Term Student Program 2017
If you want to strengthen your Zen training, invigorate your sitting, and learn how to incorporate your practice into your daily life, consider joining this year’s Term Student Program.
You will find that the Term Student Program is a shortcut to deeper concentration and greater understanding of Zen training. As well, you will discover that you are capable of working far more intensely than you had ever imagined. We all lead busy lives, which is why we cannot expect our practice to deepen of itself; we need to make it happen.
There are three levels of the Term Student Program, each with different requirements, expectations, program lengths, and Term Student forms. Please read carefully:
Level III (For more experienced practioners)
Term Student Application Form Deadline: September 12
Level III is a seven-week program from Tuesday, September 26 through Tuesday, November 14. Form Submission Deadline: September 12.
- Participants must be a student of Roshi.
- Participants must have participated in a minimum of five prior Term Student Programs.
- The minimum commitment for daily zazen is 1.5 hours. This means zazen, not zazen plus chanting such as at the morning sitting.
- It is expected that whatever one commits to is an increase over what one is currently doing. Therefore, if you are currently sitting 1.5 hours per day, during the Term Student Program you should increase that amount to at least 2 hours.
- Daily chanting is required.
- Daily Precept work is required.
- Attendance at meetings is required either in person (Vermonters) or by Zoom (non-Vermonters). For couples with young children, adjustments will be made.
- Attendance at all workdays and ceremonies is required for local participants. Non-local participants can participate in ceremonies either in person (ideal) or via Zoom. It is not expected that non-local participants will be at workdays, although it is appreciated.
- Participants must attend a minimum of three sitting at the Center in addition to the Term Student meeting. (This will optional for local participants who live over 1 hour away, but strongly suggested. Obviously it is not a requirement for out of town participants.)
- Participants must attend a minimum of two dokusans per week in person or by Skype (non-Vermonters only).
- Participants must be a student of Roshi.
- Participants must have been in at least two prior Term Student Programs.
- The minimum commitment for daily zazen is 45 minutes. This means zazen, not zazen plus chanting such as at the morning sitting.
- It is expected that whatever one commits to is an increase over what one is currently doing. Therefore, if you are currently sitting 45 minutes per day, during Term Student Program you should increase that amount to at least 1 hour per day.
- Participants must attend at least one sitting at the Center in addition to the Term Student meeting. (This will optional for local participants who live over 1 hour away, but strongly suggested. Obviously it is not a requirement for out of town participants.)
- Attendance at Term Student meetings is required either in person (Vermonters) or by Zoom (non-Vermonters).
- If you are working on the precepts, attending Jukai is a requirement either (ideally) in person, or for people who are out-of-town and cannot come, through Zoom.
- Participants must attend a minimum of one dokusan per week in person or by Skype (non-Vermonters only).
- This level is geared to newer practitioners who want to establish a regular sitting practice. It is also appropriate for more experienced practitioners whose daily life commitments are too time-consuming to be able to participate in level II or III.
- You must be a member, though not necessary a student, to participate in the program.
- Daily zazen is a requirement. The suggested minimum is 30 minutes per day.
- Term Student Forms for Level I emphasize daily zazen and chanting. Precept work, community or Zen Center work, takuhatsu, and prostrations are not part of this program.
- Attendance at Term Student meetings is required either in person (Vermonters) or by Zoom (non-Vermonters)
- The three levels end at the same time; the start date is later for Level I. THIS YEAR LEVELS III and II BEGIN ON THE SAME DATE.
- Everyone should contact Roshi before the start of the program to review their commitments. There times are set aside for that during the evening sittings on August 22 and September 12.
- At the start of each program, there will be an inauguration/commitment ceremony. The ceremony for Level III and Level II is September 26. The inauguration ceremony for Level I (Tuesday, October 24) will take precedence over the Term Student meeting. On those two evenings the sitting may end as late as 9:00 p.m.
- With sittings at the Center every day, it is highly recommended that local members come to as many morning and evening sittings at the Center as possible. If you live some distance away, you are always welcome to come for an evening sitting and spend the night at the Center, then attend the morning sitting the next day.
- For Vermont Term Students there will be an additional dokusan on Wednesday mornings during the sitting.
- For non-Vermont students there will be an additional Skype dokusan on Tuesday mornings at 6 a.m. This dokusan is only for those currently in the Term Student Program.
- Thursday evening at 5:45 p.m. there will be Skype dokusan for Term Students and those not in the program. This replaces the usual Tuesday evening Skype dokusan which takes place at other times of the year.
- TAKUHATSU: As practiced at our Center, this means cleaning up the neighborhood. Go on a walk, take a garbage bag and pick up litter.
- PRECEPT PRACTICE: This can be done in a number of ways. Some people recite the precepts daily. Others focus on one precept each day, trying to be especially mindful of their conduct with respect to that precept. People have also concentrated on one or two precepts with which they have the most difficulty. Another helpful way to work on the precepts is to have a “Precept Buddy” (or Buddies)—ideally other program participants with whom you check in regularly to discuss the issues that come up for you around the precepts. Keep in mind that if you are working on the Precepts you are also making a commitment to attend Jukai either in person or by Skype.
- CHANTING: This could involve memorizing a chant, performing a chanting service regularly, or picking one chant to do daily.
- PROSTRATIONS: The traditional number of prostrations is 3, 9, 27, 54, or 108. You can do this each day, each week, or however you wish.
- DEDICATION: Many people choose to dedicate their efforts to someone, such as a relative who is ill, a friend who is undergoing difficulties, or someone recently departed. This is entirely up to you.
- COMMUNITY OR ZEN CENTER WORK: The Community Work section is for out-of-town participants only. For local participants there is only a Work at the Zen Center section.
Level II (Closest to original program)
Term Student Application Form Deadline: September 12
Level II is a seven-week program from Tuesday, September 26 through Tuesday, November 14. Form Submission Deadline: September 12.
Level I (Emphasis on zazen and establishing a regular sitting practice)
Term Student Application Form Deadline: October 10
Level I is a three-week program from Tuesday, October 24 through Tuesday, November 14. Form Submission Deadline: October 10.
Dokusan Days and Times:
Level III: Tuesday, September 26 through Tuesday, November 14
Level II: Tuesday, September 26 through Tuesday, November 14
Level I: Tuesday, October 24 through Tuesday, November 14
Consider Your Commitments Carefully
Term Students of all levels should carefully consider the increased commitment they will be making. As well, you should discuss your plans with those who will be affected by your increased sitting before you make your commitment. This will help avoid tension among family members and enable you to put more energy into the program. Keep in mind that while it is expected that the commitments will be a stretch and that you will sit more than you normally do, it is also important to make commitments you can and will keep.
About the Term Student Forms for Each Level
There are two different forms for each level—one for members living in Vermont and one for members who do not live in Vermont. All forms are web-based. Please fill out the correct form and submit it online. After you submit your form, you will receive verification. An email copy of your form will be sent to you as well.
Filling in the On-Line Forms
For the Morning and Evening Zazen at Home boxes, please indicate how long you plan to sit; don't just put an "x" in the boxes. If you have questions, ask any senior member of the Sangha. If you are not planning to participate in an activity, just put a zero (0) in the box. PLEASE NOTE: Late forms will not be accepted.
Each Term Student will read his or her commitment to the Sangha at the Inauguration Ceremony on September 26 (Levels III & II) or October 24 (Level I). For you to be in the program, your commitments must be read at the ceremony. The Inauguration and Closing Ceremonies are required either in person (for local participants) or via Skype (for non-Vermonters).
Term Student Meetings
Term Student Meetings on Tuesdays are required. The sharing of information and reporting at meetings has proved to be one of the most helpful, supportive, often moving, and sometimes humorous aspects of the program.
Local Term Students should make it a priority to attend all meetings. If you are participating from out of town, you must Zoom in for the meeting. If you and your spouse have young children and are both in the program, talk to Roshi to make arrangements before submitting your Term Student Form.
Written reports will not be accepted except in the case of extreme acts of karma.
Out-of-towners participate in the meetings through Zoom. Please check with Ramiro (not Roshi) if you have any questions about Zoom procedures.
Term Student Form Details
Please Note: Term Student Forms for Level I emphasize daily zazen and chanting. Not included in this level are precept work, community or Zen Center work, takuhatsu, and prostrations.