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett : FourFoundations of Mindfulness - Observation of Body 1

    October 26, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett : FourFoundations of Mindfulness - Introduction

    October 19, 2016: Ryūshin Andrea Thach :To Forgive and Forget

    October 12, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett :Yogachara Love Seeds

    October 2, 2016: Nomon Tim Burnett :Understanding Consciousness

    About this newsletter: Red Cedar Zen Community will send out a monthly newsletter to highlight upcoming Sangha activities, member news, and other noteworthy events. If you would like to feature something in an upcoming newsletter, please email Johnathan Riopelle ten days prior to end of the month for submission in the upcoming newletter.

  • 01 Oct 2016 5:29 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)


    October at Red Cedar Zen

    Dear Sangha,

    I'm just back from the annual sesshin with Seattle Soto Zen at Camp Indianola on the Kitsap Peninsula. It's similar to the retreat we offer every year at Samish Island in some ways - a lovely church camp on the water. The sesshin was peaceful and deep and I had the pleasure of co-teaching with both Jeff Kelley of Seattle Soto Zen and visiting teacher Valorie Beer from San Francisco Zen Center.

    The theme that emerged in the retreat was paying attention to what the Buddha called the "marks of existence." In Pali these are termed:  aniccā, dukkhā, and anattā: tranciency, suffering & liberation, and non-self. The Buddha was trying to point out that a deep source of our discontent and suffering is we take it all the wrong way - that the actual character of reality is that everything, absolutely everything, is transient and changing, that our mapping of some experiences as our self doesn't help us much, and that we're drop into an endless cycle of grasping and resistant if we're not careful.

    The good news is that we can work with this, It's workable. We can turn our attention towards the process of each moment unfolding, especially with the periodic help of lots of zazen, and through that process change our whole relationship to the unfolding stream of reality. The very same situation we experience can be a source of resistance and pain, or a source of challenge and growth. 

    I ended up coming up with the phrase "take it seriously but don't take it personally" as a helpful shorthand for this process of being in our lives with depth and intention and wisdom. Here's a little excerpt of one of my Dharma Talks at Indianola:

    What does taking it personally actually mean? It seems to mean making something that happens into a part of your identity or part of your person a part of yourself. 

    Someone insults you and you become an insulted person. And you hate being an insulted person right? So you have to fix that. A lot of work and stress and both. The opposite of letting go.

    And of course how do we even know that someone has insulted us? We assume it based on our perception. And our perception is always a little slanted by what we've taking personally in the past. We are all filtering our experiences through this tangle of history and assumptions and personality that we call "me."

    And yet the challenge, and occasional deep pain, of being a "me", a person - a being who has taken so much personally - is what brings us to practice, isn't it? It is our undoing in a way and it is our vehicle to awakening at the same time.

    And we learn how unsatisfactory the whole deal can be. We learn that just trying to get what we want: the right job, partner, consumer objects, whatever, doesn't seem to lead to lasting happiness. 

    Either what you think you want is unobtainable or, even worse, you get what you thought you wanted and you find it doesn't provide lasting happiness anyway!

    And that's the tangible stuff. 

    Then consider the underlying desires and subtle emotional needs: like I want everyone to like me all the time. No matter what. And this isn't even touching on trying to avoid what you don't want!

    But it's not so simple as just turning that pattern around, is it? There's something self-defeating about trying to STOP trying to get what you want or avoid what you don't want. That's a kind of forced acceptance. An aggression towards yourself. Maybe you've tried that approach too, and found that it work either.

    There seems to be some kind of strange dance here where it really does matter that we take good care of ourselves while at the same time holding our perceived needs and desires with more than a little curiosity. A healthy dose of skepticism. Do I really need that thing I think I want? Or is that just a desire that has me in it's grip. And what is "me" anyway. It's confusing!

    So I was already musing a little about the role of the self in all of this. Can we take this practice seriously with a lot of good energy without taking it so personally. Without all of our conditioned hooks hanging out there waiting to be snagged on something, or someone.

    Can we take this all seriously, this big, challenging, rich life, can we take it all very seriously without taking it so personally? 

    Responding to the world and situation we find ourselves in with curiosity with not-knowing, with as much skill as we can must and as much patience as we can. 

    And taking it seriously doesn't mean we loose our sense of humor either! It's a funny business being a person, that's for sure. 

    Wishing you all well as we turn to Fall. Let's do what we can this Autumn to take care of ourselves and our world with true care and deep wisdom. We need that, the world needs that. Let's take that seriously.but not so personally!


    Sangha Events for October

    Saturday, October 1Understanding Consciousness: A Zen Studies Retreat with Nomon Tim Burnett

    Saturday, October 8Closing the Mountains Hike

    Thursday, October 13Cultivating the Seven Factors of Enlightenment

    Sunday, October 15Sangha Work Day New to the schedule.

    Sunday, October 16Sunday Simple Sit with Chris Burkhart

    Saturday, October 29Jukai Day Retreat and Ceremony

    Upcoming Retreats

    Wednesday, November 20 to December 4, 2016: Rohatsu 2016 - Buddha's Enlightenment retreat

    October Events in the Community 

    Saturday, October 22Sitting Meditation in Troubled Times a workshop with Kathie Fischer hosted by Seattle Soto Zen

    Saturday, October 22: Intersangha Service Outing, an opportunity to serve our larger community by cleaning up Squalicum Creek Park

    Sangha News

    Kagan Village Project After hearing Tim's stories of his trip to Kenya (talk 1 and talk 2 are on the website) and the tremendous needs there, as well as Tim's growing personal connections in the village of Kagan in Western Kenya a person-to-person support project has emerged from the sangha if you would like to help you can read all about it on this webpage and find the donation box and printed information at the Dharma Hall. Questions to Connie Martin, Tim Burnett, or Tuli Candella.

    Student Discussion Forum A new interactive web page forum has been created where sangha members can post notes about their studies and thoughts about practice. 

    Note: You must be logged in to the website to make additions to the forum. Your login is the email address you used for membership. If you don't know your password or haven't made one yet, use the password reset feature - it's quick and easy. Or contact Terry Thompson or Talus Latona for support logging in.

    Let Love Be Our Legacy Red Cedar Zen is joining an interdenominational project to address divisiveness and prejudice - meeting it with love and understanding. There are project buttons available in the lobby and soon a large banner will go up on the building. Projects to open the Dharma Hall for meditation for the community or to other member denominations are in the works. Contact Andrea Thach at for information or listen to her talk.

    Board of Directors News

    Please see the minutes to keep in touch with the business of the sangha: June minutes: Board Minutes 2016-06, August minutes: Board Minutes 2016-08.  September minutes: Board Minutes 2016.09.

    Recent Dharma Talks

    Ryūshin Andrea Thach spoke about Everything We Do is About Love on August 17th.

    Nogen Connie Martin offered these reflections in her student talk entitled Revival on August 24th.

    Nomon Tim Burnett offered his reflections on this trip to Kenya in these two talks:  talk 1 and talk 2.

    And sangha members Hannah, Bob, and John describe their moving Zen pilgrimage to Japan.

    About this newsletter: Red Cedar Zen Center will send out a monthly newsletter to highlight upcoming Sangha activities, member news, and other noteworthy events. If you would like to feature something in an upcoming newsletter, please email Johnathan Riopelle ten days prior to end of the month for submission.

  • 01 Sep 2016 5:25 PM | Tim Burnett (Administrator)
         September at Red Cedar Zen

    Dear Sangha,

    Lately I'm practicing a lot with appreciation. Inspired by my experience in Africa, I'm appreciating more the incredibly functional infrastructure that we enjoy. So often we take this amazing infrastructure for granted, or the mind focuses on the rare times there's a problem or a delay. Yet to look around is to witness so many simple wonders:

    Dots and lines and reflectors on the road.

    Piped water, that one can drink.

    Regular trash collection and almost no trash on the streets and sidewalks.

    The quiet and peacefulness on the roads.

    Firetrucks and emergency services that respond quickly and effectively.

    Then I remember to appreciate the rich relationships and mutual support all around me:

    Family, friends, sangha.

    Married for 25 years this month.

    Being seen in the Board meeting and told, "you look good, more relaxed!"

    Parents still living and healthy.

    So many years of friendship with so many friends.

    Somehow…a new family in Kenya.


    And then, I remember to appreciate the gift of this practice:

    Deep quiet with good company in an early Saturday zazen.

    Herons at Samish.

    30 years with a teacher so trustworthy.

    A new student ringing the bells at service.

    Excited energy in the lobby on Wednesday night.

    Calligraphy together on Friday as we watch the ink flow from brush to paper.

    Incense and cedar. Offering, just offering.

    And then, I remember to appreciate the amazing interactions with this beautiful planet:

    Hiking up to Park Butte with Walker - glory all around.

    The sky in all its phases and colors and moods and winds.

    The crows living in my neighborhood.

    Our dear, now departed, cat Lucca.

    Sea and sky, sky and sea.

    Air we can breathe.

    Water we can drink.

    Food - that gift from the Earth (and somehow manifesting for us as something to buy in the store, and we can afford it, and they're plenty, and it's safe- amazing.)

    Of course there are problems, of course we have work to do. Can we do this work, these tasks, from appreciation? Can we root our actions in appreciation? We come home to remembering how deeply fortunate we are to be this supported, that we are this well held by Indra's Net, that we are alive.



    The September Sangha Conversation will be on September 29th. The topic, like this email, will be on generosity and inclusion. We will also have short reports from Tim on helping his Kenyan family with an agricultural pump, and from Andrea on an interfaith initiative on inclusion and love.

    Also this month:

    Sangha Work Day, September 3 at 9:00am

    Sunday Simple Sit with Chris Burkhart: Paramitas of Meditation and Wisdom, September 4 at 9:00am

    Circumambulation of Mount Adams - Journey into Wildness, 10 Sep 2016 – 18 Sep 2016 @ Mount Adams, Washington

    Journey to the Source - hike to Nooksack Cirque, 24 Sep 2016, 5:30 AM – 12:00 PM @ Carpool from the Dharma Hall or Nugent's Corner

    Sangha News:

    Zen Wedding of Ken & Julie Oates, and Nomon Tim officiated. August 13, 2016. Congratulations Ken & Julie!

    Departing monk Dylan Simpson moved to Williamsburg, VA, in July to begin graduate school in biology. Best of luck, Dylan.


    Dylan shared on Facebook:

    Dear Bellingham,

    Farewell! Thanks for being a home for the past two years. You're a shining jewel of a town.

    Dear Washington,

    So long, land of my birth! I'll rejoice to see you again!

    Dear Virginia,

    Get ready! I'm on my way.

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