2021 Spring Practice Period and Class

The Many Expressions of the Bodhisattva Ideal

Feb 28-May 2

In this Practice Period we will study the many expressions of the Bodhisattva ideal, using Taigen Daniel Leighton’s book Bodhisattva Archetypes: Classic Buddhist Guides to Awakening and their Modern Expression (1998, Penguin). We will study the major figures from ancient times and their characteristics, then begin to identify the ways in which they and contemporary figures offer us models for conducting our own lives. 

Bring vigor to your Practice for these 9 weeks

Expected participation (Pick 3)
  • Classes: Sundays 3/7, 3/28, 4/4, 4/25, 5/2;  1:30-3pm  Pre-class reading beginning Feb 28, with a significant amount of reading between sessions
  • Sesshins: March 5-6, April 24 half day morning, April 30 - May 1
  • Formal Full moon ceremonies: March 29, April 27
  • Work period in-person at 740 Park: March 27 morning & April 24 afternoon
  • Sunday programs in the weeks Gene is in the schedule:  2/28, 3/7, 3/28, 4/4, 4/25, 5/2
Optional participation (Pick at least 1)
  • Engage in dharma conversation in pairs or small groups. Make a plan for at least one hour per week with a study buddy or small group.
  • Make something with your own hands to give away.
  • Taste the dharma offerings of another zen center, remotely. What do you observe there that would be supportive in the AZG community?

To Register for Practice Period, email Gene and tell him what you are promising.

To Register for the classes, contact Milli at [email protected] or 707-616-9168.  Fees for the class are:  sliding scale $5 - $15 per class.  


For Class on April 4

We will hear a summary of the Bodhisattva named Avalokiteshvara, known as the Hearer of the Cries of the World, and noted for her compassion and skillful means. 

We will continue to inquire: Who in your life (contemporary public figure, family member, movie or book character) exemplifies the characteristics of these archetypes? 


Preparing to work with this question: ‘Can you describe a way in which you yourself can cultivate the qualities we admire so much in these figures?’, we will review a study of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness and the Four Great Endeavors.


Continuing to recognize that there are parallels between the Bodhisattva archetypes and the 4 vows we recite frequently, we agree that Manjushri the Perfect Wisdom Bodhisattva supports us in our intention, “Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to end them.” In some translations this is read as, “I vow to transform them.” 

What other parallels do you see?


Finally, a brief overview of Kishitigarbha (the Earth Mother) and Maitreya (the Buddha of the future) will prepare us for the April 25 class.