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Fall Practice Period 2012

Main altar at the EHZC (see EHZC Still Life) showing commitment pledges (tied with red ribbon) from Fall Practice Period participants. The Practice period has its roots in the "rains retreat" during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha in India, when monks gathered together to intensify their meditation and study under the guidance of their teacher. The commitment pledges spell out the degree to which the student will intensify his/her meditation practice at home and at the zendo and increase the frequency of meetings (dokusan) with the teacher. My pledge paper is somewhere in that stack.

I was given the responsibility of shuso, or head student, during this practice period, and, as a result, I have been sitting a lot during the last three weeks. As shuso, my meditation cushion has been moved to the front of the zendo next to the altar and I look out on all the sangha members - as they do at me. The view from my cushion, which I have spent many hours appreciating, is shown below. Dharma gate of joy and ease (go here for a translation of Dogen's Fukanzazengi, or Rules of Zazen). [NOTE: Small red circle indicates the spot where my soft gaze invariably lands].  

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