"You don't have to be a monk to train like a monk, but you have to train like a monk."
A Course In Living Spiritually - Ango 2021-2022 - Formal Zen Training Program
Jizo-an Zen Community is a diverse community of Contemplative Monks and Lay-Persons, founded in 1985 by our brother, the Abbot Seijaku Roshi. Inspired by a monastic tradition reaching back centuries, and supported by men and women from all walks of life; shaped by the teachings of the Buddha-dharma, the Mystical Torah, the Rule of Saint Benedict, and the Gospels.
We hope to live the teachings of Loving-kindness, Compassion, and Benevolent Service together. Seeking to help create an "Enlightened Society," we hope that we will in some measure, foster the healing and reconciliation of the whole human family.
We offer both traditional and innovative ways to nurture and engage Authentic Spirituality through our public programs and retreats. All are welcome, and to join us in our celebrations of common prayer, meditation, and learning. Our Zendo, or Meditation Hall, and grounds, afford an atmosphere in which quiet reflection and prayer are accessible to all.
A Course in Living Spiritually - Ango 2021-2022, (a Livestream Online Zendo Course), offers the opportunity to experience the Monastery's cloister - a dynamic integrated spiritual community and a place to encounter your own inner silence, wisdom, and compassion.
In practicing Buddha-dharma we turn inwards and find the calm and clear understanding that is within each of us. We turn outwards to offer lovingkindness, patience, compassion, and benevolent service to every being. We welcome every person seeking refuge in the ancient teachings of wisdom and compassion to practice with our Community and Sangha.
If you are black or brown, white or any other race or color, you are welcome here. If you’re Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, Native American, or any other nationality or ethnicity, you are welcome here. If you’re Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Pagan, Wiccan, Atheist, or other, you are welcome here. If you’re a citizen or a resident, documented or undocumented, a refugee, you are welcome here. You are welcome if you’re liberal, conservative, or apolitical. You’re welcome if you’re gay or straight, bisexual, trans, queer or undefined. You’re welcome if you’re cis gender or gender non-conforming. If you’re rich or poor, big or small. If you’re sixteen, thirty-five, sixty-five or eighty, you are welcome here. People of all abilities are welcome. Please talk to us if you need accommodation. When we see expressions of bigotry, hatred, oppression and ill-will in our own minds and interpersonally—both in our community and in the world—we vow, as individuals and as a sangha, to respond with skillful and loving thoughts, words, and actions, in order to put an end to the suffering caused by them. May we, together, alleviate the fear, hatred, selfishness and delusion in our world.
In these current times of COVID19, many people will feel anxiety and uncertainty about the present and the future, and may express that in both inspiring and troubling ways. As “spiritual beings immersed in a human experience”, we can learn to use our circumstances to take refuge in the Teachings, drawing on our trust in the Dharma, our Faith, and the essential desire in each of us for happiness and well-being for ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and all sentient beings. As each of us gives our voice to the profound blessings of life, we come together through space and time, united by our shared intention. “All for One - One For All.” We Truly Are More Together Than Alone!
About - A Course in Living Spiritually - Ango 2021-2022 - Authentic Zen Training Program
Since ancient times, monasteries have been places where seekers could delve into the deepest questions of life and death, and discover their inherent capacity to meet life’s daily challenges with all victorious mastery. Jizo-an continues to offer practitioners from all walks of life, religious affiliations, philosophies, or just curiosity, a place of refuge, a conducive environment, from a culture of distraction and a way to become immersed in Zen teachings, practice, and training.
Beginning Wednesday Evening September 2, 2021 we will launch another opportunity for lay persons to join The Monks of Jizo-an in serious self-inquiry, learning, and an opportunity to receive personal guidance in private mentorships with a teacher, and draw from the tremendous strength of people practicing and training together and experience the deep stillness that lies within each one of us.
The following outlines the foundation which forms the basis of training as well as a tangible way to take up the whole of our lives as a path of spiritual practice, revealing that while we are engaged in a busy life in the world, raising a family, going to work, or getting a degree, all aspects of our being are vital to our study, our growth, and practice of the path.
Foundations for Zen-Training
Shikantaza (Zen Meditation)
Meditation is the cornerstone of Zen training. Shikantaza—which derives from the Japanese—meaning “Just Sitting”. In its beginning stages, meditation is a practice of concentration, with a focus on following the breath. More than just meditation, however, Shikantaza is a powerful tool of self-inquiry, boundless in its ability to reveal the true basis of reality. Through Shikantaza, we realize the unity of the self with the ten thousand things, which has the potential to transform our lives and those of others.
“After hearing the dharma and becoming familiar with it through contemplation and meditation, we are able to take compassion as the basis of our daily activity.” Contemplation is sometimes considered as the opposite side of one-hand. It is, “The action of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time,” “Deep reflective thought.”
Each day the Monk and Lay-person puts aside time to both contemplate their thoughts, their words, and their actions, and meditate, in an effort to understand better both the cause of their discontentment as well as the solution toward cessation from their suffering.
Study With A Personal Mentor and Teacher
Personal and private study with a teacher, and/or mentor is pivotal to training. Although fundamentally, the work toward true self discovery rests solely upon the student's efforts and devotion, the personal mentor and the teacher are indispensable in helping students navigate the difficulties we encounter along the way, directly pointing to our original perfection. In Dokusan, eventually held between the student and the Roshi, and in regular private interviews with a personal Mentor, students deal with the questions and insights that emerge out of their application of the tools and techniques they work with at home and at the Monastery.
The 1st Patriarch of Zen, Bodhidharma, said that Zen does not rely on words and letters. However, most Western Zen practitioners are not familiar with the historical, philosophical and psychological underpinnings of the tradition, so Zen Studies is critical to establishing a sound religious or spiritual practice. Though words have often been referred to in Zen folklore as only, “The finger pointing at the moon,” when used skillfully, they can act as a medium for direct realization.
While Zen has no dogma or religious doctrines held up to believe in, in this way it provides an inclusive and conducive environment for anyone to participate. The practice of Liturgy in Zen is believed to bridge the unseen with the visible world, bringing into awareness the shared experience of a group. Unique to Jizo-an Zen Community, the founder Seijaku Roshi emphasized the need for diversity and inclusiveness. In theistic religions, liturgy reaffirms our relationship with God; in Zen, by contrast, considered non-theistic by many practitioners, its emphasis is on realizing our Buddha nature, or the nature of the true-self. All of Zen’s rituals point to the intimacy between the self and the ten thousand things, between the unseen and the visible world. Seijaku Roshi has said, “The divine is human, and the human is divine. The work of any Authentic Spiritual practice is to fully realize this and actualize it in our daily living.”
Virtuous Action (Right Action) is the study and practice of the Buddhist Precepts, the moral and ethical teachings of the Buddha. Though the Precepts are based on the experience of no-self, they are designed to function in the world of differences. Thus they define how a Buddha lives in the world. Unique to Jizo-an and its diversity of teachers and lay practitioners, in addition to the Buddhist Precepts students also are introduced to the Gospels, the teachings of the Torah, and St. Benedict — with a Zen Mind.
Work Practice (Samu)
Work Practice is a reminder that our spiritual practice must move off the cushion and translate into the sacred activity of living and working in the world in the spirit of Benevolent Service. Formal work practice gives us the opportunity to explore labor that is nourishing to ourselves and others, and beneficial to the world. Starting with simple, repetitive tasks, and gradually increasing their complexity, we learn to see how our minds respond to the task at hand. We develop a spirit of caretaker-ship and enter into relationship with others as well as with the whole of Nature.
Membership at The Benefactor/Benefactor Household Level
Annual: $1200.00 Individual. $1800.00 (Household) including a Spouse/Partner
or Monthly: $100.00 Individual. $150.00 (Household) including Spouse/Partner
Membership at The Benefactor/Benefactor Level includes access to all program offerings including all Livestream Online Zendo Programs, Mentorship with a Senior Monk or Lay-Monk, Newsletters, and (in the event the COVID19 quarantine is lifted all meals and lodging at the Monastery during retreats are included) — at no additional cost.
Please don’t let financial issues prevent you from entering this program or attending any of the programs at the Monastery. If you can’t afford a program fee, there are options. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss available Work Assistance Scholarships.
Payment may be made by check Payable to: The Zen Society , or by Credit Card by clicking the link below.
Please complete your application by clicking the appropriate link below, printing the application, and following the instructions provided on the application. Pease return the application and, if paying by check return your payment with the application ASAP