Buddhist practice has its distinct seasons, just as does the natural world and just as do our human lives. There are periods when we simply relax into whatever we encounter, allowing the teachings to emerge naturally amid both the pleasurable and painful circumstances of our lives. There are other periods that call us to press ourselves deliberately up against the concrete body of the teachings, encountering dharma as the good medicine of a teaching, a tradition, a discipline, and a community.
Practice Term is an opportunity for this later mode of investigation. For a set period of time, we place the intention to practice and realize dharma at the center of our lives, letting that intention assume a concrete form through the container of the Practice Term. Entering this container wholeheartedly together with the whole temple community, we engage dharma not as something external and abstract but meet it vividly with our own body and mind. This is an important step in our trajectory of spiritual practice, both as individuals and as a temple. It can be our tendency to compartmentalize Buddhist teachings and practice, fitting them comfortably into our lives while neglecting to consider their broader implications. Practice actually asks us to put ourselves on the line, to throw ourselves into the sea of dharma and to find the profound support of others therein. This is a joyous invitation!
During the Spring 2017 Practice Term, we will direct our efforts and eye of study particularly to the Sangha Treasure. Sangha, the community of practitioners, is one of the “Three Treasures” in which all followers of Buddhism take refuge. Formal Term Students participate in weekly Thursday evening meetings, facilitated by Ejo’s senior students, where we will explore the significance of the Sangha Treasure through teachings, presentation, discussion, and other engagement. The Term Student program is open to anyone who can fulfill the requirements—please see the attached application for more information. Our other programs, as always, are open to everyone. A general outline of our practice offerings is attached; please stay tuned for more specific information.
The Spring Practice Term opens officially on Sunday, April 2 with a brief ceremony during our Sunday morning program. Term students will present their applications at the main altar, and anyone who wishes may make individual practice commitments of any kind and present them at the ceremony. The practice term concludes on Sunday, June 4 with another ceremony.