January 2018 Doan-Ryo Training- with Koji Dreher & Mako Voelkel

During the second half of January there will be several opportunities for training in the various Doan-ryo roles. Members of the Doan-ryo are generically called “doans” despite the doan being one of the particular roles. Doans serve in the ceremonial roles of the temple and in our daily services. Not only do they keep the instruments and other implements of our ceremonial life clean and well-tended, they also care for each person who comes to practice at AZC by exemplifying our zendo forms and by cultivating connection within the community of practitioners.

Going deeper with the zendo forms and participating in ceremonial roles enriches and deepens our practice, both individually and collectively. Each of the Doan-ryo positions, whether it be caring for our altars, calling people to the zendo for zazen or ceremonies, sounding bells, leading chants, playing the drum, carrying incense and so forth, offers a unique opportunity to study both settledness and unsettledness of the self in an intentional and specific way. For example, in seeking balance and harmony with one another while in our individual roles, there lies an opportunity to see within ourselves and to practice finding our composure with whatever arises: whether it be nervousness, arrogance, self-consciousness, judgment or, feelings of deep interconnectedness and loving-kindness. Working with the nuances of our felt experience while simultaneously letting go of our limited and egoistic self-concerns is both a devotional practice as well as a practice of mindfulness. And when we take responsibility for our communal practice with others, it strengthens our community and our shared container for practice. At AZC, Doan-ryo training is available to any member who regularly attends zazen and services and is interested in deepening their practice by supporting the practice of others.

Doan-Ryo Positions:

  • Chiden: the person who cares for the altars and all of the ceremonial implements; from dusting altars to sifting ash to making flower arrangements.
  • Greeter: the person who welcomes visitors, answers general questions, and direct newcomers to zazen or meditation instruction, ensuring that they feel met and welcome.
  • Jiko: the ceremonial attendant; carries the incense for and attends to the officiating Priest.
  • Fukudo: the person who sounds the Han (wooden block), or the Densho (big bell) which calls people to the Meditation Hall for Zazen, ceremonies, and lectures. The Fukudo also plays the drum or mokugyo (wooden fish) during service to keep the beat.
  • Doan: the person who keeps time and rings bells during service and zazen. The doan also begins and ends walking meditation (kinhin) with clackers (kaishaku).
  • Kokyo: chant leader; announces and leads the chant and invokes the dedication (eko).

For those who are interested in receiving doan-ryo training, send an email to mako@austinzencenter.org with the best times for you from Jan 16-29.