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Guided Practice Group Resource Page – Spring 2024

Spring Term 2024 Dates:

Saturday Group: First Saturdays of the Month – March 2nd, April 6, May 4, June 1, and July 6
Thursday Group: First and Third Thursdays of the Month – March 7 and 21, April 4 and 18, May 2 and 16, June 6 and 20. 

See the dates on the BWZ Calendar


This term we will be exploring what it means to be “ordained into your life,” or to make all the activities, relationships, and circumstances of your life into things you consciously choose to engage as the field of your awakening. Participants will be asked to examine, and share about, such things as the nature of their work, primary relationships, care of their health, and leisure activities. We will discuss how to make each thing into practice, using the framing of the six paramitas (giving/generosity, ethics/precepts, patience/tolerance, diligence/energy, concentration/mindfulness, and wisdom (particularly, insight into impermanence, dukkha, and emptiness).


Our guiding text will be Reb Anderson’s Entering the Mind of Buddha: Zen and the Six Heroic Practices of BodhisattvasHere is a link to the book on Amazon so you can get some info on it. Ellen T. (BWZ member, in the Saturday group and owner of a bookstore) has several copies and can send them out to anyone. (Looks like Powell’s is out of stock at the moment.) 

Additional Resources on the Paramitas:

The Six Paramitas by Chan Master Sheng Yen (a concise description of the traditional teachings on the six paramitas)

Saturday Group Schedule/Syllabus:

March 2nd – Check in, introduction to the term’s theme and activities
April 6 – The Perfection of Giving & The Perfection of Ethics (Chapters 1 & 2)
May 4 – The Perfection of Patience & The Perfection of Enthusiasm (Chapters 3 & 4)
June 1 – The Perfection of Concentration (Chapter 5)
July 6 –  The Perfection of Wisdom (Chapter 6)

Thursday Group Schedule/Syllabus:

March 7 – Check in, introduction to the term’s theme and activities
March 21 – The Perfection of Giving (Chapter 1)
April 4 –  The Perfection of Ethics (Chapter 2)
April 18 – The Perfection of Patience (Chapter 3)
May 2 –  The Perfection of Enthusiasm (Chapter 4)
May 16 – The Perfection of Concentration (Chapter 5)
June 6 – The Perfection of Wisdom (Chapter 6)
June 20 – Wrap up?


Familiarize yourself with the paramita(s) that will be the subject of the next meeting.

Keep a daily journal about the intersection of the one or two relevant paramita(s) and each of these areas of your life:

  • Work (if you still work for income), including the details of the work you do, the environment in which you do it, and the associated relationships. 
  • Family, including relationships/interactions with spouses/partners, parents, children, and extended family.
  • Friends, including both serious and light-hearted interactions.
  • Responsibilities, including all the activities you do to take care of your home, pets, things, people, etc.
  • Health, including all the things you do to care for your own physical and mental health.
  • Service, including any things you do to be of benefit to others beyond your family and friends, in addition to your work.
  • Regeneration, including anything you do to rest, renew your energy and spirit, inspire you, etc.

At the end of your day, sit down and mentally review the day using the framing of these “life areas” and the relevant paramita(s). Where and when did the paramita become important? You may think of an example where you, or someone else, manifested that perfection. Or you may recognize when it was called for but not manifested so well.

Each day, try to write down descriptions of at least a couple situations where the paramita(s) intersected with your life. You don’t have to write it all out in prose unless you want to, you can just jot down enough notes to help you remember the circumstances. Be specific. Include names, circumstances, what was said, how you felt. 

At our meetings, each person will spend 10-15 minutes sharing a handful of stories from their journal that ended up being the most meaningful or thought-provoking (focusing on the relevant one or two paramitas for the day). Again, we will be specific. Rather than sharing in a very general way, like we might in a large group (“I notice sometimes in my relationships that I don’t feel very generous”), we want the nitty gritty (“When my friend Ed and I went out to dinner, I deliberately didn’t invite George because sometimes he’s not that fun to be around; I felt bad about it afterwards because I know George is kind of lonely”).