Overview and sign up for participating in the 2021 Winter Practice Period. You may register for all Practice Period events here. This year's Practice Period will be held all online
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 the head student, or shuso, who serves as the center of the sangha wheel giving classes, Dharma talks, and meets in small groups with practice period students over tea.This year's Shuso is Joden Bob Rose. Bob has been our tenzo (head cook) and Board President and has been practicing with Red Cedar Zen for 10 years. He received his name Jōden Kyūdō ("Fertile Fields, Investigating the Way") from Nomon Tim Burnett at his jukai ceremony in 2013.
Practice Period Theme: We will also be guided this year by the theme: "Living in the Grass Shack". Shuso Joden will support us in learning about living simply and mindfully as we explore Zen Master Shitou's classic poem "Song of the Grass Shack."
Practice Period Class: Shuso Jōden Bob will lead us in a weekly Wednesday evening 5:30pm class. Please register for this course. Like all RCZC classes there is no charge for members. Eight Wednesday 5:30pm meetings from Jan. 13 to March 3 starting promptly. Note that our Wednesday evening zazen meeting starts 30 minutes later.
Tea with the Shuso: Practice Period Participants are warmly invited to have tea in small groups with the shuso to discuss practice and get to know each other more deeply. These teas will be a mix of over Zoom and social distanced outdoor teas. Jōden Bob or his benji (assistant) will let us know how to book your tea time.
Wednesday evening practice: Note that during Practice Period the 7pm-9pm schedule will include additional zazen meditation and more opportunities than usual for dokusan with Nomon Tim. You are also encouraged to enjoy interviews with the other Practice Leaders.
Practice Period Buddies - EXTRA important in 2021. 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. You may arrange this or 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. If you don't ask for our help please follow through on finding a partner and speak with them at least three times during Practice Period.
Remote Participation: Do you live at a distance from Bellingham? This year everyone in the Practice Period is available over Zoom!
Opening Ceremony: We start with an opening ceremony on Wednesday January 6th, 7pm - 9pm, 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 January 23rd (7:00am - 4:00pm). Shuso Joden will give his formal Dharma Talk at 11:10am 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 is on Sunday evenings in February. Great for those brand new to Zen and those who've been exploring for a while.
The practice period closes with three events in sequence:
(1) The 3-day Practice Period Closing Sesshin from the evening of Thursday March 4 - afternoon of Sunday March 7. Part time (whole days only please) attendance is allowed.
(2) This sesshin concludes with an important event which is also open to all in the practice period: Shuso's Dharma Inquiry Ceremony at 11am on Sunday March 7th.
(3) A final closing circle will be held Practice Period Closing Circle on Wednesday evening March 10th.
Please use the registration system to state your intentions and let us know what you intend to attend. There will also be an opportunity to say something about your intentions for practice period at the opening ceremony.
Also, please consider renewing or expanding your commitment to our regular practice times during Winter Practice Period - all on Zoom.
Monday - Thursday 7am - 7:40am. Join the morning sit to integrate sangha practice into your day.
Monday Evenings 7pm: Reading Dogen - as part of our Practice Period time you could also include participation in our ongoing Dogen study group meeting on Monday evenings at 7pm. Details are here.
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.
Saturday Morning Practice 7am - 8:45am. Deep quiet, 2 periods of meditation, and the full morning service which is seen as a central and important ritual in Soto Zen. Followed by a relaxed social time (have a thermos of coffee or tea ready!)
Sunday Zen Alive! Program 10am - Noon. One period of zazen, kinhin, a Dharma Talk featuring a variety of speakers, and service.
To sign up for practice period:
Fill out the registration form to sign up for practice period. You may register here for each of the practice period events you plan to attend.REGISTER FOR PRACTICE PERIOD