Order of the Boundless Way (United States)
- By Fa Lohng Shakya
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Fundamental to the philosophy of Boundless Mind Zen is the recognition that teachers themselves are also students of Zen and that the nature and quality of their teaching is derived from their own understanding and practice. As continuing students, they are committed to an openness and fluidity of teaching and practice, and may develop and apply diverse approaches to their methods of teaching. Boundless Way practitioners seek to integrate spirituality into their day-to-day lives by way of Zen practice. We recognize that everyday life is Zen practice, and that everyday life is different for everyone. Thus, though we may often practice various disciplines together, members of the Order are primarily independent seekers. Rev. Gu Lang Practicing individually as monks, ascetics, wayfarers (dojin) and ministers, we are united by several common beliefs and practices.
Enter through the Open Gate
The gate or gateway, is an iconic symbol of entry into the spiritual realm. When one passes through such a gate, one has symbolically passed through the invisible barrier into the spiritual realm. In China, and even more so in Japan, actual physical gates are erected and recognized as shrines, but this can be a bit confusing to people. The gate itself is not the shrine but simply the doorway to the shrine. Typically what is seen as sacred is actually that which is beyond the gate. This sacred space could be a beautiful meadow, a path through the forest, a distant mountain, or simply a breathtaking panoramic view.
One of the most sacred texts of Zen is entitled Mumonkan, which translates to English as The Gateless Gate or what we Westerners would think of as a gateway without any doors to open. This is an important thing to note, because a gateway without doors is not a barrier, but rather a free passage, an opportunity to enter without restrictions. Thus, the open gate is symbolically a free entrance through an imaginary barrier, the barrier we create out of our own fears and preconceptions. Zen itself is seen as an example of an open gate, a passageway into the spiritual (or enlightened) realm, an entrance without restriction.
It is with this in mind that the members of The Order of the Boundless Way came to refer to their new meditation hall as - the Open Gate Zendo. A place open to anyone who wishes to practice or experience Zen meditation and/or Zen arts without obligations or expectations. The Open Gate Zendo replaces Koin-An as our primary place of practice but continues on with the tradition of being open to everyone regardless of their spiritual beliefs or religious affiliations.
The newly constructed Zendo is built in traditional Japanese style on the grounds of the adjacent teacher's residence, known as Lone Wolf Hermitage. Together these structures are the beginnings of what will become the primary training facility of the Order of the Boundless Way and the Boundless Mind Zen School. Construction continues as the main entrance hall and related facilities are realized through dedication to practice and volunteer efforts.
One day, the facilities at Open Gate Zendo will include an authentic tea garden and dojo (training hall) for continued lessons in the Zen art forms that began at Koin-An, but this will be a journey taken with mindfulness one step at a time.
Fa Lohng Shakya
Open Gate Zendo
4123 Biscay Street NW
Olympia WA 98502