2014 ADZG Eight Week Spring Practice Commitment Period

Walking Interconnected: Practice of the Mountains and Waters Sutra

April 6 - June 1, 2014

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate dragon logo The tradition of focused periods of community practice originated at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. During these periods practitioners 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). In a modern American context, our non-residential 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, aiming to enact our responsibilities in a way that nourishes our connections with our loved ones, 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 individualized programs including three key aspects of Zen training: meditation, study, and community life. The practice theme for this PCP will be connecting with the flowing of the natural world, within and without our body-mind. This will be the first ADZG Practice Commitment Period with a shuso/head monk: Nyozan Eric Shutt, who will share teaching responsibilities with Taigen Dan Leighton

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 connectedness. 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 may include some flexibility, and distant members may also arrange participation, in consultation with Taigen.

Meditation — A commitment to zazen

  • A commitment to at least four days of weekly home sitting (at least six days/week including ADZG).
  • A defined commitment to at least two weekly sittings at ADZG, including Hyde Park.
  • Participation in three all-day sittings (April 6, May 4, or May 30, 31, or June 1).

Study — Exploring and integrating the Dharma

  • Text: The Mountains and Water Sutra by Eihei Dogen, 13th century Japanese founder of Soto Zen. This essay presents a primary orientation for Zen engagement with reality. It says that mountains are constantly walking, and we learn our own walking by studying the flowing of mountains. We will not thoroughly cover the entirety of this long essay, but use it as a touchstone for our practice.
  • Students commit to finding a particular passage from this essay as a focus, with the study informing daily life. Sections of the essay can be selected in consultation with Taigen or the shuso (Nyozan). The text will be available at ADZG for PCP participants.
  • Meeting three times individually (dokusan) with Dharma Teacher Taigen Leighton

Community — Sharing and supporting

  • Participation in Dharma discussion groups with PCP participants led by PCP shuso/head monk Nyozan Eric Shutt, on three Sundays at ADZG: April 20, May 11, and May 18, 2013, from 1 to 3 pm.
  • Meet informally to discuss practice experiences with a PCP "Dharma companion"
  • Volunteer in an ADZG sangha service activity (such as greeter, serving tea, etc.) to be arranged in consultation with Taigen and other temple leaders. This may include our Sangha Spring Cleaning Day, Saturday May 17, 1-4:30 pm.

PCP people are invited to the Shuso Questioning Ceremony, evening of May 31, during three-day closing sesshin.

Registration & information: Please speak to Taigen or e-mail [email protected]. Please register by March 26, 2014. Suggested donation: $100.00 (not including signup for one-day sittings/sesshin). Sliding scale is available to all.