2015 ADZG Eight Week Spring Practice Commitment Period

Stories of Suchness: Practicing Just This

April 5 - May 31, 2015

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 engaging the awareness of the suchness of reality.

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 engaging reality. 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 or modification, in consultation with Taigen. Distant members may also arrange participation.

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 5, May 3, or May 29, 30, or 31).

Study — Exploring and integrating the Dharma

  • Teaching stories from Dongshan, the 9th century Chinese founder of the Soto lineage. We will consider Dongshan stories from the Book of Serenity, and from Taigen's new book, Just This Is It: Dongshan and the Practice of Suchness. These stories present a primary orientation for Zen engagement with reality. We will use these stories as touchstones for our practice.
  • Students commit to finding one or two particular stories from Dongshan during the first month as a focus, with the study informing daily life. Stories can be selected in consultation with Taigen. The stories will be available at ADZG for PCP participants. See list of stories with brief descriptions.
  • Meeting three times individually (dokusan) with Dharma Teacher Taigen Leighton.

Community — Sharing and supporting

  • Participation in Dharma discussion groups with PCP participants led by Taigen or other ADZG practice leaders, on three Sundays at ADZG: April 19, May 10, and May 17, 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 16, 1-4:30 pm.

Registration & information: Please speak to Taigen or e-mail [email protected]. Please register by March 30, 2015. Suggested donation: $100.00 (not including signup for one-day sittings/sesshin). Sliding scale is available to all.