An hour from everywhere…

Where we live, we’re at least a half an hour from everywhere. Add in a desire to do something that is even a little bit niche and I have to go at least an hour away from home. Video somewhat related. More after the jump.

To my knowledge, there are a few Buddhist temples in my rough area. Of the practice types that I have learned about, I think that I would prefer Rinzai Zen over Sōtō Zen. In my ideal world, I would be able to study under the Mountains and Rivers Order out of Mt. Tremper, NY but my financial situation makes it extremely difficult to even think about that right now. So, I have to focus on something closer to hand.

Some of the possibilities include:

  • Great Plains Zen Center, which has a resident teacher, has a residential training center  with a regular schedule just over an hour away (Monroe, WI) and a weekly evening sitting group about 90 minutes from home. Part of the White Plum Asanga (as is MRO) and in the lineage of Taizan Maezumi 
  • Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, which has a resident teacher but is in the heart of Chicago, about 2 hours away. Lineage of Shunryu Suzuki
  • Chicago Zen Center also has resident teachers and comes through roshi Philip Kapleau
  • Madison Zen Center, which does not have a resident teacher, but roshi (lineage of Philip Kapleau) visits about 3 times per year. About 90 minutes away. Associated with Rochester Zen Center.
There are other options, of course, but they don’t meet my criteria. So, these are the ones that I have made up my mind to choose from. Looking at things closely, I am leaning toward the Great Plains Zen Center, for a number of reasons. The fact that it is (basically) the closest to home sure doesn’t hurt anything. They hold zazen every Wednesday and Thursday evening in Monroe,  every Sunday evening in Palatine and there is zazen and Dharma talk every Saturday in Monroe.
 
With my unpredictable work schedule, I think that the four different zazen options every week at GPZC would be greatly to my benefit. So, I sent them an email inquiring if there are any requirements before joining them for zazen. Just off the cuff, I suspect that they prefer to have people attend their introductory workshop at least once before formally joining them for zazen. After all, they require attendance at the workshop before petitioning for formal membership, and I know that may other Zen groups have an introductory session of some sort before newcomers are welcome to join for practice.
 
We shall see. For now, though, it’s late and I’m going to bed. Out in the boondocks. 😉

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