On Sunday March 5, the Monastery marked the beginning of the Spring training period with an Ango Opening Ceremony. This brief yet meaningful service brings the sangha together and reminds us of both our personal commitment and the shared experience of intensifying our practice.
Following morning service and a period of zazen, Ango participants line up in the zendo hallway and down the stairs to the dining hall. As the training coordinator reads off the names of each person who has officially joined the practice period–be they a householder or a resident at the Monastery or the Temple–participants offer incense at the zendo threshold and enter into Spring anew. Shugen Sensei then enters and makes his own offering at the main altar.
With ango participants having taken their places in the training hall, the training coordinator processes past each person’s seat in a walking bow.
As that bow is returned, the acknowledgement of each person’s willingness to fully engage this opportunity is confirmed.
The following Sunday, the Ango’s shuso–or chief disciple–was installed and presented with a white robe. Valerie Meiji Linnet has been practicing within the Mountains and Rivers Order for more than 20 years, has done periods of residency at both the Monastery and Temple, and currently works as a social worker and therapist. Meiju will serve as a model of ardent practice this Ango and, following the Shusso Hossen sesshin in November, will give her first formal talk before the sangha.
A video was made of Shugen Sensei’s talk that morning and it sheds more light on the tradition of Ango and what we’ll be focusing on as these three months unfold.
You can also visit the Ango web page for links to the readings and dates of Ango-related activities.