O-An’s rustic setting and simple, quiet center are conducive to sitting meditation, but it is our sangha, or community of practitioners, that is the lifeblood of our Zendo.
Sangha is a Sanskrit term that originally referred to Buddha’s monastic community, but it has evolved to include a lay spiritual community or group of Zen Buddhist friends. At O-An Zendo we are an informal, intimate group of meditation practitioners who provide safety and support for each other’s spiritual journeys.
In addition to sitting together, we engage in samu, a silent, mindful work practice which includes cleaning and maintaining the zendo’s building and grounds. We enjoy working together to prepare for our seasonal celebrations, including Buddha’s birthday, in the spring; Udumbara, the first transmission of Buddha’s teaching, in the summer; O-Bon, remembrance of those departed, in the fall; and Rohatsu, Buddha’s Enlightenment, in the winter.
In November 2010, our sangha had a significant role in preparing the zendo for its first Jukai Ceremony in which our teacher, Meido Barbara Anderson, received the Ten Buddhist Precepts and lay ordination in the Soto lineage. She was subsequently ordained as a priest in the Soto Zen lineage in April 2011. Since then, five other members of O-An Zendo have received the Buddhist Precepts and lay ordination.
Whether in sitting or walking meditation, gathering for seasonal celebrations, discussing the Precepts, or bowing to each other in our closing circle, our sangha cultivates and makes manifest the Oneness at the heart of Zen.