Essential Zen Teachings: A Special Year-Long Program of Study and Practice
In this year’s Buddhist Studies program we will explore together a number of Zen texts that are a central part of practice at Zen centers throughout the world. These texts, all of them quite brief, express the intentions, practices, and insights of someone dedicated to living an awakened and engaged life for the benefit of all—that is, a bodhisattva.
Our core text for the year will be Living by Vow: A Practical Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Chants and Texts by Shohaku Okumua. After Katagiri Roshi’s death in 1990, Okumura Roshi was the interim head teacher at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center for three years. It was during this period that many local Zen students, including Joen and Michael, became acquainted with Okumura Roshi. Now residing in Indiana, Okumura Roshi is a deeply respected Zen teacher, writer, translator, and practitioner. He has an exceptional ability to bridge the history and culture of Zen in the East with contemporary America.
The book Living in Vow is a commentary on eight Zen texts, and is based on a series of lectures Okumura Roshi gave at the Minnesota Zen Center during his residency there, with many references to our local Zen community and practices. “Living by Vow” is a translation of Ganshoji, the temple name of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center chosen by Katagiri Roshi.