Work Practice

The Center schedules regular work practice on the second weekend of each month. It is mindful, silent cleaning and gardening. The work practice guideline, written by Ken Simon follows:

Mindful Work at The Dharma Center

It is helpful and important to understand “Work” at the Dharma Center as an integral part of the practice. As we know, practice is not just sitting on the cushion; there is sitting practice, walking practice, chanting practice, eating practice, etc. … and there is work practice. A good name for it is Mindful Working. It is not just that Mindful Working is mostly silent, but it is work that is done with awareness, with care and respect. When we are working mindfully — when we understand this as part of our practice, here is some of what is going on:

1) We are working with great care for the task at hand, paying careful attention so that the job gets done really well. Moment by moment we do it really well.

2) We know that this work is for our Dharma Center, and for our Sangha; thus there is a kind of sacredness, or preciousness to the work — this building, this community, are really the vessels which hold and support our practice and in a sense make it possible — so that as we work, this awareness informs our work moment by moment. (We can think of it as a piece of music — if the musician plays each note, one at a time, with great care, attention, and love, the piece will be beautiful).

3) Because we are aware of this sacredness, we are conscious moment by moment as we work that this is a rare opportunity to serve, and to develop generosity, the paramita of dana. And thus we are grateful.

4) We are conscious that we are doing this work not only for our own practice and for our Center, but also because supporting the Dharma Center will be an aid to the liberation of all beings; the presence of a strong and healthy Dharma Center touches the lives of many people in the larger community, each of whom touches the lives of many others, and so on and on.

It seems sensible that if we are going to be a part of an organization it is our responsibility to do some work to maintain it. But Mindful Working is done not simply out of a sense of responsibility. To the extent that we do our work out of a sense of responsibility, because we “should” — to that extent we are not doing Mindful Working; there will always be a great chasm between working because “I should” and working with great care, attention, love and gratitude. When working from a sense that “I should” there is a quality of coercion and tension, and the qualities of great care, attention, love, gratitude and generosity are not allowed to blossom. In working because “I should” the work might get done, but The Work will not get done! And the Dharma Center is really all about The Work.

Let us all be grateful for this opportunity!

There are many opportunities for mindful work practice at the Center: for example working in the house, in the garden, at meditation retreats, helping with the library and with the various communications (newsletter, website, mailings, calendar, etc.).