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Fall Study Period Begins
October 1 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Our fall study period echoes the centuries-old tradition of Buddhist communities gathering for “winter rains” retreats. This is a time for deepening one’s study of the Buddha Way.
In a traditional Zen practice period you are in residence. Your days are regulated by a schedule of zazen, service, formal oryoki meals, and work around the temple grounds and kitchen. Simply following the schedule, you find yourself carried along in the stream of practice. You sit zazen, hear and study teachings, and meet with a teacher for dokusan or practice discussion. Your individual effort is reinforced by the collective effort of the sangha. The Valley Streams study period replicates some aspects of a traditional practice period, but relies more on your individual motivation and effort. It requires faith and confidence to remember you are joining other Sangha members when you sit, study, and work. More information here.
The study period will be led by So On Jim Hare. Our focus will be on Yogacara, an influential school of Buddhist philosophy that explains how our human experience is constructed by the mind. “All experience is preceded by mind, led by mind, made by mind”: this opening line of the Dhammapada could be called the root position of Yogacara thought. It captures the “radical” idea that nothing appears except what is previously conceived in human thought and perception. The Yogacara (yoga practice) school arose in 5th century India and was influential at the same time that the Zen school was developing in China. We will explore the central ideas of Yogacara thought, as succinctly conveyed through the text known as Vasubandhu’s Thirty Verses. Ben Connelly’s book Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara: a Practitioner’s Guide (Wisdom Publications, 2016) will be our guide.