Practice of Suchness: Jewel Mirror Samadhi Opening Awareness

2012 ADZG Eight Week Spring Practice Commitment Period
March 24 to May 19, 2013

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 a modern urban 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, or sangha, lives, works, and practices as householders in an urban environment. We aim to enact our responsibilities in our life situations and practice a way that nourishes our connections with our loved ones, our work situations, and our own bodies and minds. To support deepening of Buddhist practice in householder context, participants in the practice commitment period (PCP) design an individualized program including 3 key aspects of Zen training: meditation, study, and community life. The practice theme for this PCP will be settling into luminous communion with suchness and its expression.

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 samadhi of suchness. 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 3 or at least 2 day-long sittings at ADZG: March 24, April 28, or May 17, 18, or 19

Study — Exploring and integrating the dharma

  1. Text: The Precious [or Jewel] Mirror Samadhi by Dongshan Liangjie, 9th century Chinese founder of Soto Zen. This teaching poem presents a primary orientation for Zen engagement with reality.
  2. A commitment to focus on a particular passage from this teaching verse, with the study informing daily life. Sections of the poem can be selected in consultation with Taigen or practice leaders. The text will be available at ADZG and at on the chants web page.
  3. Meeting 3 times individually (dokusan) with our Guiding Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton

Community — Sharing and supporting

  1. Participation in a Dharma discussion group with PCP participants led by Hogetsu Laurie Belzer, Nyozan Eric Shutt, Keizan Titus O’Brien, and Taigen Dan Leighton on four Sundays at ADZG: March 31, April 7, April 21, & May 5, 2013, 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 19, 2013. Suggested donation: $100.00 (not including signup for one-day sittings/sesshin). Sliding scale is available to all.