If you have been attending some of our weekly meditation sessions with regularity, and at least one retreat, and have developed a stable daily meditation practice, at a certain point it may become clear that the next step is to become a formal Zen student. This involves a simple and brief ceremony in which you commit to having an authorized independent Sanbo Zen teacher as your primary guide along the Zen way, and he or she commits to doing his/her best to guide you in Zen for as long as you want them to. It is something to discuss with our teacher, and may evolve quite naturally as your practice stabilizes and deepens.
As you sit longer, you may have questions. Our head teacher is available to speak with you regarding your meditation practice. Once your sitting practice is regular and you are ready, please take advantage of this opportunity.
Meditation is open to everyone. Members are free to participate in the life of center by joining in all its activities, not just the sitting and teaching that go on here, but also sangha meetings and our monthly work periods (samu) when we take care of the center.
Shoken is a private ceremony in which a practitioner formally asks a teacher if they may become their student. The ceremony is short and normally takes place in the interview room. It marks a mutual commitment between the two. The student will not always be accepted and may have to ask more than once. It is important to reflect on why you want shoken and what, for you, it implies both for yourself and the teacher.
The request for shoken is always left to the student to initiate. The teacher’s job is to allow the student to develop and mature along the Buddhist path and to provide a vehicle for spiritual and psychological development. Basically the teacher ‘holds the seat’ for the student. The student commits to walking their own path, step by step, and accepting full responsibility for their own actions.
‘Entering the Way’ intrinsically involves, for all of us, change and especially personal change. This will for most people, at some point, lead to resistance to that change and a possible, potentially difficult relationship between student and teacher. Shoken carries with it the agreement on both sides to allow this process, if it arises, to happen and to clarify it without (or before) walking away.
Donations and Membership Dues
Members of Baguio Zen Center are committed to making monthly contributions to support our community and the dharma. Members also volunteer in various capacities to help support our activities and administrative needs. This is a wonderful way to support the continuation of the practice that supports you.
Donations of any amount are how we afford to do what we do. You can make donations to the general fund as well as to the scholarship fund. Members provide the reliable monthly income that helps us pay the bills. It’s also something people enjoy.
This is an old Sanscrit word for generosity and it refers specifically to the practice of giving money to a teacher. The Baguio Zen Center teacher often gives her time and attention without material remuneration. Your gifts are a way to express your thanks and to help support the teacher to continue to work in this way. You can leave gifts in the basket on the table in the back of the room, in an envelope with the name of the recipient, if you like.
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