Fall 2019 Study Intensive

What Are We Chanting and Why?

Study of Sutras and Enlightenment Poems

Sept 29 - Nov 3

The purpose of this series is to become more deeply familiar with the teachings we recite on a regular basis.

This series has three components:

  • a closed study group – direct instruction and small group work with Gene
  • an open group – peer-with-peer time set aside for copying
  • Independent study

Participants will choose one or more of the following components:

Study Group

Direct instruction and small group work, for those committed to all four sessionsThis class will meet 11:30-1:00 on each of these days:  

  • Sept 29, Overview & India            
  • Oct 6, China                    
  • Oct 27, Japan                  
  • Nov 3, transition to the West*

*In order that we remain united in our intention and study, anyone who has participated in any way in this series is welcome to come to the final (Nov 3) class to share learnings and potential next steps.

Sutra copying and study

For those who will determine their own schedule of participation, self-organizing open groups.      Participants of this component will meet for at least four sessions, times to be arranged by those who wish to work  in pairs, triads or small groups. People will meet to hand-copy the teaching(s) of their choice. Guidelines will be given for hand-copying; participants will provide their own materials.  I strongly recommend that these participants meet together on temple grounds after sitting zazen together in the regular schedule.

Independent study

Members of this group may choose to use on-line resources or the many selections in the AZG library to study the background information for each teaching.  These are the areas to address:

  • Who wrote this? What is known about this person? When did they live? When did they write this?
  • In what cultural context? For what audience?
  • What is the primary theme? What are the sub-themes?
  • How would you characterize this? (is it poetic, esoteric, devotional, instructional, some combination of elements, …?)
  • What words or phrases are intriguing? Confusing? Inspiring? …?
  • What would you say is the application of this teaching to contemporary times?

Specifically, what is the application of this teaching to your life?

Study Materials

Recommended text for all sections: Zen Chants: 35 Essential Texts with Commentary, Kazuaki Tanahashi, Shambala, 2015

Dates to Note

Sesshin – Oct 3,4,5. Includes oryoki meals

Study Group Classes – 11:30-1:00,  Sept 29, Oct 6, Oct 27, Nov 3 

Sesshin – Nov 1, 2 (includes HSU students)

Study Intensive Commitment

Study Intensive information and Commitment Forms for participating in the full Study Intensive are available in the zendo and at Trillium on Sundays. Give your completed Commitment Form to Gene.
FileCommitment form


Registration is required for class attendance. Fees are $5.00 to $15.00 per session sliding scale and scholarships are available. Place registration forms in the envelope in the zendo or at Trillium on Sundays.


Sutras and Enlightenment Poems

Bodhisattva Never Disparaging

Buddha's Parinirvana

Eihei Koso Hotsuganmon

Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo


Genjo Koan

Heart Sutra 

Hymn to Prajna Paramita

Identity of Relative and Absolute 

Jijuyu Zanmai

Life Span of the Tathagata

Maka Hannya Haramitta Shin Gyo

Metta Sutta 

Prayer for Peace

Robe Chant 

Setting in Motion the Wheel of Dhamma Sutta

Shosai Myo Kichijo Dharani

Song of the Grass Hut 

Song of the Jewel Mirror Samadhi 

Song of the Trusting Mind 

Song of Zazen