Growing Awareness: Bodhisattva Transcendent Practices

2012 ADZG Eight Week Spring Practice Commitment Period
April 1 to May 27, 2012

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate dragon logo The tradition of focused periods of community practice originates from the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. A practice period is a time when practitioners intentionally join together to deepen and support each others' practice of the Buddha way. In the Japanese Zen tradition these practice periods are residential monastic retreats known as ango (peaceful abiding). Shunryu Suzuki noted that American Zen practitioners have an engagement with practice that seems to be a hybrid of monastic and householder — neither monk nor layperson — fully devoted to the dharma.

In our modern urban practice context, our nonresidential practice commitment period is an opportunity to integrate and develop sustainable practice in our everyday lives and echoes the ancient Buddhist tradition of intentional community practice. Ancient Dragon Zen Gate's community, our sangha, lives, works and practices as householders in an urban environment. It is vital to be responsive to our responsibilities and life situations and find a way to practice that nourishes our connections with our loved ones, our work situations and our bodies. To support the deepening of Buddhist practice in their householder context, participants in the practice commitment period (PCP) will design an individualized program including 3 key aspects of Zen training: meditation, study and community life. The theme of practice for this PCP will be the Bodhisattva Practices, or paramitas, to develop awareness and active compassion.

All practitioners are welcome to register. Participants in the practice commitment period are required to make a commitment to meditation, study, and community with a focus on the Bodhisattva Practices. A commitment sheet will be available in early March for outlining your personal practice commitment for the eight weeks of the practice commitment period. Personal commitments can include some flexibility, in consultation with Taigen.

Meditation — A commitment to zazen

  1. A defined commitment to at least 3 days of weekly home sitting
  2. A defined commitment to at least one weekly sitting at ADZG
  3. Participation in at least 2 day-long sittings at ADZG: April 22, or May 25, 26, or 27

Study — Exploring and integrating the dharma

  1. Text: Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes by Taigen Dan Leighton, especially chapter three on the ten transcendent practices, but also the application of these practices modeled by the archetypal bodhisattva figures.
  2. A stated commitment to a focus on a particular one of the ten transcendent practices, with the study informing daily life. The ten are: generosity, ethical conduct, patience, effort, meditation, wisdom, skillful means, vow, powers, and knowledge.
  3. Meeting 3 times individually (dokusan) with our Guiding Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton

Community — Sharing and supporting

  1. Participation in a practice discussion group with PCP participants led by Eishin Nancy Easton, Nyozan Eric Shutt, Hogetsu Laurie Belzer, and Keizan Titus O'Brien on four Sundays at ADZG: April 8, April 29, May 6, & May 20, 2012, from 12:30-2:30pm
  2. Meet informally to discuss practice experiences with a "dharma companion"
  3. Volunteer in an ADZG sangha service activity (such as greeter, serving tea, etc.) to be arranged in consultation with Taigen and other temple leaders.

Registration & information: Please speak to Taigen or e-mail [email protected]. Please register by March 30, 2012. Suggested donation: $100.00 (not including text cost or signup for one-day sittings/sesshin). Sliding scale is available to all.