Ango, or practice period, is an opportunity to focus a bit more intensively on our practice and perhaps to make a commitment to ourselves to stretch a little -- to sit a little more, attend a little more frequently, learn something new or take on a particular activity. We invite you to consider how you might deepen your practice during this time.
Ango at Sanshin is designed to include the three activities of our practice: zazen, work and study. This three-month period includes sesshin, genzo-e, a workshop, the precepts retreat and several work days in addition to our regular weekly practice.
During ango we have the additional leadership of a shuso, or head novice, who takes on various responsibilities in the sangha as an opportunity to develop clergy skills. Our shuso for this ango is Shinko Hagn. His theme for the ango is Four Embracing Actions. He will be supporting our practice and we will be supporting his growth as a leader. Shinko will be giving a series of nine Sunday talks, serving as doshi for monthly World Peace ceremonies, serving as ino for monthly ryaku fusatsu ceremonies, assisting with sesshin and retreats, and serving the sangha in myriad other ways while he's in residence here. In June, we will recognize the coming completion of his term as shuso with two ceremonies in which he will demonstrate his dharma mastery to the sangha and his readiness to teach and serve independently.
The case: Dizang's "Nearness"
April 3: Ango begins
May 3 - 8: Virtual Genzo-e (Bussho III)
May 30 - June 4: Sesshin
June 17: Honsoku gyocha (formal tea and explanation of the case by Konjin Godwin, director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center)
June 18: Shuso hossen (shuso answers questions on the case)
June 24 - 25: Sanshin anniversary and leadership transition activities
July 4 - 9: Precepts retreat, ending with lay precepts ceremony
July 9: Ango ends
Shinko's Sunday talks
Shinko says: My lectures will have as their general theme the fascicle Shishobo (four embracing actions) from the Shobogenzo. This topic is so important to me and many others in our sangha that Sanshin Network teachers are at work on a whole book of reflections on it in response to an opening chapter by Okumura Roshi. However, it will be more like a cloud hovering over my lectures, because I am mainly focused on how we realize these four embracing actions, especially in our daily lives. To understand the four embracing actions we should ask ourselves: How does our being come into being, how are the ingredients for what we call our being mixed together and how can we practice to recognize and transform them so that we realize Okumura Roshi's formula 1=0=∞ in our everyday lives? I will talk a lot about my own practice and especially how much my pastoral work, mainly in prisons, helps me. Kodo Sawaki said, "Separated from daily life, Buddhism is a dead thing. All aspects of your life must be the Buddha Way."
Sangha participation with residents
Those living in Bloomington are invited and encouraged to join residential practitioners in their daily schedule of zazen, work and study during the ango (see below). If you wish to join the residents for a meal, please plan to bring your own food unless you've made prior arrangements with the tenzo for that day.