Fall 2020 Practice Period, Online 9/29 - 12/5

Practice Center
Date / Time
Sep 29, 2020 / 5:40am - Dec 5, 2020 / 6:00pm
Event Type
Practice Periods

Fierce Compassion: Enacting Bodhisattva Principles in a Troubled World

Led by Tenzen David Zimmerman and Rinso Ed Sattizahn
September 29 – December 5

This Fall 2020 Practice Period will be conducted online for all participants. Zoom links will be provided for all those registered.

Applications are due by September 29.

About the Fall 2020 Practice Period

A Practice Period is a traditional intensive training period common in the schools of Buddhism and varying between six to twelve weeks in length. There are three practice periods offered each year at our City Center temple—Winter, Spring, and Fall.

The theme of the ten-week Fall Practice Period is “Fierce Compassion: Enacting Bodhisattva Principles in a Troubled World.” A bodhisattva is a being who is selflessly dedicated to freeing others from the suffering caused by fear and ignorance and helping them recognize and manifest their own awake nature. Archetypes of wisdom and compassion, the bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism are powerful and compelling images of awakening, courage, and fierce love. A bodhisattva is not a god or deity but a way of being we can all enact and aspire to. The bodhisattva ideal can help focus our vision and deepen our courage as we move our practice into the world and engage with the various forms of suffering and injustice we encounter.

During this ten-week practice period, we’ll explore in particular the history, lore, and imagery of seven classic bodhisattva archetypal figures: Siddhartha Gautama, Manjusri, Samantabhadra, Avalokitesvara, Ksitigarbha, Maitreya, and Vimalakirti. We’ll consider their characteristics, psychology, spiritual resources, and embodiment as well as how we might ourselves take up practices that cultivate the particular principles and qualities they represent. We’ll also bring these archetypes to life by identifying contemporary figures─both well-known and those personal to us─who embody the aspects of the seven bodhisattvas.

As part of the practice period, David Zimmerman and Ed Sattizahn will teach an eight-week class, Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression, on Tuesdays, October 6 – November 24, 7:30 – 9 pm. The primary text for both the practice period and the class will be Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression by Taigen Dan Leighton (Wisdom Press, Boston 2012).

This Fall Practice Period is a chance to develop and deepen your practice together with others in a supportive environment and through activities including daily sitting, study, and weekly sangha discussion. The practice period is open to beginners and experienced practitioners alike.

There will be two one-day sittings, on October 3 and November 7. The practice period concludes with a seven-day Rohatsu sesshin, beginning the evening of Saturday, November 28 and ending on Saturday, December 5.

Full participation fee includes one-day sittings and the sesshin.
Basic participation requires separate registration and payment for the one-day sittings and the sesshin.

Both full and basic participation in the practice period includes:

  • Recordings of Dharma talks given on Wednesdays and Saturdays which will be available to watch at any time.
  • Recordings of additional Dharma talks given during sesshin.
  • Access to videos of the practice period class, Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression. The recorded video will be available for download for those who cannot attend live.
  • Downloads of handouts, readings, and exercises.
  • An online zendo to sit with others each morning Monday through Saturday and early evenings Monday through Friday. The online zendo is also the link for Dharma talks.
  • Interactive meetings with the practice leaders and other participants via video conference calls.
  • Opportunity to have an online sangha relationship with other students via the practice period website.
Fee Information

Full participation, including class and one-day sittings and sesshin:
$349 general; $315 current members; $244 limited income.

Basic participation, including class (one-day sittings and sesshin require separate registration and payment):
$189 general; $170 current members; $132 limited income.

Registration Information

Register Online For full participation

Register Online For basic participation

Or call 415-354-0360 for registration assistance.

Please complete this Online Questionnaire.

Access to the practice period website will be provided a week prior to the practice period.

Deadline for registration is September 29. Some partial scholarships are available; please review this page for more information.