The seasons at Awami are 5 in number like the 5 flavors, the 5 textures, the 5 colors and the 5 contemplations. They all merge in the one season of our life to the rhythm of the earth, in deep silence of our merged existence.
February 8 and 9
In phase with the Lunar New Year of late January / early February that sign the first prunus flowers or the blossoming of camellias. And if this season was discreet so far in our regions we can say that it is highlighted for several years with global warming.
The season of renewal is therefore still in the heart of winter but with this delicate, interior awakening, this silent enthusiasm of the energy regenerated by rest.
There is a beautiful tradition in Japan which marks this revival thanks to a soup that of the 7 herbs ( nanakusa) . We have it found in Europe, it is that of the broth of the 9 new herbs of Holy Thursday ( griendonneschdaa supp ) . We lend it virtues that are certainly justified thanks to the bitterness that will cleanse the faith of its festive excesses, but more deeply I believe that tasting the very green wildness of winter puts us in touch with nature.
Associated with the February 9 full moon, we will benefit by the way we relate (practical) , energy and enthusiasm conducive to the renewal of the year in progress.
March 7 and 8:
Since February 25 (Tuesday guys) we start the end of winter and the rise towards spring. In the Christian tradition it is the time of Lent which lines up to the physio-biological cycle. This period follows the carnivals (etymologically removing the meat) with its climax at Shrove Tuesday (literally the last fat day of winter).
It is therefore a period of lightening, refreshing the body but also the heart , we are preparing for renewal, we are getting rid of the old, the known to receive the new cycle from the spring equinox until the earthly resurrection of Easter, end of Lent.
It's all of nature that is getting ready, silently and invisibly and simply we line up.
It is in the company of the full moon of the Lunar New Year of February and the super moon of March that we meet for these sharing of the heart.
Shin in Japanese, which is often translated by spirit, means the heart, our heart but above all the heart of the world. Take advantage of the light of the moon will make it possible to deploy, gently, the energy which wakes up.
2 days to open space, make yourself available, relax to listen to life and nourish it of all our being. 2 days to receive and give back in the spirit of the third contemplation.
The vernal equinox of March 20 marks the opening of the great awakening and for the first time it seems to be synchronous with all beings. Whether in the drama of hospitals or the blossoming of a flower, it is the season of a new cycle which begins. The old is chased away, broken and in tears as in joy we enter the space of the unknown.
It is in any case a great opportunity to getting into the practice of the situation, of doing with what there is as it is, fundamental to the springing up of the living.
On this subject, I invite you to read the text "contemplating uncertainty" from the blog and immerse yourself in this powerful poem written in the 13th century by a Zen master and dazzlingly topical.
In Zen practice monasticism the equinox embodies the practice of awakening qualities (the paramita) which manifest themselves symbolically when the light is equal to the night. Last year at this time I was in Soji-ji (Japan) for the food ceremony and a lunch with the tenzo of the temple which I shared in a text on the blog as well.
That's it, but for us in this secular practice of our life as it is, it will be an opportunity to breathe, sit, cook and eat. in the movement that will be ours simply facilitated by the community, the fact of doing together.
the opening ritual:
Just like the teachings, the rituals are frameworks allowing fluidity and harmonization practice with its environment. To do an opening and closing ritual is to call during the time of the practice all the matriarchs and patriarchs who have practiced before us and it is to benefit from their support. Whatever the shape, the important thing is that it speaks to you, for my part I like to make a seasonal bouquet accompanied by some fruit a Buddha, an incense, a candle that I light. Then I thank the universe and the ancestors for giving me the opportunity to practice. I bow with my hands joined in the gesture of gathering myself to the universe and the retreat is open ! In the same way, I give thanks at the end of the retreat and I close the retreat by extinguishing the candle. Traditionally the candle remains lit throughout the retreat, but by security it is better to extinguish it with each zazen.
Preparing your space is also a ritual, that of taking care of your being profound by considering it important to dedicate space to it . But if you find it difficult to keep a particular place, light a candle where you sit and that will be fine. The important thing is the intimate commitment to create this space but it does not need to incarnate in a grandiose way.