Transat Jacques Vabre: Le Havre Bahia.

On the great road of Buddha ancestors there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained.  It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off.  Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana there is not a moment’s gap; continuous practice is the circle of the way.

Dogen Zenji, Continuous Practice, Fascicle 1, Circa 1242, Fukakusa

The aim of practice is to free the body and mind, to return to the miraculous wonder of who we are and to manifest our realization in our life.  This has always been the purpose of the teaching (dharma) and continues to this day.
In Lost Coin we call the manifestation of the power of practice: excellence.
In former times training occurred in the context of a monastery.  What makes Lost Coin “modern” and unique is its emphasis on carrying out this training in the context of  daily life.
A part of this that I would like to focus on is training positions.  Training for excellence and mindfulness(practice) was carried out in the monastery by sitting (zazen) as well as assuming certain duties and responsibilities: anything from being the cook (tenzo) to the administrator (kanin).  There were also positions that put people in close touch with the teacher and afforded close personal training.  One of these positions is the teacher’s personal assistant (the jisha).  These training positions are an opportunity to really accelerate one’s practice and work towards excellence, but they must be undertaken with a clear understanding and aspiration. They are more potent than coaching.  They are training in action.  They are not something to figure out.  They require the desire to overcome obstacles as well as the ability to fail and keep going.
There is an old saying: seven times down, eight times up.  This saying is the spirit of the Way. If you wish to take this journey (the Way), leave a lot of room in your backpack for courage.  Then you will be able to pay back Master Dogen for his wonderful teaching of unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Alain76