Tag Archives: practice

Taking refuge in … what? Sangha Edition

This post is the fourth in a series on the Zen precepts. If you want to start at the beginning, you can start here.

Sangha is a relatively new development in my Zen practice. I did not officially join a sangha until 2007 when I began attending sesshins in Atlanta with our guiding teacher Taiun Elliston, and not even officially-officially until I received Jukai in 2008. Before then I was an attendee at a series of Zen groups in the different places I lived, but I did not have a teacher. Beyond that, I did not feel a part of any community. This was, in part, a geographic issue, related to the now-standard itinerant nature of early-career academia. I did not want to make a commitment to a group or teacher not knowing how long I might be in a particular location. Continue reading

The Precepts: Taking refuge in…what?

shakyamuniBuddhaThis is the second in a series on receiving the Soto Zen Precepts. Here’s the first post.

Refuge-taking is a part of any Precepts ceremony in any Zen sangha, and indeed in pretty much any Buddhist sangha of any sort ever. In fact, just about every Buddhist ceremony I’ve ever experienced has included the Refuges, and the first of those is refuge in Buddha. It’s kind of important. It’s even in the title of our whole deal.

Oh, and they always go in this order in the refuge verses and in basically any other reference to them: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. I committed this to memory when I realized that they naturally occur in alphabetical order. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Receiving the Precepts: How and Why?


Jukai in Atlanta, 2008

Today I’m starting a series of posts on the Zen Precepts, sometimes called the Bodhisattva Precepts. One of our sangha members recently received Jukai, the 5-Precepts ceremony, and that has gotten everybody interested and asking questions about what this means.

To get us started, let’s get an overview of what the Precepts are. The Zen Precepts have three main components: the Three Refuges, the Three Pure Precepts, and the Ten Grave Precepts. Continue reading

Home Practice

On a recent Monday evening, a sangha member asked about daily home meditation practice, what that looks like, and how to sustain it over time. I thought maybe those who weren’t present would like to know about this as well. It’s a common and important question. I’ll tell you about my daily practice. This is not to say that you should copy exactly what I do. Establishing a daily practice means fitting it into your own life, not like cramming your foot into someone else’s shoe, as it were. Still, maybe there’s something in my experience that might be useful to you. Continue reading