One of the most profound New Year’s passages I can remember was practicing zazen in a downtown urban centre, when at the stroke of midnight the city around us became alive with shouts, banging pots, horns and such. The divergent motivations of the dharmic and worldly paths were never more apparent!
So if you are wondering how you will spend New Year’s Eve to usher in 2o13, consider the example of the Toronto Zen Centre…
Monday, December 31 The New Year’s Ceremony at the Toronto Zen Centre, which will be held on Monday evening, December 31, beginning at 8:00 pm, is an especially significant event.
The Ceremony brings into focus, in a very tangible and direct way, this time of renewal – both spiritual and physical. In advance of the ceremony, we prepare our homes and our practice at the Centre by a symbolic ritual of a thorough-going cleaning. During the ceremony we rededicate our practice: there is zazen, a repentance ceremony, chanting, taking the Precepts, a ringing of the temple bell 108 times, and a Peace Prayer. During periods of zazen, non-sitters may either wait in the downstairs kitchen, or use a chair in the zendo.
The evening’s formal events begin with rounds of zazen in the Zendo, followed by a Repentance Ceremony in the Buddha Hall. After a small break, we continue with Zazen and reading of participants’ new year’s Resolutions, followed by a special (and quite noisy!) Driving-out-the-Demons circumambulation of the entire house. At midnight, we hold a special Taking of the Precepts ceremony – Jukai. Afterwards we conclude with a beautiful candle lighting vigil, and a Reading of the New Year’s Prayer.
For further information about the event, visit the Toronto Zen Centre website.
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