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Ango and unfulfilled commitment

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #323967

    Jennifer
    Participant

    I have a friend who had intended to live at a zen monastery for the period of a year. Unfortunately, shortly after the beginning of ango, he had a severe flare up of lyme and had to leave the monastery to undergo treatment. His treatment is now over, but he is suffering severe despondency over not having been able to fulfill his ango commitment of more intense dedicated study and practice. I would really appreciate any insight you can provide to help relieve his angst. He is reluctant to return to the monastery for the end of ango services this weekend bc he is afraid of being judged (which I don’t think he will be… but this is also based on his own direct history with the monastics).

    Thank you in advance!

    #324035

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jennifer:

    Wikipedia states that the word ango literally translates as “dwelling in peace’. It states: “ango a Japanese term for a three-month period of intense training for students of Zen Buddhism lasting anywhere from 90 to a100 days. The practice during ango consists of meditation (zazen), study, and work”. Also, many Buddhist centers allow members to attend retreats of a part-time basis, over a three month long period of intensified practice that members can participate in while continuing to go off to work during the day.

    Maybe your friend does not have to show up late to the ango he planned on going to, and instead he can attend an ango in a different center, or monastery- on a part time basis or a full time. Until then, a Zen practice outside of any center can bring back to him that peace that he lost, so that he can be “dwelling in peace” again.

    anita

    #324157

    Jennifer
    Participant

    He does have a daily practice. I believe the problem for him is that he started ango at the monastery… He committed himself to fulfilling a specific plan of intense practice… life happened… he wasn’t physically or mentally fit to fulfill that promise… and now he doesn’t feel worthy to go to the end of ango ceremony. I believe he feels that by not fulfilling his commitment he will suffer negative karma and that he will not be welcomed back by the sangha… which I’m sure is false… I obviously can’t simply talk sense into him. I’m looking for guidance … wisdom… to share with him that will allow him to forgive himself and make him feel more secure about returning to the sangha despite a failed commitment.

    #324171

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jennifer:

    I will be able to read and reply to your recent post when I am back to the computer, in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

    #324241

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jennifer:

    I am not familiar with monasteries and my first exposure to the word Ango has been reading your thread. I then read about it in Wikipedia.

    You seem to care a lot for this person. Why not approach that monastery yourself and direct your questions to the people there who direct the Ango. Maybe you will get them to help him.

    anita

    #324341

    Jennifer
    Participant

    Thank you. I did email a monastic but they were in sesshin and were unable to respond. Thankfully, I was able to get my friend to come to the end of ango services on Sunday (yesterday). He was worried, but vastly relieved when my ‘prediction’ that he’d be welcomed back with open arms irregardless of his fulfillment/lack of fulfillment. I’m so happy for him. And thank you all so much for taking the time to respond and ease my worry for my friend 🙂 He’s back on the path and hopefully will now move forward without dwelling on the past. Namaste (Gassho in zen) – jen

    #324387

    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Jennifer. You are a good friend. This man is fortunate.

    anita

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