About a week ago my sangha entered what’s known as Ango. Ango translates to “peaceful dwelling” and is a period of intensified practice. It is an old tradition that was practiced during the time of Shakyamuni Buddha. Monks would come together during the monsoon season to deepen and intensive their practice. Our Ango is six weeks long and begins during the start of Portland’s rainy season (or, I should say, Portland’s more-rainy season).
Members who wanted to participate in Ango each completed an Ango commitment form. Basically this was a sheet of paper on which had different ideas of how one could intensify her practice and space to elucidate how you would intensify your practice. Participants turned in these forms for review by the teacher. During the Ango opening ceremony our shusso (head of zendo) read the names of all those participating in Ango.
My Ango commitment is the following:
- start a daily sitting practice
- attend a sanzen
- maintain mindfulness practice, specifically when exercising and with regard to the cleanliness of my apartment
- read The Heart of Being, John Daido Loori’s book about the precepts.
- start a daily writing practice
So far I’ve been doing fairly well. I’ve sat nearly daily. I attended my first sanzen. I’ve been working on being mindful when exercising (not listening to music, watching tv), and have been keeping the apartment fairly tidy. I’ve had the most trouble, however, with establishing a daily writing practice. For the most part I have things to write about, but I’ll feel tired or worn out or simply want to do something else.