Ordinary Mind Guidelines

These preliminary guidelines are offered by Robert Rosenbaum for discussion.
As the sangha develops, they will naturally evolve.

Deeply Ordinary
All forms of Zen see the dharma realized in everyday activity.
We emphasize ordinary activity
is the dharma.
Family life, work, play, our relationships with people and the world which sustains us - these are our Buddha fields.
Laying down a path by walking
Our practice is alive. It changes in response to circumstances.
Sangha emerges from our practice, and our practice emerges from our sangha.
Nothing Special, Nothing Hidden
There is no “more” or “less” to devotion.
Everyone has full access to learning and teaching the forms and ceremonies of our practice.
We do not ordain priests. We respect and honor those who feel called to take priestly vows, and we them o join us, but ask they not wear clothing or seek special considerations which set them apart from others.
Practicing the Buddhist precepts helps promote a harmonious, satisfying life together with all we encounter. We approach the precepts not as fixed moral commandments but as koans, which challenge us to figure out how to express them in the specific circumstances of everyday life.
We encourage everyone, when they are ready, to study and take the precepts formally in a ceremony with the sangha.
Home Sweet Home
At OMZ we do not distinguish between home-leavers (monks) and lay people. All sangha members are commoners - we hold the Dharma in common with each other. We do not have to leave home to practice. Our practice is to return, again and again, to our original true home without clinging to anything or pushing anything away.
Practice is not Preparation
We do not meditate to become enlightened - we meditate as an expression of the enlightenment we share with all being. Zazen and all we do in the Zendo are complete in themselves. They are not training exercises to better ourselves for some future purity. Zazen and Zendo practice’s being-in-itself reminds us to return to just this in all our activities.
Minding Mind
Meditation helps us touch Original Mind: unconditioned, unborn, undying. This very mind is the enlightened basis of our practice.
Our conditioned mind - thoughts, feelings, urges, sensations, awareness reflects our individual experience. Psychological insight and behavior change help us cope with this conditioning.
Original Mind and conditioned mind fit together like the foot before and the foot behind in walking. Mind is ungraspable; mindfulness is full engagement.
Formality and Freedom
Our forms give us a space in which to practice, a way to share together what we do in the zendo. We follow the forms whole-heartedly while letting go of judgments of self or other.
All zendo forms are available to be led by everyone, but training in the forms is necessary. We value both non-hierarchical equality and the value of teacher-student relationships.
Every where, Every when
We encourage daily meditation practice, and offer a place where people can meditate regularly. This provides us with a foundation for our Ordinary Mind practice which is continuous - not done on a schedule, here but not there, at some times but not others.
We are guided by Eihei Dogen’s
Genjo Koan and Charlotte Joko Beck’s practice principles:
When you find your place where you are,
practice occurs,
actualizing the fundamental point.

When you find your way at this moment,
practice occurs,
actualizing the fundamental point.

For the place, the way,
is neither large nor small,
neither yours nor others'
has not carried over from the past,
and it is not merely arising now.
Caught in a self-centered dream
    - only suffering.

Holding to self-centered thoughts
    - exactly the dream.

Each moment,
life as it is
    - the only teacher.

Being just this moment
    - compassion's way