Tag Archives: zazen

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

Retreat Practice – Spring 2015

Wagesa – received in Jukai ceremony

In Zen, a retreat is called sesshin, which means “touching the heart-mind.” Unlike daily home sitting or even our weekly sangha zazen on Mondays, sesshins offer us the opportunity to explore Zen practice more fully, more deeply, in the most tranquil and conducive atmosphere possible. It allows us to settle our minds to a degree that isn’t feasible under typical circumstances, and we get to do that together in an encouraging way.

Sesshin can be challenging, but if we hang in there, it serves as an anchor or cornerstone to our practice. If you have any interest in deepening your meditation, growing in your understanding of Zen, and meeting other like-minded friends who aspire to do the same, sesshins offer a unique opportunity to do this. There truly is no substitute for this kind of extended practice. 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