Teishos are formal Zen commentaries on a Buddhist text, koan, or other topic presented by Roshi. Recorded teishos given by Roshi Graef are played during extended sittings on the last Sunday of the month.
Several times a year members participate in an intensified practice schedule lasting from two to six weeks. During this time participants decide for themselves how to make an increased commitment to sitting, chanting, precept practice, community work and other Dharma-related activities. There is a meeting each week for Term Students to discuss their weekly progress and support each other. The Intensive Program is one of the most effective ways to strengthen and deepen Zen practice.
Famine Relief Ceremonies
Every quarter we conduct a ceremony to help those who are suffering from hunger. During the ceremony, members donate food and money, which is sent to organizations that relieve hunger.
Study Groups give members an opportunity to engage in informal discussion, ask questions, and share understanding of various topics related to Buddhism. In Study Groups, we explore the fundamental teachings of Zen and their relation to daily life and practice. For example, How can I live the practice of Buddhism? What is right livelihood? How can I rid myself of the destructive forces of greed, anger and ignorance? How can I balance the demands of family life, work, and Zen practice?
These talks are presented by senior members of the Center. They deal with different aspects of Zen practice and training.
Workshops offer discussions of fundamental Buddhist teachings and instruction in the practices of Zen meditation. Workshops are held every two or three months, usually on Saturday afternoons. They are conducted by senior members of the Casa Zen. All day workshops are usually held when Roshi is in Costa Rica. Workshops include vegetarian lunch and/or refreshments, as well as short rounds of meditation—sitting and walking—discussions and question periods.
Extended Sittings and Sesshins
Sesshins are intensive silent meditation retreats lasting from one to seven days. The Casa Zen also has half day, full day, and two-full-day sittings. If space is available, non-members are welcome to come to all-day sittings.
Chanting, or liturgical recitation, is held weekly during sittings. Most chants are in Spanish and are easily followed in the chanting books which are distributed at the beginning of the service.
Dokusan is a private meeting with Roshi to discuss spiritual practice. It is available to trial members and students of Roshi. Dokusan is offered at every formal sitting when Roshi is in town. During sesshins, dokusan is offered three times a day.
There are many Buddhist ceremonies observed at our Center throughout the year.