What we practice

Each moment is all beings, each moment is the entire world. Reflect now whether any being or any world is left out of the present moment. 

Zen Master Dogen

Meditation. Contemplative practice is a way to nurture our own inner capacity for social action. It waters the root of inner wisdom that makes action fruitful. We learn that silence and solitude reveal a deep sense of solidarity with all things. In this way we learn the Bodhisattva’s path of participating joyfully in the sorrows of the world.

Sangha. Spiritual community acknowledges the truth that we don’t awaken alone. Whether we sit face to face in our local sangha or around the world in a virtual community, we aim to support each other in our commitment to not-knowing, bearing witness, and healing action.

Study and Training. Studying together and training in the Zen forms are necessary parts of cultivating a world view that is all inclusive. Training creates a stable practice that teaches us to show up wholeheartedly, ethically, and grounded for all beings. We will support study and training groups for people exploring Zen and Buddhism as well as for longer-term practitioners training as Zen priests and teachers.

Bearing Witness. Like studying a koan, plunging into unfamiliar settings jars us out of our usual way of seeing things, revealing our limiting fixed ideas about why things are the way they are. In practicing don’t-know mind and becoming intimate with an unfamiliar situation or group of people, we are changed and a caring response naturally arises out of our relationships. We plunge into communities in poverty or affected by addiction, fragile natural environments, and other places that are abandoned or exist in the margins of our society and on the periphery of our own awareness.

Naturally Arising Social Actions. Once we connect with others and become intimate with all of the aspects of their situation and make them our own, there is no leaving others behind. Their presence in our lives shifts how we see the world and leads us to respond appropriately. Out of our relationships with people and places, we will engage in activities that relieve suffering. We can’t anticipate what those are in advance and we are not imposing a plan of action on people. Instead, as one body, we co-create a response to suffering. The possibilities are limitless and rely on each person’s unique interests, gifts, talents, and abilities to serve.

Ceremony and ritual. Spirituality is naturally imaginative, and creativity allows us to point to truths about our lives that ordinary language cannot capture.  Ritual and ceremony are ways for us to make the invisible connections among us visible. Ritual teaches us to move as one body as we bow, chant, or walk together, which becomes a metaphor for the oneness, diversity, and harmony of life. We also use ceremony to call out our best and truest selves. Zen liturgies help us enact Buddhahood, our basic goodness, and calls on the vast lineage of ancestors and spiritual friends to support us in our practice.

Engaged Generosity is more than just making a donation. We are always in an engaged exchange with one another. In addition to service projects, given Joshin’s experience in engaged philanthropy, we will offer to create circles of donors who are interested in learning deeply about issues, plunging into the situations they want to support, and studying about a Buddhist approach to the practice of generosity.