Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's Eve at Silver City Zen Center

Driving from Deming to Silver City on New Year's Eve, I felt so secure and protected! There were police all over the road, pulling people over on their way to New Year's Eve parties. I kept cruise control set on whatever the posted speed limit was and rolled unobtrusively into Silver City and found the Zen Center.

At 10:00 PM, I did Korean-style kido chanting in the zendo, something the sangha had never heard before. After completing the Kwan Seum Bosal chant we sat, walked outside with firecrackers blowing up around us, sat some more while a bell rang the traditional 108 times, and then there was a brief ceremony outdoors. On slips of paper we wrote things we might wish to jettison with 2008, and burned them in a fire that lit up Jizo's face on a makeshift altar set up for the night.

Finally, we lit candles and offered prayers or statements of intention for 2009. Paul verbalized something most of us had thought as fireworks blew up in the sky, resounding across the hillsides, that he wondered if this was similar to how the skies over Gaza sounded tonight.

Indoors, we enjoyed a champagne toast, and Paul had prepared a traditional Japanese noodle soup. We crammed ourselves into the tiny living room of his house and spent the first hour of the new year in lively conversation with laughter and appreciation of good company.

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