Playing 4 of 4

Widening the Circle

According to early Zen tradition, zazen, or meditation, is the dharma gate of ease and joy. In this retreat, Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara of New York City’s Village Zendo guides us to a place where we can find ease and peace and a restfulness in our practice. And from this place of ease and peace, we can move on to the sense of joy that meditation can produce. Joy, Enkyo Roshi says, has “a leaping quality.” How many of us can claim to have this in our meditations and in our lives?

And even if we achieve ease and joy in our practice, how can we feel peaceful and joyful in a world so full of turmoil and anguish? Part of Enkyo Roshi’s answer lies in community engagement and service, activities which are fundamental to practice at her sangha in lower Manhattan. Ease and joy in our practice and life allows us to engage with the world with an open mind and open heart. In a thought related to a famous statement of Dogen’s, Enkyo Roshi says, “When we realize the self, we serve the whole world.”

Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara, PhD, is the Abbot of The Village Zendo. A Soto Zen Priest and certified Zen Teacher, she received dharma transmission in both the Soto and Rinzai lines of Zen Buddhism, through the White Plum Lineage. Roshi currently serves as the Guiding Spiritual Teacher for the New York Center For Contemplative Care. She also serves as Co-Spiritual Director of the Zen Peacemaker Family, a spiritual, study and social action association. Enkyo Roshi’s focus is on the expression of Zen through caring, service, and creative response. Her Five Expressions of Zen form the matrix of study at the Village Zendo: Meditation, Study, Communication, Action, and Caring.

“Coming back to the live moment is the greatest healing, the greatest compassion.”
-Roshi Pat Enkyo O’Hara