The history of Zen practice is complex, stretching back in time to the historical Buddha. The teachings of the Buddha were then transmitted though successive generations of disciples all the way to Ejo (the Abbot at Buddha Eye). Below you will find links detailing the history and denomination information of Soto Zen Buddhism.
Central to the practice is Zazen. This is the posture of meditation we take in our practice at Buddha Eye Temple. Zazen literally just means “sitting meditation”. Sometimes called “shikantaza” or “just sitting”, we sit upright, breathing naturally, neither avoiding nor engaging thoughts. The straightforward practice of zazen is central to our investigation of the Buddha's teachings. Almost all activities at Buddha Eye are centered around time for zazen. Zazen instruction is available during our Sunday morning program, while online instructions can be found at SotoZen.net and Dharma-Rain.org.
Ceremony, consisting of incense offerings, bowing, prostrations and group recitation of sacred texts, is a daily part of the practice of Buddhism. We have regular morning and evening services at the temple, re-affirming our orientation toward practice, venerating the Buddha and other important figures and turning the wheel of dharma for all beings. On a yearly basis, there are special ceremonies held for New Year's Day and for important events in the history of Buddhism such as the birth, death, and enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha. Important occasions in our lives are marked by weddings, funerals, house-blessing and other ceremonies--please contact us for more information on private ceremonies.
Sangha is the Buddhist term to refer to the community of people who gather to study and practice the Buddha-dharma. Along with the Buddha (an Awakened One) and the Dharma (the teachings of Buddha), Sangha is considered one of the Three Treasures. As such, it's a foundational element in all Buddhist traditions.
Joining our Sangha requires nothing more than showing up. It is open to each and every person regardless of circumstances.
In the time of Shakyamuni Buddha, monks would walk an alms round each morning through the local village with a large bowl. Villagers would place food in that bowl and whatever the monk received would be what was eaten that day. Relying on the spirit of that way of life, Butsugenji is supported solely by donations. There is no charge for any event. We rely on freely-given offerings to support the teaching of Buddhadharma and daily functioning of the temple as a vehicle for practice.