Zen rituals—such as chanting, bowing, lighting incense before the Buddha statue—are ways of recognizing the sacredness in all of life. A ritual is simply a deliberate and focused moment that symbolizes the care with which we should be approaching all of life, and practicing the Zen liturgy is a way of cultivating this quality of attention in order to bring it to everything we do. Here, John Daido Loori demystifies the details of the Zen rituals and highlights their deeper meaning and purpose. We humans are all creatures of ritual, he teaches, whether we recognize it or not. Even if we don’t make ritual part of some religious observance, we still fall into ritual behavior, whether it be our daily grooming sequence or the way we have our morning coffee and paper. We run through our personal rituals unconsciously most of the time, but there is great value to introducing meaningful symbolic rituals into our lives and to performing them deliberately and mindfully—because the way we do ritual affects the way we live the rest of our lives. The book includes instructions for a simple Zen home liturgy, as it is practiced by students of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen.
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