Frequently Asked Questions
The following FAQ is designed to address basic questions and concerns. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please feel free to stop by any of the public programs or drop Konin a note. She is open to an encounter with you.
Who can practice at EZSC?
EZSC is a virtual practice center that welcomes practitioners across geography, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, class, race and ethnicity, disability, age and any other identifier. We are an inclusive community. That said, EZSC practitioners are expected to have a relationship with a local sitting group or a local teacher to complement their participation in online teachings.
Is EZSC open to new students?
Yes! Though there are a variety of resources on this site which practitioners can access on their own, the student-teacher relationship is very important. It is best to establish a regular practice discussion with your teacher, and together explore your practice commitment. To explore the possibility of becoming one of Konin's students, please speak to Konin, either in person or by filling out the contact request form below.
Who can be in residence at EZSC?
EZSC is does not have it's own physical practice center. All practice opportunities are online, or at the facilities of other practice centers. Konin is the Guiding Teacher at Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, New York, USA and anyone is welcome to practice with her there.
4 POINTS PRACTICE MODEL
Why did you choose these particular activities for the Four Points Practice Model?
I have received years of training in each of the activities that the model suggests. For example, I have been a volunteer chaplain, a hospital chaplaincy intern, and a professional chaplain working in the hospice setting. In each of these forms of service, I found experiences that deeply inform my student - teacher relationships, and ground my understanding of the Dharma of suffering and freedom from suffering. The same is true of all of the other activities presented here.
Is the four points practice model intended to replace traditional monastic temple practice?
No. Traditional monastic practice is incredibly valuable. It enables an integration of intention, awareness and activity that demonstrates how every moment of our life is a manifestation of buddhanature. However, at EZSC, we recognize that monastic practice can be hard to access. So we make explicit a variety of skillful activities to support us in finding integration in the midst of modern life. That is the basis for the Four Points Practice Model.
Why is social engagement so important?
When you truly encounter another person and put yourself in the position to be of service, then you find the ways in which each one of us is a unique being living a shared experience of humanity. This is a worthwhile practice, and cannot be learned simply by reading about it.
Why is study important? Isn’t Zen “beyond words and letters?"
Yes, Zen means dropping off all conceptual schemes and abiding in the momentary arising and falling away that includes everything. However, the study of Buddhist literature is a very important way for us to encounter the wisdom of others and to experience their practice as an inspiration, as a pointer. That way, we bring an inspired practice to life in this very moment.
Why is sitting and ritual relevant when we could be taking action?
Sitting and ritual are equally activities of engagement with the world. Finding our dharma position, we ground ourselves in the moment of symbolic activity, and allow it to teach us something about the nature of life. Then our so called mundane actions can also come from a place of wisdom and compassion.
What does sangha mean and what does it have to do with inclusion?
Those who fully engage the study of the self become leaders whether in personal life, in a community, or at work. They are people who have a vision that inspires others. Developing a vision requires clear seeing, an insight into the nature of human life and the ways in which we experience fulfillment and despair. Zen offers a teaching of clear seeing into the true nature of experience, a path that can lead to an awakening life for oneself and others. Sangha means community.