Friday, August 14, 2009

Pittsburgh Zen Center Celebrates 10 Years

The following is a guest-post by Anthony Roscoe, member of the Pittsburgh Zen Center. Please join us in congratulating the PZC on their ten-year anniversary!

Greetings friends! My name is Tony Roscoe and I have been asked to guest blog about an exciting event in Pittsburgh. Next week the Mattress Factory will be hosting the first event to kick off the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the Zen Center of Pittsburgh! I am a member of the Zen Center and sit most Tuesday mornings with a group from our sangha, or Buddhist community, at MF from 7:00–7:40am.

But what is all this about Zen you ask? I'll try to explain a little from my understanding. First we have to go to India around 500 BCE, when Buddhism was founded by a former prince who decided that neither a life of hedonism nor one of strict adherence to ascetic ideals really brought about an end to suffering, and instead awakened to what is called the Middle Way. After this awakening, he was called the Buddha or Awakened One. He began teaching others about his experience, and his disciples went on to teach others spreading Buddhism throughout Asia. As Buddhism came through China and into Japan, various schools were formed as those cultures influenced Buddhism and vice versa. In China, the Soto Zen school of Buddhism came into existence with a focus on a form of sitting meditation or zazen called shikantaza, or just sitting. It is this branch of Buddhism that is now practiced at the Zen Center of Pittsburgh and is part of what we are celebrating.

Our celebration begins with a sunrise meditation session on Tuesday, August 18 at 6:00am, followed by a walking tour of the community gardens surrounding MF in Pittsburgh's historic Mexican War Streets.

On Wednesday, August 19, we'll be gathering at the Friends' Meeting House in Shadyside for an Intro to Zen class from 6:00-6:45pm followed by a screening of How To Cook Your Life, a documentary film by famed German director Doris Dörrie that focuses on Zen cooking and the Rev. Edward Espe Brown. You may well know Rev. Brown from his popular cookbooks such as The Tassajara Bread Book. We'll be joined by Rev. Brown following the movie for a discussion of the movie and a reception.

On Thursday, Rev. Brown will be teaching a cooking class at Sweetwater Cooking on the Southside. This hands-on class has limited space so please check our web site and to register as you must pre-register for this event.

Our week of events culminates on Friday with a special evening at our Deep Spring Temple in Bell Acres which is just north of Sewickley. We'll be gather for a fundraising dinner and silent auction enjoying foods from the countries that brought us Zen Buddhism. Buddhism was founded in India which will be represented by Taj Mahal from the North Hills. It eventually spread into China represented by Mandarin Gourmet in Downtown; Vietnam represented by Pho Kim 88 in Castle Shannon; and finally into Korea and Japan both represented by Ginza in Oakland.

The party continues on Saturday, August 22, among the 14 acres our temple is located on as we have a Family Fun Day with various activities for the whole family.

Finally, on Sunday, August 23, we will close our celebrations with a special ceremony and a vegetarian potluck lunch.

We'd love to see everyone at any or all of our events. Some do require pre-registration so that we can prepare for everyone. Visit for more information and to register for events requiring it. Thank you to the staff of MF for hosting our Tuesday morning sessions and for offering us this online space. May you all be well!


For more information, please visit

No comments: