Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our New Blog

Hello. Welcome to the new blog for our sangha--Both Sides / No Sides: A Zen Community for El Paso and Juárez and the surrounding region on both sides of the border. We meet every Saturday at 3:30pm at 711 Robinson in the Kern Place neighborhood. (See the google map pasted below.) Many thanks to Sangha member John Fortunato for lending us a large room ("a clean, well-lighted place") in his home to serve as our Zendo. John also creates a nice flower arrangement for our altar each week.

Our lineage is traced through the Soto Tradition. We have no priest or abbot serving our Sangha now, but I organize and facilitate our services and events. I also serve as primary Ino. John Fortunato helps in all of these chores.

My name is Bobby Byrd. For a number of years I've been a student of, and received Jukai from, Harvey SoDaiho Hilbert Roshi of the Clear Mind School of Zen (and before that of the Zen Center of Las Cruces) . Our services include chanting the Three Refuges and the Heart Sutra in English, two 25 minute periods of Zazen (seated meditation) with Kinhin (walking meditation between). Afterward we chant the Heart Sutra in its Japanese (actually, Sino-Japanese) form, we have a short incense ceremony, serve tea and talk and we conclude by repeating The Four Great Vows. It's a nice time, and we invite all to come sit with us.

I like to see an image in a blognote, so here's a photograph of John Fortunato and me in the Zendo. When we first began sitting at 711 Robinson, usually it was just John and me. Now our Sangha has grown to 25 folks on our mailing list, of whom we'll have five to 10 people sitting with us each week. But there's a lot more room.

On this blog we'll make announcements about upcoming services and events, and I'll add information now and again that might prove helpful to your practice. We hope this blog can become a place of conversation about the practice of Zen Buddhism for El Paso and Juarez.

Soon we'll also have a FACEBOOK page which will upload the feeds from this blog. If you have questions, please write me at

The map is below.

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