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Sun, 12 Mar


Taking Part in the Gathering (Term 1) 2023

Taking Part in the Gathering (Term 1)

The first Taking Part in the Gathering for the year Autumn Term, 2023 (March-May) Online via Zoom Five Dates: 1st & 3rd Sunday 4:00-5:30 AEDT March 12th &19 April 2nd & 16th & May 7th Cost: sliding scale ($50-$150)

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Taking Part in the Gathering (Term 1)
Taking Part in the Gathering (Term 1)

time & place

12 Mar 2023, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm AEDT

Taking Part in the Gathering (Term 1) 2023


 'The Character of Zen' 

The opening TPITG for the year will be an exploration of our practice and our lives in the light of the Six Paramitas.   When Robert Aitken Roshi asked his teacher, Yamada Koun Roshi, ‘What is the purpose of Zen?’ Yamada responded, ‘The purpose of Zen is the perfection of character.’  

He  made no mention of ‘satori’, or ‘enlightenment’, but is this expression  of Zen in any way remote from the more usual ‘to realize and express  your true nature’? Let’s find out.   

The Sanskrit word  ‘paramita’ is usually rendered as ‘perfection’, which may imply at first  glance a completed state of some kind.  The word ‘enlightenment’ can  fall into the same trap.  But the human reality of any perfect ideal is a  verb, not a noun -- a process of ‘becoming like this’, a path of  becoming skilled, one that naturally discovers how much more there is to  realise as you proceed. 

The path of consciously shaping our own character turns out to be the one that discovers  who we really are.  It is the singular freedom of human beings that we  can choose and shape our way of being within whatever prevailing  circumstances we cannot choose or fully control, as well as the  conditions we can and do create.    The Six Paramitas open up this path of perfecting character.  They’re known as:  Dana (generosity, giving of oneself); Sila (morally-inflected behaviour); Kshanti  (patience, tolerance, forbearance);  Virya  (energy, strength, stickability); Dhyana (meditation, self-reflection, not-knowing); and Prajna (unbounded emptiness-wisdom).    

Unsurprisingly,  just like we ourselves, the paramitas are each found reflected and  realised more deeply in each other -- but singling them out is first  step to discovering this in detail. I hope you’ll join us for this walk  we’re planning to begin into the compelling mystery of character.


  • Taking Part term 1

    This ticket confirms your welcome to Taking Part In The Gathering (Term 1) The cost is a sliding scale ($50-$150) based on financial viability for each person.

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