Other Activities - Dharma Discussions, Public Talks, Residential Training, Volunteering
Since most of us practicing Zen in the U.S. weren't born Indian, Chinese, Japanese, or Buddhist, we haven't naturally absorbed Buddhist concepts from being steeped in a Buddhist culture. Westerners generally have little context with which to appreciate the Buddhadharma. Dharma discussions are held to better understand fundamental Buddhist ideas and to encourage greater intimacy with our own Self-nature through listening and sharing direct, personal experience in a safe, nonjudgmental setting.
The evening begins with zazen. During tea we lay the groundwork for the discussion by hearing a recorded Zen commentary. Because the commentary functions as a launching point for discussion, we forego the usual teisho-listening formalities. Here's the usual schedule:
6:00 - 6:30 - Arrival at Heart of Perfect Wisdom Zendo (HPWZ) & informal sitting (optional)
6:30 - 7:20 - Zazen with posture change
7:20 - 8:20 - Tea & Zen commentary
8:20 - 9:00 - Discussion
Upcoming Dharma Discussion: Why have rituals and devotions?, Tuesday, January 22, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at HPWZ
Why do we take our shoes off? What is the point of bowing, prostrations, and chanting? Why all this stuff on the altar? Why even have an altar? What does all of this have to do with my Zen practice anyway? Let's discuss it!
Upcoming Dharma Discussion: Rituals & Devotions, Part 2, Bodhisattvas: What is the significannce of Kannon? Tuesday, February 19, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at HPWZ
What are bodhisattvas? Why do we have them in Zen? Does Kannon Bodhisattva really help those who call out to him/her? Can Kannon really grant my wishes? Perform miracles? How do we reconcile Zen's emphasis on "self power" with a faith in "other power" inherent in performing devotions to Buddhas and bodhisattvas?
Upcoming Dharma Discussion: Subject To Be Determined, Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at HPWZ
A representative from the Center is available to give a public talk on Zen Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness, or to conduct the Introduction to Zen Meditation workshop at your school, church, club, work place, etc.
Residential Zen Training
Louisville Zen Center sangha may participate in residential training at Rochester Zen Center (RZC). Under the guidance of Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede and his senior students, residential training is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the disciplined atmosphere of Zen training - which includes meditation, group and individual instructions as well as other guidance, Zen talks, chanting, and work practice - for a shorter or longer period of time.
Louisville Zen Center operates as much as possible on the Buddhist principle of dana (or giving). The organization is run entirely by volunteers. Our Group Leader, zendo monitors, Board of Directors, and other workers and advisors, both at home and abroad, freely give their services to Louisville Zen Center. Volunteering is a great way to contribute to the functioning of the Center, refine one's meditation practice, and feel more connected to the sangha (community).
Some jobs, like bringing a reading or treats to share during tea, organizing social events, and suggesting Dharma films or Rochester Zen Center teishos (or subject matter for teisho) can be done by anyone in the sangha. Other volunteer opportunities, like zendo work practice, promote greater familiarity with Louisville Zen Center forms and customs while encouraging a thorough-going solidity in one's own meditation practice.
Louisville Zen Center