We all are concerned and sometimes stressed by the pace of change and pressures of relationships, work and finances. We seek ways to restore our basic sanity where we are in touch with deeper feelings, meaning and purpose. Zen Garland is not modeled on the monastery, an escape from life, but is founded to meet the severe discipline of daily life — handling responsibilities and commitments, paying bills, being in relationship, raising children. Our training place is the world and daily life, not a refuge from it. Our approach is to practice with all aspects of our lives, including the complex dimensions of our emotions, thinking structure, beliefs, and behavioral patterns.
The Zen Garland Teachers and community are committed to the spiritual transformation of individuals, families and communities. Zen Garland is open to people drawn to a holistic and personal way of spiritual development, and to an engaged spirituality that actively works for social justice.
Japanese Zen has had a tendency toward a very hard edge from the influence of the bushido code of the samurai. To balance this at Zen Garland, we actively cultivate the “feminine” in our practice and in images that embody compassion — Avalokiteshevara, Quan-yin, Tara. This is not a gender issue, but an invitation to males and females to nurture both assertive and receptive character strengths.
Practice at Zen Garland combines the traditional rigor necessary to penetrate through restlessness, habit, boredom, delusion, anger and fear with openness, sensitivity, relationship, compassion and care. This balance is necessary to realize and embody the unity and interconnectedness of reality (complete enlightenment, anuttara samyak sambodhi, Treasury of the True Eye of the Dharma, Shobogenzo).
The practices at Zen Garland shared by everyone are the 6 Core Practices:
- the practice of zazen;
- the practice of private dialogue with a Zen Teacher (dokusan);
- the practice of Zen koans, Sutra and text study;
- the practice of embodiment;
- the practice of emotional well being through Focusing;
- the practice of service as a way of being, based on the Zen Garland Vows.
Our annual practice calendar includes daily Zen meditation periods during which our teachers provide interviews (dokusan), weekly classes, special workshops, a monthly Weekend or Week-long Retreat (sesshin), and 2 three-month Intensive Training Periods each year, called Ango.
For further information on practice at Zen Garland, please see the drop down menu under “Zen Training.”