Tag Archives: Bowing

331

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

332

10 Aug

THOUGHTS : TASSAJARA

So now that I have been accepted to the work program at Tassajara I am filled with emotions. Surprise, surprise right?!  I would classify this emotional cocktail mix as excitement vs anxiety. When I got the call Saturday morning that I was accepted, the woman made sure to clarify that this was work and not a vacation. She was worried I wasn’t aware of how much manual labor it involved. I assured her I was totally aware and prepared.

After the conversation ended I hung up and thought…”Oh Shit, Kate…what did you get yourself into?” It made me think back to when I was applying for the program and I read my mother the list of possible responsibilities. They include…

Carpentry

Repairs

Plumbing

Electrical

Gardening

Painting

Cooking

Cabin preparation

and general maintenance work for the  community.

To which she said…”I don’t hear anything that you can do?”

Clearly, my own mother thinks I am screwed.

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“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”
Sara Henderson

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336

6 Aug

TASSAJARA

I got accepted to the Tassajara work program! I was starting to get a little worried because I sent my application in ages ago and still hadn’t heard anything. But, I got a call this morning that I was in! Yeah! I can’t believe I am actually doing it. I can feel a silly little joyful grin start to move across my face again…

My Tassajara schedule

5:00am Informal Zazen

5:20 Wake-up Bell

5:50 Zazen (with 5 min. interval)

6:50 Morning Service

7:15 Soji (Temple Cleaning)

7:30 Breakfast

8:30 Work meeting

11:50 Noon Service – optional

11:55 End work

12:00pm Lunch

1:00 Work meeting

4:30 End work

4:30-5:45 Silent Student Bath Time

5:00 Informal Zazen

5:50 Evening Service

6:00 Dinner

7:45 Informal Zazen

8:40 Zazen

9:20 Three Refuges

10:30 Firewatch

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“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

Buddha