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Work Practice at Tassajara

Discussion of Japanese Sōtō Zen / 曹洞宗

Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby Incomplete on Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:27 pm

Hey everyone

So I've grown interested in doing a Work practice at Tassajara. I used to attend a Soto temple in Chicago (I was infrequent, 1 month weekly showing up, the next month not going at all), but more than a year ago, I moved far away, and have moved even further from it since then. I've kept up a daily practice since then, and I'm interested in applying work a work practice at Tassajara. However, I feel so removed from the Zen institution. I would love to just attend a temple on a weekly basis, but the nearest one is quite far for me (it's not Soto either, which doesn't really appeal to me). So I was hoping to just practice here at my home, keep up my own readings, and then try and apply about a year from now to Tassajara.

My concern though is that it says on the application that I need a recommendation from a teacher, but when I attended the Soto temple about two years ago, I didn't really know anyone too well to begin with. I had about 2 dokusans with the teacher and that was about it.

So am I just out of luck? Should I try and apply anyways? Should I wait until a better opportunity arises for me to be able to attend a temple on a more regular basis arises and then apply for Tassajara?

I was interested in applying for the work practice next year because that'll be the time before I apply for my masters program at school, and it'd just be a good time in my life to do this. Any thoughts or experiences that people would like to share?

Thanks
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby Nonin on Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:58 pm

To participate in Work Practice at Tassajara, you need a recommendation from a teacher, so I'd wait until you have one before you apply.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby Incomplete on Tue Jun 30, 2015 11:17 pm

Nonin wrote:To participate in Work Practice at Tassajara, you need a recommendation from a teacher, so I'd wait until you have one before you apply.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin


Alrighty then. I'll wait then until a better opportunity arises to practice more with a teacher first. Thanks for the advice.

:)
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby Avisitor on Wed Jul 01, 2015 2:07 pm

Is this Tassajara hot Springs of San Francisco??
It might be open to new students during the May to September guest season
That would give one a chance to see and experience some of goings on
It is a start. It may not be the work practice one is looking for
But, it is a start in a good direction

Hope it works out for you
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
Sorry, got a message that I was not being PC.
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby Linda Anderson on Wed Jul 01, 2015 3:22 pm

To add to what AV said, the work practice period from May to Sept is mainly working to keep the guest season going which is their main source of income. The season runs all summer, I was there some years ago for 12 days. It consists of 6 hours of work per day in 100 degree heat. There is an opportunity to sit with the community first thing in the morning and for evening zazen and occasional talks. It is a good way to touch in, it's not a practice period like the ones held in the off season. I was recommended by someone in the community that I knew, nothing too official. I wouldn't assume that you can't ask someone you once sat with, it seems they just want to know you have some appreciation and experience with zen. Mainly, the summer is work in kitchen, garden, housing and wood shop. I enjoyed my time there.
linda

ps: ask about earning credits for the practice season
Not last night,
not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby cam101+ on Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:23 am

Rules exist to be broken. Go in person, explain yourself, and say that you have come to do work practice to deepen your practice. Your teachers, who highly recommend you, are the sun, the birds, and the clouds. No better teachers can be found.
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:45 pm

If a teacher's recommendation, as Nonin Roshi informs above, or letter of introduction is needed, then it would be wise to comply with that rule, and not to show up before it does, unannounced and unrecommended.

Obtaining any job, or work- or learning-opportunity, usually requires some sort of referring, friendly, agency (prior boss, teacher, or clergy). It appears that the one in question is similar. And why not.

--Joe
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby Caodemarte on Mon Oct 10, 2016 2:26 pm

Having worked on setting up retreats, I can say there are good reasons for asking for a recommendation from people you don't know as there are for asking some medical information. If you don't know anybody to refer you, one way to get that would be to go to an introductory session at Tassajara or elsewhere. The important thing is to establish a strong regular practice. You could always write to them if it is difficult for you to go to a group and see what Tassajara says. Just showing up without their prior agreement to take you in is not a good plan. Can I show up at you house and say I am moving in? By the way, I like pancakes on Wednesday.
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Re: Work Practice at Tassajara

Postby HePo on Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:27 pm

Even though this topic is over a year old, perhaps this link would answer the original question.
How to apply for summer work practice at Tassajara

Nonin's response would be for someone who wants to participate in the regular practice periods (3 month periods in winter and fall).

If Incomplete would have still have an interest in going to Tassajara and still lives in/near Chicago perhaps he could visit the Ancient Dragon temple - an SFZC affiliated temple and speak with their teacher Taigen Dan Leighton.
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