Awake-in-Life: Zen & Crafting a Life Fully Lived

8 or 9-months Practice Program for House-holders beginning January 2017.

We invite you to participate in a program which emphasizes practices geared especially for those who live and work outside of temple or monastic settings! This program will give you the container in which to frame how you can live fully, manifesting and sharing what’s important to you with your loved ones, your community, and the planet.

How it’s geared for you

Currently, most United States practice programs have generally emphasized meditation to practitioners. This may be due to how Zen has been promoted in Western convert practice settings. It’s been a very useful way. Yet, now, with the maturing of practices in the US, it’s time to reclaim how the laity — called “house-holders” in the Buddha’s time — was a large and important aspect of Buddhism and Buddhist practices.

Therefore, the revitalizing of this term for the laity is fitting in our current times as we seek to make accessible the teachings and practices which traditionally have been offered first and foremost to ALL practitioners: studies and engagement with the precepts.

Awake-in-Life Mission

The program’s name both reflects the layering of our conditioning and the focus of the Program’s Path. First, the name shows how we may typically think the Program can help us to “awake in life”—and, therefore, that somehow we need to “awake” into a “different” or a “better” life.

Zen is a Mahayana path; hence, “awake-in”—we are already whole and complete; fully Awake-in-our-Life-already. Therefore, this program’s focus is to help you to know this truth; this is the “Awakening”— “Awake-in” reflects the Bodhisattva Ideal: may each of us know our awake-in-ness; and may we know this in everyone, also.

We are pleased to make the studies of the precepts / values-enactments more accessible with the Awake-in-Life Program by offering 2-tracks: Engaged-Studies or Jukai (Lay Initiation/Ordination Ceremony). Each will have different requirements and sliding donations and costs.

The idea for the 2-tracks came about because I realized that instead of just talking about how the studies/engagement with the Precepts is core to Buddhist practices, I needed to make it accessible to everyone. Thru engagement with many of you in the past, I realized that I was stuck in the mind frame of precepts-studies as just being for people who wanted to take the Lay Vows (“Jukai” in the Soto Zen tradition)! It was in a recent Q&A after a Dharma talk that I realized that while it’s true that “studying the precepts” is different than “studying the precepts with a teacher”, why does it have to be just the latter? This is how I had been conditioned and had followed this without questioning.

Now, having lead groups through the process, I know studying and engaging with the Precepts has so much potential for healing and transformation so want it to be available to everyone!

The main differences in the two tracks of Awake Program are:

  • Jukai (Vowing Ceremony) Track (9-ish months)
    • Engaging with the Soto Zen 16 Bodhisattva Precepts as a study; thru Dharma talks, readings, reflections and discussion.
    • Apply it as a reflective or an awareness/mindfulness practice monthly.
    • Committing to having a home meditation/zazen practice, several 1-days, and an extended, multi-day silent retreat/sesshin.
    • Engagement with Rev. Liên as your main teacher; including monthly Practice Discussions (PDs)
    • Committing to the Access To Zen Sangha on a weekly basis
    • Sewing a rakusu: which involves dana/costs and time
    • Jukai Ceremony
  • Engaged-Studies Track (8 months)
    • Engaging with the Soto Zen 16 Bodhisattva Precepts as a study; thru Dharma talks, readings, reflections and discussion.
    • Apply it as a reflective or an awareness/mindfulness practice monthly.
    • Willingness to have a home meditation/zazen practice and several 1-day’s. An extended, multi-day silent retreat/sesshin is not required; though encouraged.
    • Committing to the Access To Zen sitting group or another sangha on a regular basis.

This is the main details of the Awake-in-Life: Zen & Crafting a Life Fully Lived Program.

This program is now formed and in session for 2017. Check back to this site for its offering in 2018 or go HERE for other individual or group support. Thank you for your interest.