Programme

Ways to Participate

Everybody is welcome to attend the regular daily schedule, to participate in full-time retreats (sesshins) and to join community events. People from the local area usually choose for evening meditations or study classes, whereas those from further away mostly prefer to come for a whole day, weekend, a week or longer. In fact an average of one third of participants, especially during sesshins, are from abroad. Although sesshins will always be popular because of their compact schedule and strong atmosphere, the number of people joining the regular daily schedule in between for a period of time is growing steadily, as it offers an evenly balanced schedule of zazen, dokusan, dharma talks, study groups and services as well as more time for social interaction. Please call the office to see how best to choose between the various options of participation.

Regular Daily Schedule

Saturday–Wednesday:

04:55 Wake up
05:30 Zazen
07:30 Morning Service
08:00 Breakfast (oryoki)
09:30 Samu
12:50 Noon service
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Rest
16:30-17:30 Sat, Sutra Reading Class; Sun, Zazen; Mon, Study period; Tue, Right Speech Class; Wed: Zazen
18:00 Supper
19:30 Zazen
21:15 Four Vows
21:45 Lights out

Sunday: 11:30 Study class / 19:00 Public Service
Monday: 19:30 River of Zen continuation class
Tuesday: 16:30 Right Speech class / 19:30 Introductory class
Wednesday: 19:30 Zazen; Teisho

Ango Training

Summer and Winter

The training format of the traditional three-month Ango has a long history. It started at the time of the Buddha, when he and his disciples would gather together during the rainy season. In today’s Japan all monks have to participate in a number of Angos in order to receive their licenses as bona fide priests. Zen River’s year-round program includes two Angos, one in summer and one in winter. Everybody is welcome to participate for any length of time, but it is particularly powerful for those who are able to attend the whole three-month period. At the end there is always a Hossenshiki (dharma-combat ceremony) for the head monk, and since 2010 these ceremonies have been certified officially by the Soto School.

Saturday–Wednesday:

04:55 Wake up
05:25 Shuso Kentan
05:30 Zazen
07:30 Morning Service
08:00 Breakfast, oryoki
09:30 Samu
12:50 Noon service
13:00 Lunch
14:00 Rest
16:30 Zazen
17:10 Evening Service
17:30 Exercise/study
18:00 Supper
19:30 Zazen
21:15 Four Vows
21:45 Lights out

Sunday: 11:00 Study group / 19:00 Public Service
Monday: 19:30 River of Zen continuation class
Tuesday: 16:30 Right Speech class / 19:30 Introductory class
Wednesday: 19:30 Zazen; Teisho

Public Service

Sundays 7:00 pm–9:00 pm

A public service is held every Sunday night at 7:30 pm. Newcomers are requested to give a call first and arrive around 7:00 pm so as to get acquainted with procedures. After the service there is opportunity to join the evening meditation with residents and members (8:00–9:00 pm) and to be introduced to abbot Tenkei Roshi. These evenings are free of any contribution. If one would like to continue on and make a real start with Zen practice, an appointment for further instruction can be made on a Tuesday evening

For more info, please contact the office by telephone or mail.

Introduction

Tuesdays 7:30 pm–9:15 pm

Introductions into Zen practice are given on every Tuesday night by senior students of Zen River from 7:30 pm until 8:30 pm (Contribution €12,50). Afterwards one can join the residents and members for the last period of the evening meditation in the Zendo (until 9:15 pm). Although all parts of the programme are open to everybody, it is wise to attend at least some of these introductory meetings first, especially before participating in the “River of Zen” continuation class on Monday nights.

Intro Weekend

Held several times per year; please check the calendar of events for the upcoming Intro Weekend.

This Intro Weekend is held several times a year and is led by one of the Zen River teachers. This is an instruction course addressing the four elements of training, including posture work, a guided meditation, ritual practice, study and a discussion on the value of sangha, with lots of time for questions and answers. Perfect for newcomers to Zen River who would like to get acquainted with the style here before attending a sesshin, to meet Roshi, or just to brush up on old skills.

Intro Weekends at Zen River are usually conducted in Dutch, with some English translation if needed.

River of Zen

Monday 7:30 pm

Ongoing series of evening sessions for those who have received instruction in zazen and zendo procedures. The class is mostly attended by local members and offers an historic overview of buddhist texts–from the Indian Sutras and the Chinese classics to the Japanese literature and works by contemporary masters–focusing on their relevance for actual practice. Language: English. The River of Zen class is currently led by Myoho Sensei. Check with the office for dates, as during sesshin the class may be postponed.

Sunday Study Group

Sundays 11:30 am

On Sundays 11:15 am–12.45 pm (during the regular daily schedule) Tenkei Roshi leads a study group that explores Buddhist master works, particularly from Dogen Zenji. Participants first read parts of these texts aloud in turn and are then invited to express whatever strikes them as particularly interesting or inspiring. A mondo with the Roshi follows as to deepen one’s understanding.

Right Speech Class

Tuesdays 4:30 pm

The Right Speech Class held Tuesday afternoons at 4:00 pm during the regular daily schedule. Participants are given the opportunity (5–10 minutes) to present their understanding of a text that they studied beforehand (often from the Indian Sutras) or an issue that Roshi raises spontaneously at the start of the class. Afterwards Roshi shares his understanding of the topic, followed by a question and answer session. It is a way for everyone to practice speaking up and to learn expressing the dharma in alive words.

Please call ahead of time if you would like to join.

Teisho

Wednesday 7:30 pm

Every Wednesday evening during the regular daily schedule Tenkei Roshi gives a Teisho (Dharma Talk), usually on a koan or a short excerpt from Zen classics like the “Eihei Koroku” of Dogen Zenji.

Sesshin

Sesshin (lit.: to connect the mind/heart) is a silent Zen retreat, with an intensive schedule of zazen, services, dharma-talks, dokusan and samu (work practice). The format offers an excellent opportunity to really focus on practice without any distractions. And it is no secret that the heightened samadhi of the whole group stimulates participants to break through barriers of the conditioned mind faster than usual. At Zen River sesshins of 2, 5 or 7 days are held every month. In August the whole month consists of sesshins (three 5-day and one 7-day sesshin). Although beginners may prefer to start with a Zazenkai or by attending some of the daily schedule first, it is also perfectly okay to start with one of these sesshins–depending on one’s motivation. A relatively large group of participants are resident monks and members who attend sesshin regularly and their experience allows newcomers to readily trust the process and learn accordingly. Usually the following schedule is being maintained:

04:55 Wake up
05:00 Tea & Coffee
05:30 Zazen (3 periods)
07:30 Morning Service
08:00 Breakfast
09:15 Samu / work
10:45 Yoga / exercise
11:00 Tea & Coffee
11:30 Zazen & Dharma talk
12:40 Zazen
13:10 Noon Service
13:20 Lunch
15:30 Tea & Coffee
16:00 Zazen (3 periods)
17:50 Evening Service
18:00 Supper
19:30 Zazen (3 periods)
21:15 Four Vows
21:20 Tea
21:45 Lights out