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Lay-Entrusted Teachers Panel, CC 2/20

Wednesday, February 20, 7:30pm
with Laura Burges, Martha deBarros, Wendy Johnson, Robert Rosenbaum
and Laurie Schley Senauke.


In place of our usual dharma talk, City Center will host a panel discussion with Laura Burges, Martha deBarros, Wendy Johnson, Robert Rosenbaum and Laurie Schley Senauke, all of whom have received lay entrustment (full lay teaching authority) in the lineage of Suzuki Roshi.

This panel discussion will examine reasons for choosing lay or priest paths of practice; models of lay practice in different lineages; challenges of practicing as a layperson; and issues involved in integrating lay practice as a path that is recognized as fully equal to priest practice within our community.

Although Zen has a long history of lay practice in Japan, it largely took the form of monastic practice with laypeople restricted to a role of supporting their local temples and monks. Since Zen's arrival in America, however, the majority of practitioners have been laypeople. Recently, within our Soto Zen lineage, the importance of the role of lay teachers has been formally recognized through the process of lay entrustment.

Some of us have made a deliberate decision to devote ourselves to the dharma as laypeople. We see this as a path that differs in some ways from priest training but is equally important as a total life commitment.