Our six-week spring practice period will begin Saturday, May 2 with a one-day sitting. The requirements and sign-up sheet are on the bulletin board. Practice period gives us an opportunity to examine the rhythm of our zazen attendance and make adjustments according to the changing circumstances of our other obligations. If we can realistically balance our many obligations with our zendo attendance and activities, respecting each one’s Buddha nature, studying the Dharma, and harmonizing with the sangha, we can have a rewarding practice period together. When we can forget about our self, and simply contribute our effort while supporting each other, all aspects of our life can come together, with zazen as the fundamental touchstone.
Practice period can be like spring cleaning. We look around and let go of what we have been dragging around and lighten up our load going forth into the rest of the year both refreshed and rejuvenated. I encourage all of us to attend the opening day sesshin when we will install long-time practitioner Susan Marvin as the head student (shuso). Her attendant Dean Bradley will be organizing teas where informal dharma discussion can take place.
The five-week class will be based on ancestor Vasubandhu’s teaching model of the eight levels of consciousness interactive (and not interactive) with the dharmas. What are the eight levels? Do I really know what dharmas are? What is true self and what is not? If there is no self then what is there? Where exactly is the ego? How is consciousness transformed into wisdom? These and other questions will be dealt with, and class materials for study will be forthcoming.
So come and enjoy these three fundamental activities together: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. Let the Dharma turn you as you turn the Dharma. Each one of us is both individual and collective, and one does not interfere with the other. Let’s make our effort to find this harmonious balance moment by moment.