Our Order believes strongly in Zen study. We see it as a contemplative practice, a way of leaving what we know, but this is so only if we are willing to approach our study with our whole heart, mind, and body. Study is an experience. If it is solely in the head it is merely intellectual. Study is also a means of enculturation. We Americans are grossly unfamiliar with the wide world, its customs, habits, and languages. We too often come at the study of something with the idea that we really know something already about it and all we really need is to verify that what we think we know is actually it. More, we take our books and begin to gain conceptual understanding, take this understanding to mean realization, and then decide we “know” the thing: no more need for study!
Approaching Zen study is approaching the self. It is about emptying yourself and practicing to see without preconception. We keep a beginner’s mind. To do this we must always make our practice synchronous with our study. Practice first, study second.
In Las Cruces, we meet at our Zendo once a week to study a text in the Zen tradition. We have taken up the study of the Heart Sutra, the Platform Sutra, several of Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo selections, a text by Korean Zen Master Seung Sahn, and even a comparative religion text.
The study group meets at 6:00 PM for Study and at 7:00 PM for Zazen. Our current text is .the Fukanzazengi by Master Dogen.
In addition to group study, we encourage Order Friends and Members to establish formal teaching relationships with our priests. We often conduct Precept Study classes, sewing classes, and the like, in hopes of assisting students as they engage the precepts.
As always, we are here to assist you in your practice. Please let us know how we can be of service.
A pullout tab will soon be operational allowing you to select the commentary on the text we are studying each week. This tab will also allow users to post thoughts and questions.