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CONTEMPORARY ZEN PRACTICE AND INQUIRY

Right Use of Power Teacher Training at San Francisco Zen Center

Right Use of Power Teacher Training led by Peg and Cedar Barstow wraps up in San Francisco.

10/20/18 12:49:pm

Dear Sangha-

Yesterday was the last day of the Right Use of Power Teacher Training at San Francisco Zen Center. Twenty-one people from all levels of the organization completed this training and they are now planning ways to incorporate it across the organization. Below you can see our class photo in the beautiful SFZC dining room, with Linda Galijan, President of SFZC, her husband Greg Fain, and David Zimmerman, incoming abbot in the front row along with Cedar Barstow and me. Not shown in the photo, because he had to leave a bit earlier, is our own Appamada sangha member John Cooley, now training at Green Gulch.

It was wonderful to be leading this training with Cedar, the founder of Right Use of Power, and a good friend, especially with such wholehearted, caring, and attentive participants.  We ended with certificates and a short closing service that had come to me in zazen a few weeks ago. I thought folks in the sangha might be interested in what we chanted together. I think it should sound pretty familiar!

Right Use of Power Closing Service

Introduction by leader:

We have all been harmed by misuse of power, and we have all caused harm.
Let us be clear and truthful in facing this reality.

Repentances

All harm I have caused throughout time and space,
From beginningless misuse of power
Borne by my body, speech, and mind,
I now fully avow.

All harm we have caused throughout time and space,
From beginningless misuse of power
Borne by our collective body, speech, and mind,
We now fully avow.

All harm that has been caused throughout time and space,
From beginningless misuse of power
Borne by our structures and systems,
We now fully avow.

Refuges

In the past, I took refuge in personal power;*
In the past, I took refuge in role power;
In the past, I took refuge in status power.

For the present I take refuge in clear awareness;
For the present I take refuge in learning and growing;
For the present I take refuge in connection and care.

Facing the future, I seek refuge in the boundless light of wisdom;
Facing the future, I seek refuge in the open heart of compassion;
Facing the future, I seek refuge in the community of all being.

Vows

Beings are vulnerable, I vow to use my power with care;
Delusions are inevitable, I vow to seek and use feedback;
Missteps and harm are unavoidable, I vow to work wholeheartedly toward repair;
Practice gates are everywhere, I vow to enter them.

The right use of power is wise, skillful, and kind, I vow to walk this path.

 

*note that when we take refuge in personal power, it might be our own, or someone else’s, for example when we revere some leader, or when people do not use their power, which we feel is itself a misuse of power

 

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