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June 23, 2017
by Janice Walter

According to Professor Stevens, in order to avoid the constraints of temple life, the original Zen masters of China lived mostly outdoors. As well, in several of his translated works including Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan and Mountain Tasting: Zen Haiku by Santoka Taneda, Professor Stevens provides examples of Zen Masters such as Ryokan and Santoka walking and walking outdoors as part of their regular practice. In short, for modern times, being, sitting, skiing, skating, learning, walking, hiking, biking, swimming, boating, drifting, floating, flowing and practicing outdoors in Zen Temple of the Clear Blue Sky - a vast resource that spans the globe - is important to an individual’s overall spiritual development.  Almost any location will do including right where one is.  As in this example pictured above, over time one can discover more about the Light of Heaven that resides within by learning to sit quietly, observe and study nature.

Many of the Rideau Lakes Zen activities take place outdoors under the clear blue skies of the Rideau Canal corridor, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and year-round public outdoor park system full of trails that is 202 km long travelling from Kingston to Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, a sunny day on the Rideau proves it is no wonder it is called Zen Temple of the Clear Blue Sky. It can be expansive, vast emptiness very much the same as an enso. People from all walks of life regularly wander here now and again to drift with the clouds and flow with the water outdoors amidst nature in order to restore their link with the tranquility and peace of the Universe.  

Outdoors under the clear blue skies of the Rideau, the Universe acts as each individual's silent, yet active guide, quite similar to Helen Keller’s teacher. It is up to each individual to wake up and begin to listen, notice and see. Being outdoors in Zen Temple of the Clear Blue Sky aids an individual in waking up to the wonders of the Universe in a naturally flowing manner.  

To the trees, to the shore, chant whatever is in your heart!
The Universe (God) is our greatest teacher, our greatest friend.
Kwatz! (Practice!)
Katsu! (Wake up! Victory at the speed of Light!)

God is our Light
Rideau Lakes Zen

Rideau Lakes Zen

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