Monday, October 5, 2015


Lucia Penelope Corbett among the Many Shoes (10-4-2015)
What a great success was our first Kids’ Day at the Zendo. Five children, along with 16-year-old Audrey Schroder, showed up holding the hands of their parents. Our zendo was packed with kids and adults. The children participated in the chants before zazen—The Prayer of Atonement, The Three Refuges and The Heart Sutra—, and they followed Veronica Schroder to the house for artwork exercises. Veronica is co-owner and teacher (her specialty is teaching children) with her husband Paul at the El Paso San Soo Kung Fu Studios. Recently, she’s been studying how to teach “Mindfulness” to children. This practice, of course, dovetails into her Zen practice. She’s now studying with Bobby Kankin for Jukai, the ceremony where she receives the Buddhist vows and formally taking her journey along the path of the Buddha.

After this last Sunday, we decided that we will schedule Kids’ Day at the Zendo on the first and third Sunday of every month. If the interest remains, and Veronica gets some other volunteers, then we will make it every week.

Please contact Bobby Kankin Byrd at 915-241-3140 or for more information.

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[Whenever I think of children and Zen, I remember the great story of Hotei, aka "the happy Buddha." He established a kindergarten of the street, passing out goodies to the kids who followed him around as he traveled through town and country. Here's the story as it appears in Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, one of my favorite all time books. / bb]

Anyone walking about Chinatowns in America will observe statues of a stout fellow carrying a linen sack. Chinese merchants call him Happy Chinaman or Laughing Buddha.

This Hotei lived in the T’ang dynasty. He had no desire to call himself a Zen master or to gather many disciples about him. Instead he walked the streets with a big sack into which he would put gifts of candy, fruit, or doughnuts. These he would give to children who gathered around him in play. He established a kindergarten of the streets. Whenever he met a Zen devotee he would extend his hand and say: 'Give me one penny.'

And if anyone asked him to return to a temple to teach others, again he would reply: 'Give me one penny.’

Once as he was about his play work another Zen master happened along and inquired: 'What is the significance of Zen?' Hotei immediately plopped his sack down on the ground in silent answer.

‘Then,' asked the other, 'what is the actualization of Zen?'

At once the Happy Chinaman swung the sack over his shoulder and continued on his way.