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11 Aug

SLIGHTLY OBSESSED : TASSAJARA

When I got home last night I opened the door to find a letter from Tassajara! I ripped it open with excitement and out dropped a pamphlet titled “Pure Standards ( guidelines of Conduct ) for Zen Training”

Here are some highlights…

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EMBRACING AND SUSTAINING ZENDO ATTENDANCE AND DECORUM

• Please make a commitment to completely follow the zendo (meditation hall) schedule at 5:20 am & 8:50 pm. This means attending morning and evening zazen, morning and evening service, soji (pre-breakfast temple cleaning), lectures, and all special ceremonies.

• Muffle sounds such as coughing, sneezing, blowing the nose, yawning, or clearing the throat.

• Wear clean clothes to the zendo and be sure that your face, hands and feet are clean. Appropriate zendo clothing is neutral and subdued in color, and extends beyond the shoulders and below the knees.

• If you have long hair, tie it back and wear it off the neck.

• Refrain from wearing scented lotions or perfume, jewelry, watches, or mala beads in the zendo.

EMBRACING AND SUSTAINING THE PRACTICE OF SILENCE

• Observe silence from evening zazen through the breakfast silent period the following day.

• Observe the period of silence at breakfast and lunch after the meal chant, ending at the double hit of the clackers.

• Observe silence in and around the zendo, in the bathhouse during residents’ silent bathing time  (4:30 – 5:45 p.m.), and at the back door snack area in the kitchen.

• Refrain from singing, humming, or whistling within Tassajara; do not call to others from a distance.

EMBRACING AND SUSTAINING THE PRACTICE OF BOWING

• Stop and bow in gassho (with palms joined) when passing other practitioners outside (not in the courtyard, the bathhouse, on the zendo walkway, or in other enclosed spaces).

• Stop and bow to the toilet altar when entering and leaving toilets.

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Sweet baby Jesus! 3 hours a day meditating! Oy is all I have to say…oy. I’m barely up to 5 minutes and it’s infrequent…like once a week and for 5 minutes, not to mention I spend a lot of time thinking about what I need at the grocery store. I think I am going to need to up my game a bit this next month to prepare. So tonight my mother and I will be going to a meditation workshop. You would move fast  too if this was a month away.

The other part of the pamphlet that stood out to me was this whole “bowing to the toilet altar” thing. I am definitely going to need more information on that one

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“If you want to find God, hang out in the space between your thoughts.”

 Alan Cohen

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