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Buddhadharma : Fall 2009
51 fall 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly The Shogaku Zen Institute SPOT is an ongoing exploration of the interplay between Bud- dhist tradition, lineage, and our own experience as Americans trying to understand the Buddhist teachings and put them into practice on our own ground. What we have discovered repeatedly in role-playing and other experiential exercises is the intersection of the personal, the interpersonal, and the transpersonal, and how that nexus re-enacts the basic teach- ings of dharma “on the spot,” in the here and now. In addition, we hope that training with an aim of accredita- tion will help Zen priests in professions such as chaplaincy to find employment as other religious professionals do. Currently we give a certificate of Zen studies to help our trainees make use of their Zen training for working in the world. Of course, this is not a substitute or replacement for the traditional ini- tiations in Zen that occur between teacher and student and lead eventually to dharma transmission and empowerment as a teacher. Over time, we hope that Zen’s further integration into the American religious mainstream will pay dividends for future generations of Zen practitioners, sangha leaders, and teachers. To further this aim we have created an umbrella organiza- tion for our program, the Shogaku Zen Institute, which we hope will lead to the offering of a master of divinity degree or equivalent. When we six teachers came together, we didn’t quite know where it would go. It’s been an adventure in friendship and risk. We have changed our teaching styles and expanded the rules of engagement in our tradition. We believe that in com- ing together as SPOT, we are on the way to embodying Suzuki Roshi’s vision of Zen in America. But it is not just for Suzuki Roshi that we fulfill this vision. He insisted we were not the Zen school, just people following the Buddha’s Way. The Bud- dha encouraged practitioners not to cling to his words, but to translate his teachings into their native language, to illuminate their own lives. We need to remember this is our primary prac- tice and not get caught up in following a formula. Myogen Steve Stucky with Myoan Grace Schireson. renShinBunce Rev. Catherine Cascade of the Berkeley Zen Center talks with Do’on Andy Young of the Modesto Valley Heartland Zen Group. renShinBunce for more information on SPOT, visit www.shogakuzen.org.