Rochester Zen Center

FILLING OUT YOUR TERM INTENSIVE FORM

(Return the form to John Pulleyn and keep a copy for yourself)

Fill out the form and send it with your name and e-mail address to John (john@rzc.org) by the date indicated on the TI form, keeping a copy as your own record of what you have pledged. Also bring this copy of the form to the Opening Ceremony, where participants will read their commitments. The Opening and Closing Ceremonies are required for local participants. Roshi or John will read the pledges of out-of-town participants who cannot be present at the Opening Ceremony.
Please carefully consider the commitments you are making so that they can fit realistically into your daily life. The form should be completed in detail. In the boxes for zazen to be done at home, it’s better to indicate when and for how long you plan to sit rather than just making check marks. You may prefer to give yourself the flexibility of framing them in terms of the week rather than the day—for example, “One extra hour of sitting a week.”

Examine your spiritual life with an eye toward what you need to shore up or cut away. Start with a pledge to sit more, and then anything more will be like gravy. Think outside the boxes on the form. Here are some pledges made by past TI participants: doing housework silently and mindfully; keeping a spiritual diary; setting aside periods of some days for silence; using time at stoplights to do zazen; sewing a rakusu. Consider ways to reduce or give up non-essentials, such as TV, the car radio, or junk food. Feel free to consult with Roshi or other zendo leaders, and to make a private commitment in dokusan or daisan for something that you don’t feel comfortable reading out in the Opening Ceremony.

A special note to people with partners and children: Please discuss your commitments with them. This will help minimize tensions that may arise over your new involvements and will help you apply yourself to the program more energetically. Many TI participants have finished their programs filled with gratitude toward those who had to accommodate themselves to the changes in their household routines during the TI.

Who can participate? Any member of the Center. Be sure to send in your form by the deadline. It creates extra work for organizers when forms come in late.

Can I miss any of the TI meetings? Yes, but be sure to email or fax John, by noon on the day of the meeting, a few lines, at least, on how your program is progressing. Sending a report is required if you don’t come to a meeting, as a way of keeping fully engaged in the TI. You will in turn be sent a summary of each meeting. For out-of-towners, reports can be sent directly to Roshi, who will respond to you as well as passing your report on to John, who may read from it at the meeting and include it in the week’s report. If there’s anything you want to keep private, be sure to indicate that.

What is takuhatsu? In Japan, it refers to ritualized group mendicancy. But here at the Center, this public presentation of active Zen practice takes a form more suitable for our culture: going out in groups to pick up street litter in concentrated silence, with the eyes down as in Japanese takuhatsu. For the TI, it can be done individually:  Brandishing a trash bag, pick up litter in the same concentrated way.

What is Community Service? Devoting your time to help alleviate the suffering of those outside your circle of family and friends.

What is precept practice? Recite them every day, or pick one or two to focus on, either each day or throughout the TI. See the current listing of the precepts on the ZC website, or contact the Center.

What is Body Work? Physical exercise (cardiovascular, strength, flexibility).