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Seon Practice Service – 108 Prostrations of Repentance and Renewal for the New Year
December 19, 2021 @ 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Seon (Zen) Practice Services are held each Sunday from 9:00am-11:00am at the, Historic Axe Factory building in Collinsville, Connecticut. For those new to Seon practice, please arrive at 8:30am for a brief introduction to the forms, which include chanting, bowing, sitting and walking meditation.
Today’s service includes the practice of recitation with corresponding 108 Bows of Repentance and Renewal
This ceremony is a wonderful way to orient our minds-hearts for the coming new year, and a powerful way to practice “together action,” as we support one another in renewing our commitment to the practice.
Below is a brief teaching from Zen Master Seung Sahn.
I look forward to practicing with you all.
Venerable Shim Bo
ABOUT BOWING MEDITATION
— Zen Master Seung Sahn
Most Buddhist paths include some form of bowing, or prostrations, in daily practice. Bowing is more than a show of respect for the Triple Gems (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha); they are an effective means to clear and purify the mind. Eliminating our dependence on the ego is an important step toward helping us understand the wisdom of Śūnyatā (Emptiness); bowing practice helps us to understand the Zen aspiration of “how may I help you?”.
For the westerner, bowing can at first seem superstitious or even irrational. While the concept of “being rid of the ego” may be understood as a means to eliminate suffering, some consider bowing practice to be demeaning or subservient. In an ego-centered society, like the one we live in today, how can we relate to such an archaic practice? It can be difficult for a western practitioner to demonstrate such a humble and devoted act as bowing (especially in the presence of others).
After a regular bowing practice, however, most come to experience its effectiveness. Bowing, through its physical motions, connects the body and the mind and can be especially useful when struggling with a difficult situation—as the practice can burn off restless energy and quiet the mind more efficiently than sitting meditation. At first, practitioners may wonder why we repent. We are not offering repentance to the Buddha, but to ourselves, and to all living beings. In essence, our small “I” is bowing to our big “I”. After some time, the small “I” disappears and we rely upon the big “I”. When this happens, we call this true bowing.