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CONTEMPORARY ZEN PRACTICE AND INQUIRY

APPAMADA NEWS

As long as you seek for something, you will get the shadow of reality and not reality itself."
—Shunryu Suzuki
Posted by Peg Syverson - Feb 22, 2017, 10:35 AM

We had a slight disruption as our webhost, GreenGeeks, does not support streaming audio or video, so we had to find a new hosting service for our very large library of audio files. We have set up an account with SoundCloud, which allows us to upload tracks, create playlists and podcasts, and stream our audio files. Video files for Appamada are on Vimeo. In the past week I've uploaded 757 audio files. They are organized in playlists: dharma talks and inquiry files are in playlists by year, and organized by date. Depth in Practice files are organized in playlists by the book we read. Intensives and classes, when uploaded, will be in playlists by year. Unfortunately, there is no way to organize playlists themselves, and we have a lot of them. Most people, however, will access these playlists via the links from the website. There are several nice features of this solution. For one thing, we can link to playlists instead of linking each track to the website. For another, if members want to create a free account on SoundCloud, they can save their favorites to their own collection, simply by clicking the heart on a track or playlist. This is like saving a recipe to your recipe box on a cooking website. Finally, the playback interface is simple, attractive, and easy to use.

In other news, the People section has been updated by Andrew at Portland Labs (our Concrete5 platform creator), so we will be able to begin beta testing very soon. He created a special list block that we can add to any page, or even have multiples of on the same page, to list members. That meant also a revision to the Profile page and the Registration page, and adding a link for the members to access their profile when they want to make changes.

I have also been working out the details for how intensives and classes will be displayed and linked to their handouts and playlists. There we may need to link track by track. A lot of time and effort has gone into the site so far, but we are very close to a rollout.

We do need to upgrade to the current Concrete5 version, which is a huge revision to the core. I will try to get some assistance with that from Andrew, now that he is familiar with the guts of our project.

Posted by Peg Syverson - Feb 22, 2017, 10:00 AM

No one should be diverted by self-oriented concerns—self-improvement, self-promotion, self-satisfaction, victimhood, or self-soothing when we are in the midst of a full-out war on human consciousness on a scale unimaginable in our time.

The assault on our collective and our individual wisdom, compassion, and clarity cannot be ignored. It is happening through the deliberate attacks on established sources of truthful information: reputable and reliable news media, scientists, academic experts, associations, agencies, and institutions that have proven their value in our culture beyond argument. Their occasional mistakes, oversights, and missteps cannot diminish their essential trustworthiness and importance in our social fabric. These reliable resources cannot be lumped together with the sources of propaganda, division, misinformation, misdirection, and all that contributes to greed, hatred, and particularly, ignorance, as if they are all to be dismissed or ridiculed. The information and analysis they provide cannot be treated as somehow equivalent, or incredibly, worse than the “alternative facts.”.

This is a grave danger to civil society, to our relationships with other cultures, and to the environmental well-being of this planet. By creating a smoke cloud of bizarre antics, distorted, inflated rhetoric filled with lies, and drastic destructive measures, there is a deliberate attempt to numb and demoralize any opposition to this war on consciousness. The sheer onslaught of damage to our world on every front—the environment, education, national security, international relations, the economy, medical care, not to mention truth itself—is breathtaking and can leave us feeling hopeless and disabled. This must not happen.

This is a war whose front lines run right through every mind and every heart; there is no sitting this one out. There are no non-combatants or innocent bystanders. We are drafted, against our hopes and dreams for a safe, comfortable, and predictable future, into the radical uncertainty of this conflict. Further, it is a battle that can only be won person to person, heart to heart, mind to mind.

Despite its many affordances, technology has been turned against us, causing so much damage to the web of human connections based on mutual trust that we must begin again, on the ground, to restore our own humanity. We must begin rebuilding sanity, truthfulness, kindness, care, protection of the vulnerable—wisdom and compassion and clarity, in other words—that is foundational to a livable society, and an inhabitable planet. We can do this, but our window of opportunity is short. The enemies of awakened consciousness are moving extremely quickly to consolidate their position, and to demoralize and disarm their opposition. I myself am shocked at how quickly this is happening, and the grave danger we are facing.

The transformation and dedication of consciousness for the welfare of all beings must be wholeheartedly, fearlessly, and tirelessly engaged and defended. This is our vow. This transformation can only happen relationally, through our willingness to connect across all boundaries, and to meet, with fearless optimism, the most difficult conditions. Those conditions might be as local as your uncle Frank, the racist, or as vast as our global ecosystem. You decide. The opportunities are boundless, but please get moving. You have five great weapons: curiosity, mindfulness, connection, clarity, and care. They are cultivated through our Zen practice, and they will serve you well.

And please vigorously support those individuals and organizations who are working hard to bring us truthful information and analysis in the face of increasingly brutal opposition and repression. Make your presence felt in support of the vulnerable, and in resistance to oppression. Be awake. There is no time to hesitate or ask directions. Move!

Posted by Peg Syverson - Nov 23, 2016, 8:37 AM

I have had some insights about our daily verses and their translations in the light of the current world situation. The versions below came to me in Zazen, and I shared them with Flint and the Council members for their feedback, and they were enthusiastic. The new versions seem to reflect our aspiration here at Appamada in important ways.

The first two, the Verse of the Robe and The Four Practice Principles, are the same. However, the sequence of repentance, refuge, and vow take on new meaning. Each one is traditionally repeated three times. In this new form each one begins with the personal, then opens out to the collective “we,” and then beyond that to all being and to the power of vow itself. It connects our intention and aspiration to our larger place in the world beyond our self-centered concerns, and it transforms our vows from something overwhelming and impossible to something enacted together through the power of vow itself. I hope you like this new version. We are having chant cards made so that we can all learn them together, and we will use these changes as the theme for our teaching in the January intensive.New Daily Verses

Verse of the robe
Vast is the robe of liberation,
a formless field of benefaction;
wearing the universal teaching,
I realize the one true nature,
thus harmonizing all being.

Repentance
All my ancient twisted karma
from beginningless greed, hate, and delusion,
born through body, speech, and mind
I now fully avow.

All our ancient twisted karma
from beginningless greed, hate, and delusion,
born through body, speech, and mind
we now fully avow.

All the ancient twisted karma
from beginningless greed, hate, and delusion,
born through body, speech, and mind
All being now fully avows.

Refuges
I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha.

We take refuge in Buddha,
immersing body and mind deeply in the Way,
awakening true mind;
We take refuge in Dharma,
entering deeply the merciful ocean of Buddha’s Way;
We take refuge in Sangha,
bringing harmony to everyone, free from hindrance.

Now all being has completely taken refuge in Buddha,
Now all being has completely taken refuge in Dharma,
Now all being has completely taken refuge in Sangha.

Bodhisattva vows
Beings are numberless, I vow to free them;
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them;
Dharma gates are boundless, I vow to enter them;
Buddha’s way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it.

Beings are numberless, we vow to free them;
Delusions are inexhaustible, we vow to end them;
Dharma gates are boundless, we vow to enter them;
Buddha’s way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it.

Beings are numberless, this vow frees them all;
Delusions are inexhaustible, this vow ends them all;
Dharma gates are boundless, this vow enters them all;
Buddha’s way is unsurpassable, this vow embodies it.

Four practice principles
Caught in the self-centered dream, only suffering;
holding to self-centered thoughts, exactly the dream;
each moment, life as it is, the only teacher;
being just this moment, compassion’s way.

Posted by Peg Syverson - Nov 23, 2016, 8:11 AM

We have an agreement with the Concrete 5 developers to create the customizable Member Profile page and also blocks that can serve as directory lists of various kinds. Once we have this section developed we can begin beta testing the site. We'll be looking for people with a range of experience with technology to help us with this process.

Posted by Peg Syverson - Oct 19, 2016, 4:03 PM

Here was my request of Franz:

The work we would like to accomplish for the Member Directory section of the website:

1. Registration form styling: The styling of the initial registration form means that it should fit into the theme and should be flexible enough to specify which form fields should be included, as well as allowing the person filling it out (or an administrator) to check which fields to make public independently.

2. Member Profile page: The inclusion on the Profile page of which groups the person belongs to (for example Council 1, Council 2, Flowers group, etc), via a set of checkboxes. These should probably be attributes, but I could not get the member add attributes “checkbox” option to show me where to create the items for the checkboxes. We add groups from time to time and also some groups come to an end. Styling is also an issue and it might be that the Profile Page should actually be a Profile block. We’d like to be able to design the Member profile into the theme. At the least, make this a page type so that the page template can be selected. In that way we could add instructions or other information on that page. We have about 700 members, so it is not trivial to change profile architectures one at a time. We want to be able to determine what information appears on this public profile page (for example, we don’t want “Badges.” And we don’t want “community points.” We’d like the profile picture larger and we don’t need the “Home” link that is next to the Edit link because we have Home in the nav bar above. We don’t need “First name” and “Last name”on the page because it is in the heading above. It might be nice to include “Nickname.” We would like to change “Bio” to “About me"

3. Member Directory List: This is our most formidable challenge. What we need is the creation of a directory listing block to allow various views and filters of the directory, and its placement in different places on a page. My notes and screen shots about what we are looking for are attached. In particular, we would like to be able to automatically list, on the same page as the main directory, some key people in the sidebar, such as the Board, the members of the Councils, etc. So being able to put multiple directory list blocks on the page would be a real advantage. We use these kinds of lists (members of a group, for example) on many different pages. Huge bonus points if there is any way to create a link that would send an email to all members of that group. But the main directory should be able to handle nearly all of that with filters if we put it into a block.

4. Naming conventions. We want to change the designation from “members” in the nav for the member directory to “people.” This will eliminate the confusion between, for example, members of the community and “members” of the website. When people register at the website, they do not necessarily intend to become members of our Zen community. I am not sure if this is just a nav bar tweak, or whether we need to do something with the structural designation of the directory.
It’s entirely possible that there is some way to do this with the existing architecture even without coding in PHP, but I don’t see how to do it.

APPAMADA BOARD

Our Schedule

Welcome! These programs are open for everyone.

Monday—Friday 6:30-7:30 AM
Morning Zazen

Sunday 8:00-11:00 AM
Zazen, service, and dharma talk

Sunday 8:00-9:00 AM
Newcomer orientation

Tuesday 12:30-1:30 PM
Inquiry

Wednesday 7:30-8:45 PM
Wednesday evening program

More activities can be found on the Appamada Calendar

Ethics and Grievance Policy

Our Location

913 East 38th St
Austin, TX 78705 (Map)

Affiliated Sanghas

About Parking

Please be mindful of our neighbors. Additional Parking is available in the Cafe Hornitos parking lot at the corner of 38th St. and the I-35 frontage road, one block east of Appamada.

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