February 21 – May 21
Our Practice Term developed out of the Zen monastic tradition of biannual practice periods called “ango”. Traditionally, a monastery holds two 90-day periods a year during which the monks don’t leave the monastery except for alms rounds. They use that time, the container of the community and the teachings of the abbot to investigate Dharma wholeheartedly. The Ango tradition has been adapted by many community temples as a way of providing an opportunity for non-monastic students to direct their study of Dharma. Although our Practice Term is not as contained as a traditional ango, it serves the same purpose of bringing together the resources of the community over a specific period of time to help focus practice and investigation. We may not be living a monastic life, but our lives are rigorous and very busy. We may never make the time, even though we intend to, to find out about the questions at the very bottom of our heart. Practice Terms help us take the time and give us the resources to pay attention.
Programs available during Spring Practice Term:
Tuesday Evening Classes:
Tuesday evening classes and events do not require registration and it is fine to simply drop in. The program runs from 7 – 9 P.M. Topics for the spring are:
Bodhisattva Precepts: 2/23 - 3/29 This is a six class series on the Buddhist practice of Ethics. We will focus on the sixteen bodhisattva precepts that form the center of our traditions exploration of awakened life.
TBA Class: 4/5 - 5/17 The topic of this seven class series will be announced later.
It can be incredibly helpful and supportive to meet with others that are aspiring to the same path. It gives people a chance to learn from each other and to uncover the profound mutuality of our lives. There is a tendency to see zen practice as a solitary responsibility and to hold the path in an isolating way. It is much better to rely on each other for mutual reflection. The treasure of community is integral to the path.
Practice Groups get together several times throughout the term with a facilitator to discuss their explorations of dharma and how it is working in day to day life. Members of these groups make a commitment to regular practice throughout the term. Dates will be determined by the groups once they are formed. Please see the practice group registration form for more detail and information on how to join.
Thursday Evening Dharma Study
Thursday evening dharma study is an opportunity to immerse in a Buddhist text and explore the teachings with our lives. Students are expected to work closely with the text for the entire term. This includes academic study as well as traditional practices like recitation, memorizing and hand copying. Thursday evening meetings will include some formal teaching and lecturing from the term teacher, Ejo, but will also focus on student participation and presentation. If you register for this class please be ready to jump in with both feet!
Students are asked to commit to the full series of classes. They are not open for drop-in participation. We will be focusing on The Song of the Precious Mirror Samadhi during this practice period and will use various translations and commentaries. Please see registration form for more information. If you would like to register please fill out the registration form and return it to the envelope on the sangha board or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The term trainee program is for people who would like to immerse themselves in zen practice and make a commitment to participate in and steward the various temple activities. Term trainees are expected to make themselves available throughout the term for various meetings and rehearsals. There will be a regular short meeting before class on Thursday evenings and other meetings as the need arrises. Term trainees also must participate in the Thursday evening Dharma Study group. Please see the Term Trainee form for a further explanation of the nature of the program and requirements.
Birdhaven Zendo near Cheshire holds monthly one-day silent retreats that will continue throughout the spring on each second Saturday of the month please see their website at birdhavenzendo.org for information and registration. At Buddha Eye Temple there will be a four day zazen intensive (SESSHIN) on March 10-13 and a five day zazen intensive May 4-8.