Invitation to Become a Formal Student at the Village Zendo
The Village Zendo’s next student initiation (“Tangaryo”) will be held Friday, November 9, 2018. Read more about becoming a formal student at the Village Zendo, or e-mail Sensei Randall Ryotan Eiger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why Become A Formal Student?
You should become a Formal Student at the Village Zendo if you wish to make an ongoing commitment to Zen training and to enter into a formal teacher/student relationship with Enkyo Roshi and the VZ teaching staff. You do not need to become a Formal Student in order work with Roshi and the VZ teachers. You can do this on an informal basis by becoming a Member of the Village Zendo.
Becoming A Formal Student at The Village Zendo
Since the beginning of Zen in China more than 1,500 years ago, entering formally into training under the guidance of a teacher has been the traditional path for seekers of the Way. In today’s world of spiritual marketing and religious quick-fixes, the need for skilled guidance through many years of one’s training is as great as ever.
One of the requirements for becoming a Formal Student of Roshi and the VZ teaching staff is “Tangaryo,” or all-day sitting. This custom dates to the earliest days of Zen when those wishing to enter into training would sit for long periods of time in order to demonstrate the sincerity of their aspiration. Tanga is a Japanese term meaning “staying until the morning.” It refers to the overnight stay in a Zen monastery of a wandering monk on pilgrimage. The room set aside for this purpose was known as the tangaryo.
At the Village Zendo we have continued this tradition. After discussing their wish to become a student with Roshi, student candidates devote a day to Tangaryo. The day begins with zazen that continues until mid-afternoon. The zazen is unstructured—no bells ring to mark the end of the period and there is no kinhin. Candidates may take short breaks, if needed, to go to the bathroom or refresh themselves for further sitting.
In the middle of the afternoon, Tangaryo ends and, shortly afterwards, the new students exchange bows and sit down to tea with Roshi who greets them on behalf of the Village Zendo teaching staff. It is customary at this time to present Roshi with a small monetary donation—there is no minimum or maximum amount required. Roshi has asked that, due to the limited space in her apartment, students refrain from giving her gifts.
With the conclusion of this ceremony, student initiation is complete and the new student is invited to participate in a short Student Entry ceremony on the day following Tangaryo.
7:30 – 12:00 zazen
12:00 – 1:00 lunch
1:00 – 3:30 zazen
3:30 – 3:45 break
3:45 – 5:00 ceremony followed by tea with Roshi