21 June 2011

Programming Notice: Jikan On Retreat

After tonight's meditation, I will be away from phone and computer until July 4, as I will be attending gyo. This means, of course, that I will not be available to answer questions by email for a while. Our regularly scheduled practice will carry on though.

Thank you to the sangha for the support and encouragement in this. I will carry you with me in practice.

19 June 2011

Contemplation: A Great Cloud

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take this as your object of contemplation:

Sometimes I go about in pity for myself,
and all the while a great wind
is bearing me across the sky.

Verse given for encouragement at Tendai Buddhist Institute

13 June 2011

Programming Notice: Rescheduled Walkabout & Potluck

The Warm-up walk and potluck event announced earlier has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 16. The rest of the details remain unchanged; read about it here. Thank you!

Contemplation: May I Become...

After reviewing the guidelines for practice, take this as your object of contemplation

For those who are without refuge,
Without base, support or friend,
May I become their supreme refuge,
Their base, their support and friend.

Shakyamuni Buddha, as recorded in The Sutra of Golden Light, p. 24.

10 June 2011

Calling Harrisonburg & Staunton...

Some nice people in Harrisonburg, Virginia have expressed an interest in starting a practice group there. I am willing to help organize such a thing, and offer what advice I can. So I would like to know if there is significant interest in this form of practice for this to be feasible.

Please contact me by email at JikanAnderson@gmail.com if you live in Harrisonburg, Staunton, or close by and would like to participate in the great work locally.

09 June 2011

What is Gyo?

Thanks to Heather for hosting a sangha get-together to send me off to gyo this summer. Some people have asked what gyo is and why I'll be doing it. This is the short version:

Gyo means "training" or "interval of training." In our school, ordinary people train for a certain period of time in a particular way, and if they are able to demonstrate certain skills by the end, they may take vows and carry on. In Japan, this kind of training is traditionally done in a 60-day intensive period on Mt. Hiei. The program is designed to prepare someone with a background in the Buddhist teachings to run a village temple. From there, a priest's training will vary depending on his or her teacher's instructions and other factors.

At the Tendai Buddhist Institute, this traditional curriculum has been broken up into ten-day segments, so you might accomplish your 60 days of basic training over six or more summers, with other kinds of work in between. This is helpful for our circumstances for logistical reasons, of course, but also for pedagogic reasons. In North America, most convert Buddhists have less experience with Buddhist teachings and temple practices than members of Japanese temple families. So we have more learning to do.

Yes, application to this training program is available to qualified applicants from the Great River sangha. Interested parties should discuss this with me privately.

My title is "doshu." This summer, I will be attending my fourth ten-day gyo. It is a challenging program, and I am humbled to be invited back to participate each year. You can find out more about what these words mean and about the day-to-day details of the program here.

07 June 2011

Celestial Drum Tendai Buddhist Sangha

Celestial Drum Sangha practices in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. You can stay informed of their activities here at their blog.

Dai Chi, a sangha member, keeps a blog called Mountain Practice that is also worth your time and attention.

06 June 2011

Contemplation: The Objective Realm of the Buddha

After reading the guidelines for practice, take this as your object of meditation:

How can there be any dharma [thing] distinct from the Buddha? [There cannot.] All of the hundred realms and thousand suchnesses are the objective realm of the Buddha.

Great Master Chih-i, quoted in Foundations of T'ien-T'ai Philosophy by Paul L. Swanson, p. 134

05 June 2011

Event: Warm-Up Walk and Potluck Lunch

One of my favorite practices at the Tendai Buddhist Institute is called "kokorodo." It means "the path of the heart." It is a practice undertaken outdoors, in a group but also in a contemplative mode: we walk purposefully (not whimsically or without focus) in single file in the woods and along the hills, mindful of our neighbors and our situation in place, while reciting certain prayers and mantra. This practice engages body, speech, and mind in a coordinated way, and it draws the sangha together in harmony.

It is my intention to engage our sangha in the practice of kokorodo this summer. To prepare, I invite everyone to participate in what I am calling a Warm-Up Walk. This is an opportunity to learn how this practice feels, to get to know your body a bit better, and to get to know each other better too. Afterward, we will meet at my place in Fairfax city for a potluck. So, to the details:

On Saturday, July 16, meet at Jikan's home by 10:00 am, rain or shine. Bring with you clothing appropriate for the weather and the practice (athletic shoes or sturdy walkers, and nothing with text or designs printed or sewn on, just plain colors). Also bring some meatless food or drink to share for the potluck after. We will then caravan to a nearby park, where I will instruct the group in how to carry on this practice, and we will get to work at it. We should make it to our back patio for food and conversation by noon.

If you are interested in joining in, please contact Heather at heather_d_s_anderson at yahoo.com (replace "at" with "@", of course). She will give you directions to our home. You can also join in at our meetup page.

I look forward to seeing you there!