Dharma evenings are open to anyone who is familiar with our meditation practice. If you are new to meditation in our tradition, please arrange to come to an introductory event first.
The evening starts with a short ceremony called Evening Service. This includes the recitation of "Rules for Meditation", which is a text by the thirteenth century Sōtō Zen monk Great Master Dōgen. Dōgen is an important figure in the history of the tradition, and this scripture gives an excellent description of many aspects of the practice of meditation.
Evening Service is followed by two periods of meditation, with walking meditation in between. The second meditation period is followed by Vespers, which is a short scripture recitation.
After this there is a Dharma Talk or other activity in the common room, which alternates between the following:
- An opportunity to ask questions about practice (Q&A)
- A discussion on an aspect of the teaching, or of Buddhist practice (suggestions for topics are very welcome)
- A Dharma Talk on a Buddhist scripture or other text, with an opportunity to discuss and ask questions
- A recorded Dharma Talk, with an opportunity to discuss afterwards (suggestions for these are also very welcome)
- A "bring-and-share" evening, where anyone can bring along a short passage of text to read, which we can then discuss. The text doesn't specifically have to be from a Buddhist work/author, but should have some direct relevance to Buddhist practice.
The schedule for a Dharma Evening:
7.30pm Evening Service
Meditation 30 mins
Meditation approx. 10 mins, ending at 8.30pm
8.40pm Dharma Talk, discussion etc., with tea