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Buddha’s Enlightenment Vigil

with Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei

December 6, 2019

Shakyamuni Buddha was enlightened when he saw the morning star rising in the east. At Fire Lotus Temple, we mark that moment of awakening each year with a Morning Star Vigil. This silent, all-night period of deep sitting is a wonderful way to celebrate both the Buddha’s enlightenment and our present good fortune at having encountered the dharma and sangha in our own lives. Over the years, it has become a very powerful and important event for many at Fire Lotus.

At ZCNYC, we celebrate the Buddha’s enlightenment with a vigil dedicated to the simple yet profound practice of zazen, which Dogen Zenji called the “dharma gate of ease and joy.” We’ll begin the evening at 6:30pm with a light, informal pot-luck sangha supper. At 8:30, the Vigil begins with Hojin Sensei offering a teaching in the zendo. Following this, all is silent and still as each participant turns inward to give themselves completely to their meditation practice.

There is no structure or marking of time throughout the night. Participants can sit as long as they like, changing postures when needed, and taking breaks at their own discretion. Whisked green tea will be served in the zendo every few hours to help sitters remain alert, and sleeping mats will be available for those who would like to rest during the night. The vigil can be joined until 11pm, and those present may stay for all or any portion of the vigil, leaving during the night if necessary. The vigil concludes with a morning service at 7am, followed by breakfast.


Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei
A Zen priest, Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei received transmission of the Precepts from Daido Roshi, who began the process in 2009, and from Shugen Roshi, who completed the transmission in 2012. In 2017, she received full dharma transmission from Shugen Roshi. She currently serves as MRO Director of Training and co-Director of the Zen Center of NYC. Before entering the Monastery in 1990, Hojin Sensei studied fine art and trained under legendary ceramicist Toshiku Takaezu, among others. Over the years she has taught drawing, ceramics, and painting, and continues to teach on the creative process within the Mountains and Rivers Order.
Learn more about Jody Hojin Kimmel, Sensei