Awake-in-Life: Zen & Crafting a Life Fully Lived

8 or 9+months Practice Program for House-holders beginning January 2018.

Access To Zen (A2Z) invites you to participate in a program which emphasizes practices geared especially for those who live and work outside of temple or monastic settings! This program will give you the container in which to frame how you can live fully, manifesting and sharing what’s important to you with your loved ones, your community, and the planet.

How it’s geared for you

Currently, most United States practice programs have generally emphasized meditation to practitioners. This may be due to how Zen has been promoted in Western convert practice settings. It’s been a very useful way. Yet, now, with the maturing of practices in the US, it’s time to reclaim how the laity — called “house-holders” in the Buddha’s time — was a large and important aspect of Buddhism and Buddhist practices.

Therefore, the revitalizing of this term for the laity is fitting in our current times as we seek to make accessible the teachings and practices which traditionally have been offered first and foremost to ALL practitioners: studies and engagement with the precepts.

Awake-in-Life Mission

The program’s name both reflects the layering of our conditioning and the focus of the Program’s Path. First, the name shows how we may typically think the Program can help us to “awake in life”—and, therefore, that somehow we need to “awake” into a “different” or a “better” life.

Zen is a Mahayana path; hence, “awake-in”—we are already whole and complete; fully Awake-in-our-Life-already. Therefore, this program’s focus is to help you to know this truth; this is the “Awakening”— “Awake-in” reflects the Bodhisattva Ideal: may each of us know our awake-in-ness; and may we know this in everyone, also.

We are pleased to make the studies of the precepts / values-enactments more accessible with the Awake-in-Life Program by offering 2 tracks: 

  • Engaged-Studies or Jukai (Lay Initiation/Ordination Ceremony). Each will have different requirements and sliding donations and costs.

The idea for the  two tracks came about because study with the Precepts is a core of the practice yet it isn't emphasized in the West very much. Yet, a main intention of the Precepts is to give practitioners a framework to engage in harmony with oneself and with others, then it becomes much easier to bring one's full attention to the craft of meditation "on the cushion." Engagement with the Precepts is a healing and transformative practice when done in conjunction with meditative practices.

The Awake-in-Life Program offers us a chance to bring practice into our whole being, our whole life --- on and off the cushion.

Awake Program's  tracks requirements & time-frame:

    • Both tracks include:
      • Engaging with the Soto Zen 16 Bodhisattva Precepts as a study thru Dharma talks, readings, reflections and discussions. 
        • 2 meetings per month: One 2-hour in-person* with the full class & one 1-hour on-line in small group
      • Monthly practices  to support the application of the Precepts in your daily life --  in reflection and/or as an awareness/mindfulness exercises.
      • Monthly individual Practice Discussion (PD) with our Guiding Teacher.
      • Support to help you maintain a home meditation/zazen practice
      • Access to a  weekly meditation group in Bay Area 
    • Engaged-Studies:  8 months, January - August 
    • Jukai (Lay Initiation/Vowing Ceremony) Track (length TBD on individual basis by Guiding Teacher)
      • 9+ months: January - August studies as above. Jukai Ceremony date TBD on individual basis with Guiding Teacher
      • Committing to having a home meditation/zazen practice, three 1-day silent meditation retreats, and a minimum of one 3+day silent retreat/sesshin within this time period.
      • Engagement with Guiding Teacher Rev. Liên as your main teacher
      • Sewing a rakusu (involves additional costs and time to a Soto Zen sewing program; several in the Bay Area)
      • Jukai (Soto Zen Lay Initiation/Vowing ) Ceremony (date not set)
      • ** Willingness to continue a similar practice schedule for 3+ years

    INTERESTED? Come to our Orientation on Monday, December 18 for full details! 

    Already know you want to Awake-in-Life? Register Here:

    Name *
    Track *
    Select which track would you be joining.


    * Fully Online possible for Engaged Studies track only. Please come to the Orientation or contact us at