Back to the main Dogzen page

     Dogzen Evening Practices

Go to EI page


Portland Dogzen
Evening Practices

Evening practice schedule
Get on the Dogzen Email Newsletter mailing list





The Dogzen newsletters and the booklet, Cultivating Naked Awareness, lay out all the Dogzen key ideas. However, these ideas are not meant to just rattle around in our heads as ideas. We want to directly know the nature of mind and cultivate naked awareness so that we can walk around in it. "Directly know" is different from "know about". The latter is done with our intellect, but the former is an experience of unity with what arises in awareness which is not the same as having an idea about something.

Most people need to do a little work to begin to directly know this unity and that is what the Dogzen practices are for. You do some practices for a while and at some point you go, "Oh, I get it!". You take the new awareness into your daily life and work with it. You decide upon it. You cultivate it. You let it work its magic.

The power of Dogzen is its sharp focus on one fundamental truth, the nature of awareness itself. There are a lot of things we can do to get our heads straight, but directly knowing the nature of awareness is a key to all personal growth and spiritual practices. Awareness is intrinsic to all experience. It's our intent to get this part clear at the beginning; then the rest will unfold naturally.

We encourage people to read the Dogzen Newsletters or Cultivating Naked Awareness so their conceptual minds are already in aliignment with what goes on in the evening practices. At the practice, we take a little time to discuss and clarify the basic ideas that are presented in the newsletters.

The heart of the practice is becoming aware of awareness. We give it a try and see if we can directly know the nature of awareness and see if we can relate to life from the base of pure awareness.

Here is some detail about what goes on at the evening practice:

Currently, our schedule of evening practices in Portland is every two weeks. The sessions start at 7:00 PM and go to about 10:00 PM.

  • Our first formal practice is the Preparation for Contemplation (PFC). The details of this practice are described in Preparation for Contemplation. We go over the brief description so that the participants feel comfortable with doing the practice. When all the questions have been answered, we do the PFC for about 20 minutes. We could do it longer, but we generally don't because people will often start to fuss with their state too much and the practice loses some of its power.
  • After the PFC, there is a short talk on a Dogzen topic and questions and answers. The overall idea, however, is not to get into an intellectual discussion, but to gravitate towards experiencing awareness of awareness and the base right at that time. There is a knack to doing this, and Dogzen students endeavor to develop this skill. Anyone can contribute to helping the group be more aware of the nature of awareness.
  • After the discussion,we usually do a Dyad. There is a short training period for those who don't know how to do a Dyad, including an introduction to the instruction(s) that we will use that evening. Not everyone has to work on the same instruction, but sometimes it seems to help, especially when there are a lot of new people. The instruction most people start with is "Tell me how you know you are aware." We use 5-minute bells to control the changeovers in the Dyad. We watch closely to make sure people are doing the Dyad correctly and may step in to correct gross errors. For a complete description of how to do the Dyads, see The Dyad.
  • Sometimes we do an additional practice that explores the nature of awareness. These can vary from session to session.

  After the formal part of the practice session is over, we spend a few minutes discussing what we did, hang out and talk for a little while, and then call it a night.

Additonal Topics

Preparation for Contemplation
Dogzen Dyads
Back to the main Dogzen page

Reutrn to EI page

This site is not affiliated with or any other site that uses the term "dogzen".
To contact Self & Other:
Copyright©1999-2006 Edrid