Daily Practice

Daily Practice

Begin your day with a short gatha:

“This morning I vow with all beings to see the world clearly as it is and to reduce violence and bring compassion to all beings.” Sit zazen

In the evening, sit zazen:

As you lay down in bed, recite to yourself, “This evening, as I go to sleep, may all beings rest and be renewed through peace and love.”

A Program for Daily Living:

Most religions separate the sacred from the profane. They see a certain place or activity as either being something special or being invested with something sacred. Not so, Zen. In Zen, we live our entire lives, from moment to moment, as a sacred activity. There are no separations between the sacred and the profane, in fact, concepts such as those are seen as marks of a deluded mind.

Exercise

Please try to do at least thirty minutes of exercise per day. This can be done through running, walking, biking, swimming, weight training, or through individual or team sports. Make notes of your training efforts, the thoughts and feelings that arise. Use these notes on your posts to Team Zen. They can be wonderful enhancements to your practice.

Eating

Please prepare your meals thoughtfully and mindfully. By thoughtfully, I mean prepare them with your good health and joy of living in mind. Good food is clean, fresh, and filled with nutrients. Thoughtful preparation requires planning as to both amounts and a balances of protein, carbohydrate, and fats, as well as attention to vitamins and minerals. Mindful preparation includes taking care to prepare food with a compassionate heart. We acknowledge through the process that this food comes from somewhere, beings have offered their lives, or had them taken, in order to nourish us. We should be thankful and respectful of this, as well as show this reverence through our gentle and mindful behavior in the kitchen and at the table.

Working

Each of us must go through a day supporting our lives. Some go to work in offices. Some in factories. Some work at home. Some build things, some make things, some think about things. Some study things. Work is essential to our well-being. It is what grounds us and connects us to the larger environment. Through the activities of work we make ourselves a part of the universe. When we see our work in this light we realize just how important it is to make that work the best possible work. Work that brings benefit to everyone and harms no one.

Caring for Others

This is the core of your daily experience. When we begin to see our lives as a vehicle for the caring for and nurturance of others, we begin to see ourselves more clearly and at the same time live lives that are much more fulfilling and wonderful. Every moment of social life offers us an opportunity to practice caring for others. All that is required is a willingness to set yourself aside and act for the sake of what is there in front of you. How hard is that?

Gathas