“It may appear on the surface that it was written strictly with practicing monks in a monastic situation in mind, and that it has no bearing on the daily lives of most people. However, if we get under the surface to touch its deeper meaning, there can be no doubt that a vibrant and practical teaching has been set down; a teaching relevant to all of us, regardless of where we might be living.” – Kosho Uchiyama on the Tenzo Kyōkun
The Tenzo Kyōkun (Instructions to the Head Cook) is a short manuscript (16 pages) of practice instructions written in 1237 by Dogen Zenji (founder of Soto Zen in Japan). One might think that the ‘instruction’ Dogen lays out is just for cooks, but in fact they are instructions for how all of us may choose to live our lives as Zen practitioners. From describing lessons learned on his trip to China as a young Zen aspirant to a discussion of the 6 realms and the three minds (joyful mind, magnanimous mind, and grandparental mind), Dogen offers timeless guidance on the ideals, character, and disposition of any student of Zen. In this 6-part class we will study this ancient practice manual and what it has to offer us here and now. Kosho Uchiyama’s commentary, From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment is recommended but not required.
Pat Yingst has practiced Zen since 1990 and is one of the original members of the AZC sangha. She began in the Rinzai tradition and, although an active Soto practitioner at AZC, still attends Rinzai sesshins twice a year at Dai Bosatsu Zendo in New York. Her teachers include Joshu Sasaki, Barbara Kohn, Kosho McCall, and Shinge Roshi Sherry Chayat. Pat has 12 years of experience teaching Buddhism and meditation in local prisons, and
currently serves as one of Austin Zen Center’s Practice Leaders.
As always, AZC is committed to making the teachings available to everyone. To request financial assistance from our Scholarship Fund, or if you would like to donate to the Fund for others to be able to participate, please call Susan Hansen at 512-452-5777.