When the Zen Meditation group meets on September 15, 2021, it will be the beginning of the Jewish high holy day of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.
In the Zen tradition, we often chant the Gatha of Atonement. A Gatha is a short verse used as a focal point of practice. Atonement means reparation for a wrong or injury. In Zen, we often think of it as “at-one-ment” —being at one with the big mess of the situation as it is, taking responsibility for the full catastrophe.
The Gatha of Atonement:
All twisted karma ever committed by me since of old; Because of my beginningless greed, anger, and ignorance; Born of my body, speech, and mind; Now I atone for it all.
In our Zen practice, we must be able to include, hold, and name our inevitable failures. Falling short, we discover and reveal our humanness and the work we still have to do. Atonement is a process of clear-eyed acknowledgement and deep acceptance.