About Work Practice
TRAINING IN MINDFUL WORK PRACTICE
Work practice is an important part of Zen training in monasteries and Zen temples around the world. On the one hand, work practice accomplishes many of the tasks that are necessary in maintaining and improving the life of the sangha. On the other hand, work practice is another opportunity to deeply explore what our life is about, both individually and in relation to others and the world. It is an expression of appamada—mindful, energetic care. Please bring to work practice as much care, curiosity, and whole-heartedness as you bring to zazen. There is no difference.
Before you begin, observe the scene carefully. You will be returning it to that state. If you have to move anything, be sure to replace it where it belongs.
Take appropriate safety measures to protect yourself and others.
Locate and use the appropriate tools and assistance for the job.
Get expert help if necessary. Check with the work leader if you have any questions.
If you complete your task, let the work leader know, so that you can be given a new assignment.
Never, under any circumstances, take instruction or correction as criticism. You are not being judged.
Work mindfully. Give the work your full attention. Mindfully does not mean slowly. It means with your full attention and care.
Leave no trace. Clean tools and return them to their proper place. Make sure all debris is cleaned up completely.
Observe the scene carefully before you leave. Is everything neat, clean, and in order?
Appreciate the work that has been done. If working with others, come together at the end of work practice and bow together.
Continue in mindfulness the rest of the day.