Overview and main sign up for participating in the 2020 Winter Practice Period. You may register for all Practice Period events here this year.
Practice Period is a time in which Zen students practice intensively together. Historically, practice period started with the rains retreats of the early Buddhist nuns and monks when they could not travel due to heavy rains. During that time they settled down for more intensive practice. Annual practice periods have been an essential part of Zen practice for a thousand years and an important part of Red Cedar Zen for over 20 years.
Although we don't live in monasteries, each winter in the spirit of those in monastic practice, we settle our busy lives in order to intensify our practice. We bring our mindfulness and Dharma practice to the foreground of our lives more than usual.
In the center of the mandala of Practice Period is often a head student, or shuso, who serves as the center of the sangha wheel giving classes, Dharma talks, and meets privately with practice period students over tea. This year we won't have a shuso. Guiding Teacher Nomon Tim Burnett will be leading the Practice Period.
Practice Period Theme: We will also be guided this year by the theme: "Taking Care of Self and Other". We'll be exploring how Zen practice supports us understanding the difference and sameness of self and other and encourages wise and compassionate engagement, boundaries, and generosity in all of our actions.
Practice Period Class: Nomon Tim will lead us in a weekly Wednesday evening 6pm class. Please register for this course. Like all RCZC classes there is no charge for members. 6 Wednesday meetings from Jan. 22 to Feb 26 starting promptly at 6pm.
Pepper Sisters "Happy Hour Office Hours" instead of Tea with the Shuso: When we have a shuso Practice Period Participants are warmly invited to have tea with the shuso to discuss practice and get to know each other more deeply.
Instead this year Nomon Tim will be at Pepper Sister's Restaurant just below the Dharma Hall on State Street starting at 4:30pm each Wednesday of Practice Period before class (Jan 22 - Feb 26). Feel free to join Tim for a bite and conversation. Drop in. All are welcome.
Wednesday evening practice: Note that during Practice Period the 7pm-9pm schedule will include three periods of zazen meditation and more opportunities than usual for dokusan with Tim, dokusan with Chris, and practice discussion with the other teachers.
Buddies and Mentors: The weeks of Practice Period go by quickly. To help stay connected to practice period we recommend that you choose to work with a practice period partner. We can help you find one. Someone you get together with or call regularly during practice period to discuss how it's going with your intentions and practice. When you sign up please let us know if you'd like help finding a practice partner.
Remote Participation: Do you live at a distance from Bellingham? We do our best to make the practice period accessible by posting recorded classes and Dharma Talks promptly but the best bet it to be in touch with a local member or teacher. You may request this in the sign up form.
Opening Ceremony: We start with an opening ceremony on Wednesday January 15th, 7pm - 9pm, at the Dharma Hall which includes the opportunity to verbally share your practice and life intentions for this year's Practice Period.
Opening Sesshin: There is an opening 1-day sesshin Practice Period Opening Sesshin on Saturday February 1st, which requires pre-registration to sit the day. Nomon Tim will give a formal Dharma Talk at 10:30am that morning - the topic is his Way Seeking Mind (practice autobiography) all are welcome to attend this talk.
Introduction to Zen Meditation class: Our annual Introduction to Zen Meditation class. A wonderful 4-week class on Monday evenings in February. Great for those brand new to Zen and those who've been exploring for a while.
The Parinirvana Ceremony on Wednesday evening February 12th gives us a deep opportunity to consider the passing away of the Buddha and marks the mid-point of our Practice Period (note: no circle check-in this year).
The practice period closes with three events in sequence:
(1) The 4-day Practice Period Closing Sesshin from the evening of Wednesday March 4th - afternoon of Sunday March 8th. Part time (whole days only please) attendance is allowed. Signing up early is helpful.
(2) This sesshin concludes with an important event which is also open to all in the practice period: Shosan Dharma Questions Ceremony at 11am on Sunday March 8th.
(3) A final closing circle will be held Practice Period Closing Circle on Wednesday evening March 11th.
Please use the registration system to state your intentions in writing. There will also be an opportunity to say something about your intentions for practice period at the opening ceremony. If you are practicing at a distance you can ask your intentions to be read to the circle.
Please tell us in the form if you are participating at a distance and would like to be assigned a practice leader who will check in with you during practice period. Also let us know if you would like help finding a practice partner to stay in touch with.
And please consider renewing or expanding your commitment to our regular practice times during Winter Practice Period:
Wednesday Night Practice 7pm - 9pm - is especially important during practice period. During this time we offer three periods of zazen with walking meditation in between. A weekly opportunity for a deep immersion in silence. Dokusan with Nomon Tim Burnett and private meetings with the other teachers will be available.
Noon Practice Noon-1pm. Consider if you are able to arrange your schedule to attend our increasingly popular sit from noon to 1pm on Fridays.
Saturday Morning Practice 6am - 8:30am. Deep quiet, 3 periods of meditation, and the full morning service which is seen as a central and important ritual in Soto Zen. We enjoy breakfast afterwards at the zendo on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month and often go to the Food Coop together on the other weeks.
To sign up for practice period:
Fill out the registration form to sign up for practice period. You may register for all practice period events here. Individual retreats and classes can also be registered for separately.REGISTER FOR PRACTICE PERIOD