Spring Practice Term 2015
February 15 - May 17
Buddha Eye Temple
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.
Special Practice Term Programs
Term students are asked to make a 90 day commitment to practice and investigation of dharma. Following through with a commitment for 90 days helps to solidify the position Dharma takes in our lives and challenges us to follow our yearning for a more authentic way of life. The goal of the Term Student program is to help construct a platform of practice from which students can investigate Buddha-Dharma in their lives. The basic building blocks of that platform are: daily zazen, engagement with the teacher, practice leaders and sangha, Dharma study, and temple stewardship. Please see the Term Student form for a further explanation of the nature of the program and requirements.
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. Precepts: 2/17 - 3/31 (except 3/3) 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.
4/14 - 5/26 (except 5/5) This is a six class series on a compilation of Dogen’s writings called the Shushogi (Significance of Practice and Verification). The text deals with the fundamentals of buddhist practice and how we can cultivate wisdom and compassion in our daily lives.
Small Group Discussion:
3/3, 4/7, 5/5 Three of our Tuesday evening meetings will be dedicated to small group discussions. This is a good chance to discuss questions and reflections with others who are also endeavoring to walk the path. Term students will meet with their practice group at this time.
Embracing Practice Workshops:
In addition to the Introduction to Meditation classes held on Sunday mornings there are monthly Embracing Practice Workshops held from 10 - 12 on Saturday mornings. These workshops are ideal for people who would like to explore more in depth instruction in Zen meditation as well as an opportunity to discuss how Buddhist practice takes root and transforms how we live.
Thursday Evening Dharma Study:
These dharma study classes run on Thursday nights throughout the term. Students are asked to commit to the full series of classes. They are not open for drop-in participation. We will continue our exploration of the Diamond Sutra 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.
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. There will be two five day zazen intensives (SESSHIN), one in early March and the other late April. Please see calendar for details.