Vine of Obstacles Online Support for Zen Training: Applications Now Being Accepted

Vine of Obstacles: Online Support for Zen Training is a new way of studying Dogen Zen, integrating just-sitting and koan approaches.

Designed for practitioners living at home who yearn to realize and actualize the great matter of birth and death, we acknowledge both the difficulty of following through with our practice aspirations in the midst of daily life and the truth that this very bind can be a dharma gate.

We practice enlightenment through daily zazen, koan-inspired Dogen study, and engagement in the world. Supported by a small online community of like-minded practitioners and in consultation with Dosho, the player/coach, we delight in being edgy, innovative, and fun.

Vine of Obstacles Zen requires a commitment to ongoing awakening, to carrying out daily practice on one’s own, and to meeting Dosho regularly via Google Hangouts. It also requires participation in the Vine Moodle for study and connection with fellow students. The pace for Vine Moodle study is personalized so self-directed learner skills are important.

In addition to the Vine Moodle forums for community interaction and a basket of resources for zazen, Vine of Obstacles Zen now offers the following courses:

  • Guidelines for Practicing the Way is a primer on Zen practice that focuses on intention, practice-enlightenment, and receiving/actualizing the fundamental. This course includes supplementary readings, audio and reflection work that is shared with Dosho. A practitioner who recently completed the course remarked, “Guidelines has changed me. I’m more serious and more playful.”
  • Genjokoan (Actualizing the Fundamental Point) is widely regarded as a central work in Dogen Zen. It is a beautiful and subtle resolution to the question that drove the young Dogen’s inquiry – “If we’re originally enlightened, what’s the point of practice?” This course is designed to shake up and intensify our practice-enlightenment projects. It combines zazen, study, and engagement in new ways – particularly in the use of koans within the Genjokoan text that are to be actualized in practice meetings and daily life.
  • Buddha Nature has thirteen koans with commentary and checking questons, exploring the various luminous facets of the Buddha Nature koan. Students are invited to enter the koans and commentaries such that they cannot only be understood, but actualized in practice meetings and daily life. This course also includes working with a practice partner and exploring the use of capping phrases.

If you are interested in Vine of Obstacles training, please contact Dosho at vineofobstacleszen@gmail.com.

About the teacher
Dosho Port is a Zen teacher, successor of Dainin Katagiri Roshi, and currently involved in koan introspection with James Ford and Melissa Blacker of Boundless Way Zen. Dosho started training in 1977 and has been actively teaching since the early 1990’s. His current in-the-flesh teaching project is Wild Fox Zen in White Bear, MN. He plans to move to Portland, ME, in summer of 2014 to start a Zen training center.

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