A challenge facing practice in lay Zen centers: How to maintain the balance between availability and surrender? Barry Magid April 15th 2017

There are some aspects of monastic life which, by virtue of the tradition, aren't up for negotiation or change. Monastics leave their lay lives behind and enter a world where their personal sense of convenience, preferences, and likes or dislikes, are largely irrelevant. The assumption is that prior to this your life has been tyrannized by precisely these preferences, and if you don't like what's going on, well, so much the better. This is a powerful kind of practice. In a lay center, we practice in the midst of the very lives monastics leave. The responsibility we have is to hold and maintain the Dharma, as we ourselves are shaped by the forms and structures of the Dharma. It is a difficult thing to make it available and convenient, without making it too convenient. It's supposed to be something you have to sacrifice to participate in. We have the unique challenge of asking ourselves what responsibility do we have to hold and maintain this practice and keep it going, and it the same time, what would make it work in our lives?

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