I am a Soto Zen priest and teacher. I worked at the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School for many years, and have now retired to full-time Zen teaching and residency at Boundless Way Temple in Worcester, MA. www.worcesterzen.org, www.melissablacker.com
Our annual Coming and Going Sesshin is inspired by the ancient Buddhist practice of 'Ango' (peaceful dwelling place.) During the rainy season, the Buddha's early sangha gathered together for study and practice for three months. Here at the Temple, we have hosted an intensive three-week practice period since 2013. While some of us can stay for the whole three weeks, this is not always possible. So, during the Coming and Going Sesshin, everyone is invited to find a practice and time that works for you. You can come for a few minutes, one practice period, part of a day or a whole day, or any number of days that feels right for you.
Our invitation to the whole Boundless Way community is to use these three weeks to deepen your practice of and commitment to the Buddha Way. This might mean spending one day or many in residence here at the Temple. It might mean coming every morning or evening, or simply coming more often that you usually do. Or it could be a commitment to deepen your personal practice at home, in your local sangha or in your daily life.
During this year's Coming and Going Sesshin we will focus on the twelfth century Tibetan Buddhist teaching of Lojong. This teaching is traditionally divided into fifty-nine slogans, each one encouraging us to deepen our capacity to live our lives in alignment with the Dharma.
We'll be using Zoketzu Norman Fischer's book TRAINING IN COMPASSION: ZEN TEACHINGS ON THE PRACTICE OF LOJONG as our entry point to study and practice these rich teachings. Norman Fischer is a poet and Zen Buddhist priest who has taught for many years at the San Francisco Zen Center. His book is a wonderful guide and invitation to using these traditional practices in our daily lives and as guides on our path to awakening.
Two talks a day will be given at the Temple, one around 10:30 a.m. and one at 7:00 p.m. These talks will be recorded and available online throughout the sesshin. The talks will be posted at Coming and Going talks. During week one (1/4 - 10) we will focus on Points One and Two. During week two (1/11 - 17) will take up Points Three, Four and Five. And during week three (1/18 - 25) we will examine Points Six and Seven.
All are welcome. For more information, including the daily schedule and the link to register for residential practice, see our announcement at Coming and Going Sesshin information.