Six Paramitas Workshop

3/14/2008, 7:30pm - 3/16/2008, 9:00am at Myoshinji

The two equinoxes are the times of the year when the sun rises exactly in the east and sets exactly in the west and all places on earth experience exactly 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. In the Japanese Buddhist tradition, the week of the Autumnal Equinox is called Prajna week. This time is dedicated to the study of the Buddhist teaching of the Six Paramitas or Six Perfections. We will observe this tradition around the time of the Vernal Equinox by offering a weekend workshop on the Six Paramitas at Myoshinji, in Monroe, Wisconsin. The workshop begins at 7:30 PM on Friday and finishes on Sunday morning. The workshop consists of zazen (meditation), talks and guided meditations, with vegetarian meals provided. Those who are unable to stay for the entire weekend are invited to attend on Saturday only.

The Sanskrit word "paramita" literally means "crossing over to the other shore." Through the practice of these six attributes or perfections of the awakened heart, we can cross over from our delusion and ignorance to enlightenment and peace, just as the sun crosses from one hemisphere to the other at the time of the equinox. The word "perfection," the usual rendering of the Sanskrit word “paramita” often inspires self-criticism and doubt as we instantly set up standards of perfection and compare ourselves and others to these. We feel a deep gap between what we read in the sutras as the qualities of the Bodhisattva, the one dedicated to serving the highest welfare of all beings, and our own lives and behavior. The teaching of the paramitas, however, offer us the opportunity to identify with and cultivate our innate Bodhisattva nature, rather than with our habitual self-clinging. Every one of us, without exception has the potential to practice dana (selfless giving, open-heartedness), sila (precepts, ethical activity), ksanti (patience, inclusiveness), virya (joyous effort and diligence), dhyana (meditation, focused concentration), and prajna (wisdom).

Please join us in this workshop, which is open to beginners and experienced practitioners alike.