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Wed, May 15


Hinotori An


Sommer Retreat

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Time & Location

May 15, 2024, 4:00 AM – Jul 02, 2024, 10:00 PM

Hinotori An, Kinkelstrasse 10, 8006 Zürich, Switzerland


About The Event

Summer practice period” (Skt. varsa, varsika) is a Buddhist tradition dating from Shakyamuni Buddha’s time. The Sanskrit word varsa means “rain.” In India, during the three-month rainy season, Shakyamuni Buddha prohibited monks’ travel in order to prevent the killing of insects and worms while walking on muddy roads. The monks stayed together in one place to focus on studying Dharma and practice. Monks were allowed to make a simple hermitage in which to stay during the period. Later, Buddhist monasteries were established as places to stay during the three-month practice period. The rest of the year, the Buddha and the monks were travelling. The practice period is called Ge Ango (夏安居, summer peaceful abiding) in Japanese.

This tradition has been continued at Chinese and Japanese Zen monasteries even today. Usually, the summer practice period began on the 15th day (the full moon day) of the 4th lunar month and completed on the 15th day of the 7th month. A monk’s Dharma age was counted based on how many times the monk had completed the practice period. Those who had attended the practice period more than five times were called Acarya (阿闍梨, ajari), and those who had more than ten times were called Upadhyaya (和尚, Osho) and were able to be a teacher.

Dōgen Zenji, one of the founder of the Sotoshu, put emphasis on the significance of the summer practice period. He has established the formal ceremonies for the beginning and the end of the Ango (Peaceful Abiding).

He describes:

“Since the time of the King of the Empty Eon there has been no practice higher than this practice. Buddha ancestors have valued it exclusively, and it is the only thing that has remained free of the confusion caused by demons and deluded people outside the way. In India, China, and Japan all descendants of buddha ancestors have participated in the practice period, but deluded people outside the way have never engaged in it. Because it is the original heart of the single great matter of buddha ancestors, this teaching of practice period is the content of what is expounded from the morning of the Buddha’s attaining the way until the evening of pari-nirvana. There are Five Schools of home leavers in India, but they equally maintain a ninety-day summer practice period and without fail practice it and realize the way; and in China none of the monks in the Nine Schools have ever ignored the summer practice period. Those who have never participated in the summer practice period in their lifetimes cannot be called buddha disciples or monks. Practice period is not only a causal factor; it is itself practice-realization, it is itself the fruit of practice.” (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dōgen’s Shobo Genzo (Edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi, Shambhala) p.739-740 ).

Hinotori An is closed to all outside visitors during this time. Intensive Zen practice, contemplation, cleansing (fasting of the body and senses) and the cultivation of silence are held.



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