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.

No comments:

Post a Comment