Lake Walk/Run/Bike Saturday, September 10, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Please join the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center community in celebrating our 50 years of practicing next to the beautiful lake known as Bde Maka Ska, by walking, running, or biking around the lake! Or bring your children, your dog, or your rollerblades! Join new or old friends in conversation as you circle the lake, or proceed in mindful silence if you prefer.
We will gather in MZMC's back yard at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, and begin our walk/run/bike 10 or 15 minutes later. Helpers will be stationed around the lake, and refreshments will be available in the back yard upon our return.
Why circle the lake? Circumambulation, or walking in a circle around an object of veneration, is a common tradition in Buddhism and other religions. There are many reasons to venerate Bde Maka Ska, and to celebrate 50 years of being inspired by its ever-changing beauty.
Throughout our history, the lake has also been a source for a deep connection to our community. We hear the sounds of community activity as we sit in the zendo with windows wide open. From our porch we have a view of beautiful, constant life: a diverse parade of people, walking, running, biking, walking dogs, walking babies in strollers, roller blading, sailboating, or just sitting quietly. So many varieties of joy! And many individuals in our community have had innumerable walks around the lake. At 3.1 miles (which is almost exactly a 5K walk or run), the trail is perfect for a one-hour conversation. And, as part of the Chain of Lakes, it links us to many other communities beyond.
Bde Maka Ska is historically significant. MZMC is located on the site of a Dakota village, Heyata Otunwe, which existed from 1829 to 1839. You will see an art installation marking the site toward the end of your run. For many years the lake was named Lake Calhoun, after slavery proponent John C. Calhoun, and it was changed to Bde Maka Ska, meaning Lake White Earth, in 2018. As we pass through the art installation, may we be reminded of our continuing responsibility to acknowledge right past wrongs and correct them.
Finally, water is a significant metaphor in Zen, in many ways. Eihei Dogen, in the Genjokoan, says “Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken.” There is the image of the agitated surface and the calm below. There is also the image, popular in our children’s practice, of sediment in the water, settling to the bottom, similarly to the way the agitated mind may be calmed. And there is interconnectedness. The boundary between "lake" and "shore" is amorphous. One cannot really say where the lake begins and the shore ends -- what about the mud between? Lake and nonlake are not separate.
The lake is deeply a part of us. We are not separate from our community, our past, or our future. Zen practice does not remove us from the world. It helps us to be vividly present in the world, and to act with compassion in the world. Let's acknowledge and celebrate these interconnections.