Monday Evening ritual:
Gassho Bowing, Sitting ZaZen, Walking, Dharma exploration, Goodbyes.
Derived from (gasshō) 合掌 (Japanese), hé zhang 合掌 (Mandarin). Possibly derived from Namaste and part of the Añjali Mudrā greeting / blessing / salutation, common in Asian tradition. e.g. Thai Sawadee.
What does it mean to do Gasshō?
Deep respect for each other, Giving and receiving good wishes, greetings and blessings.
It can have an expanded meaning to revering the Buddha within, present in all of us, and in our living and inanimate world. In the Buddhist tradition it is a silent gesture and is sometimes attended by a deep bow or series of bows. It has a unification meaning.
It is often said that Buddhists, especially in Zen traditions, bow. Bowing at every opportunity.
When entering the Zendo (Zen meditation room)
Bow towards the Buddha shrine and representation of Boddhisatva Manjushri
Walk round clockwise to your cushion
Bow towards the Cushion (Zafu) before sitting down.
Prostrating is sometimes practiced. It is popular in all Buddhist traditions It is a full body or half body bow, the forehead briefly touching the floor. Prostration is given for The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, the 3 jewels. In the Zen tradition prostration is symbolic of ‘throwing everything away’. Prostration towards a teacher (Roshi 老師) in a Master – novice meeting (Rokusan) represents bowing down towards ones own Buddha Nature. (Kapleau, Philip (1989b). Zen: Merging of East and West. NY:Anchor Book. ISBN 0-385-26104-7.)
Bell: 20:00 UK Time
‘Sit solidly in samadhi and think not-thinking. How do you think not-thinking? Nonthinking. This is the heart of zazen.’
From: Zazengi: Rules for Zazen by Eihei Dogen, (19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253)
Founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan. (Translated by Dan Welch and Kazuaki Tanahashi)
Samadhi is one of these expressions that features in many oriental religious traditions and practice. It may have somewhat different meanings depending not the context. In the context of the 8-fold path Samadhi rests probably around mindfulness through concentration and attaining wisdom. 20:35 Bell: Stand for walking
Walking Meditation (Kinhin):
Standing solidly. Breathing, coming home. Breathing in, half step, Breathing out. half step. Walking together we have community and fellowship. Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) teaches to walk with an old friend, with a family member, alone is OK. Mindfully on the 8 fold path. Joyful and unattached. Supported and nourished by mother Earth.
Bell: Bow with hands in Gasshō, return and bow to the cushion, sit down. Gasshō to each other.
There are examples and guidance for Kinhin, walking meditation on You Tube.
“The Unsurpassed, profound and wondrous Dharma is rarely met with even in a hundred thousand million kalpas Now we can see and hear it, accept and maintain it, May we unfold the meaning of the Tathagata’s truth”
-Adapted from: https://deepspringzen.org/sutra-book/
In the later part of our evening we explore together many topics from everyday issues to deeper philosophical ones at times. We work on ideas together and see things from a balanced point of view, listening deeply to each other. This means that we explore Dharma together.
Goodbyes: 21:00 or shortly after
Important dates coming up, announcements.