Circle of Enlightenment: Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala

The Healing Breath
Meditation and discussion with Roko Ni-Osho Sherry Chayat

The Rev. Roko Sherry Chayat began Zen practice in 1967 with Eido Tai Shimano Roshi and has studied with several other Zen masters. In 1985, she received lay ordination from MyoOn Maurine Stuart Roshi, and in 1991, she received full ordination from Eido Roshi. A 1965 graduate of Vassar College, Rev. Chayat also studied painting at the New York Studio School. She is an award-winning author of books and articles on Zen and on art including Namu Dai Bosa: A Transmission of Zen to America and Subtle Sound: The Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Shambhala Sun, ARTnews, and Sculpture, among others. She is the art critic for the Syracuse Herald American Stars Magazine. Rev. Chayat has been the spiritual director and abbot of the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji since 1980. She lectures frequently on Zen and on art throughout the country and teaches in the Humanistic Studies Center at Syracuse University.

On October 18, 1998, at a transmission ceremony held at the Zen Center of Syracuse, Eido Roshi installed Rev. Chayat as his dharma heir. This was a very significant moment with regard to American Buddhism and to the Rinzai tradition of Zen Buddhism. The transmission ceremony celebrated an essentially unbroken lineage of dharma connection between Rinzai Zen masters that connects contemporary Zen to Shakyamuni Buddha, 2,500 years ago. And Rev. Sherry Chayat became the first American woman to receive the honor and title of "roshi" in the Rinzai Zen tradition.

We are all familiar with the suffering that comes through loss and the fear of loss, illness and the fear of illness. Our usual patterns of behavior compound that suffering. We close down, we erect walls of defensiveness, and we find ourselves locked away. Many studies have shown that one's state of mind has a dramatic impact upon one's physical condition. Bringing a different perspective to one's life--a perspective that acknowledges interconnectedness as the fundamental ground of being--can have remarkable consequences. The simple technique of meditation can help us transform the way we meet life's challenges. In this healing breath workshop, we will learn how to cultivate mindfulness and the direct experience of the present moment which can have profound and life-transforming effects.

-- SC

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