It’s that time of year again, when our thoughts turn not only to summer’s pleasures, but also to the possibility of deepening our concentration, our compassion and wisdom, through our Zen practice. Summer ango is approaching! This year, as in the past thirty years, we’ll all take time to intensify and appreciate what our practice gives us. This year, our summer ango runs from July 22 to August 21. Whether you are in residence at the Grail or practicing at 588 Broadway, or in some other location, you have the opportunity to engage in vital Zen practice and study.
This is in accord with the traditional Zen seasonal retreat called “ango” or peaceful dwelling. Our Village Zendo Summer Ango is conducted both as a residential retreat at The Grail and also in the city, in the midst of our ordinary daily lives. For thirty-one days we personally commit to more zazen, study, and other practices such as clear awareness of our interaction with others and attentiveness to the precepts.
This year we are studying Dogen’s essay “Everyday Activity”: Kajo. I attach Kazuaki Tanahashi’s translation below. Dogen encourages us to drop our notions of separating the holy, the sublime, from the ordinary, the real. Instead, he teaches us to recognize our lives as extraordinary, and to express that realization in our every gesture.
One person is asked to serve as Shuso, or practice leader, someone to show up as our model of sincere practice. This year’s shuso is Ayn Yujin Steele, who has written a letter and a commitment form to help us articulate our aims for this period of time. It is very helpful to fill our your commitment form and share it with one of the teachers. Please join Yujin and the whole community in exploring this active way to energize our practice!
Also, it can be very helpful to share your commitment form with each other and one of the teachers. Please take this opportunity to invite rigor and joy into your summer practice period,
Thank you for your practice,
More info: the Summer Ango Retreat 2016 page.