Bay Area Practice Period

Everyday Zen

Fall 2020 Practice Period

 Everyday Zen's 16th Annual Practice Period will be held this fall from September 23rd through December 2nd with all events on Zoom. This means that, wherever you are, we're all equally near- and long-distance participants!

Dates and Features

All events on Zoom

  • The Practice Period will open on Wednesday September 23rd from 4:00 – 6:00 pm (Pacific Time), broadcast from Norman's zendo in Muir Beach. It will take the place of dharma seminar.

  • Dharma seminars will be held as usual every Wednesday starting at 7:00 pm (Pacific Time), except for the Wednesdays of the opening and closing ceremonies.

  • All-Day Sittings are on Saturdays September 26th and November 28th. Separate email invites with Zoom links will be sent for each All Day Sit the week before they happen.

  • Sesshin will run from Monday, October 26th through Saturday, October 31st. You will receive a separate email in early October to register for sesshin. 

  • The Dharma Inquiry (Shuso Hossen) ceremony and Practice Period closing will take place on Wednesday, December 2nd from 4:00 – 6:00 pm (Pacific Time). It will take the place of dharma seminar.

  • IN ADDITION, several Everyday Zen senior students and teachers are offering a variety of events, including study groups and daily sittings, that you're welcome to attend. Further details and schedules will be provided after registration closes.

Registration and Donations

Only two events require advance registration: the Practice Period itself and sesshin.

For Practice Period registration, complete and submit the application linked to below:

The application deadline is Sept 15th. If you missed the deadline you can still join the Practice Period by submitting an application by Sept 26, the day of our first All-Day Sit. But people submitting applications after the deadline will not be assigned Practice Period partners or Practice Leaders.

Suggested donation for the Practice Period is $100.

Sesshin registration will open on October 10th. Watch for an email announcement that day with a link to the application form. Suggested donation is $100. Sesshin application deadline is Oct 19th.

Making a donation: To donate online and for information on donating by sending a check, visit the EDZ donation page and donate to the General Fund:

All other events, including sittings and seminars, are by donation and you will receive email in advance with the Zoom links. When you access events offered by our affiliated groups, your donations should go directly to those teachers or groups.

The Shuso

Each year for Practice Period a senior practitioner from the sangha serves as Shuso (head monk). The Shuso offers inspiration, guidance, and a central point of connection for the Practice Period. This year, as we gather online, the Shuso's function as connector and focal point will be more important than ever.

I am pleased that our Shuso this Fall is Christopher Dumbleton (Dharma name: Boku Sei Dai Jo, Simple Sincerity, Great Forgiveness) who has practiced with the Everyday Zen sangha since 2004, after more than a decade of practice in the Vipassana tradition. A retired builder with a long career working for Habitat for Humanity, Christopher is one of the kindest and most heartfelt people you will ever meet. I know we'll all appreciate his gentle guidance during these months.

Zen Practice Periods include two important ceremonies for the Shuso: the opening ceremony to install the Shuso; and the closing Dharma Inquiry (Shuso Hossen) ceremony during which the Shuso responds to questions from Practice Period participants. These ceremonies bookend the Practice Period in a beautiful way.

Theme

Our theme for this Practice Period is The World of the Lotus Sutra. The Lotus Sutra, a traditional Mahayana Buddhist text, much loved especially in China and Japan, and foundational to Dogen's Zen, will be our main text, to be discussed in seminars and sittings.

The sutra is full of imaginative parables and legends to open the heart and mind and expand our sense of what practice is — and could be. We have studied this text before (like all great works of religious literature it bears going back to again and again) and have loved it. Studying it with the increased focus of Practice Period will be a joy.

Commitment

Since this year's Practice Period is so experimental, we're not exactly sure what to expect. If you plan to join, we ask that you consider attending the opening and closing ceremonies, several sittings each week, the weekly dharma seminar, the monthly all-day sittings on September 26 and November 28, and any other events you can. We encourage you to attend sesshin and also recognize this might not be possible for everyone.

Of course, "events" do not constitute the Practice Period, they only structure it. What happens in your body and mind as you live the days, weeks, and months of the Practice Period is what's important.

Practice Conversations and Meetings

Each person in the Practice Period will be assigned a practice partner (sangha partners) to check in with on a regular basis and discuss how their practice is going.

In addition, you have the option to request phone or video meetings with a practice leader — an Everyday Zen teacher or senior student — to discuss your practice. You may request this on your application. 

Additional Practice Period Events

Because we'll be using Zoom this year, Practice Period participants will be able to attend additional events, including daily morning and evening sittings, check-in groups, guided meditations, study groups, and Shuso teas. After you register and before the Practice Period opens, you'll be sent a complete list of events, with Zoom links. Please remember that when you access these events your donations should go directly to those teachers or groups.

If you have any questions about the Practice Period, please send a message to: practiceperiod@everydayzen.org

Thanks for joining us.