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May 2021 Practice Intensive: Friends on the Path

May 1 - May 28

A 30-Day Online Collaborative Community Practice Intensive on Spiritual Friendship

May 1 – May 28, 2021
Via Zoom

Ando Jaune Evans, Heart of Compassion Sangha
in Point Reyes, California



Joshin Brian Byrnes, Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community

in the Green Mountains of Vermont

“Once the Buddha’s disciple Ananda asked him about friendship. Ananda knew that having good and encouraging friends was very important for the path. He even wondered whether having good friends is half the path. “No, Ananda,” the Buddha told him, “having good friends isn’t half of the Holy Life. Having good friends is the whole of the Holy Life.”

“Five things induce release of heart and lasting peace,” the Buddha said. “First, a lovely intimacy with good friends. Second, virtuous conduct. Third, frequent conversation that inspires and encourages practice. Fourth, diligence, energy, and enthusiasm for the good. And fifth, insight into impermanence.”

“’When there is a lovely intimacy between friends, then there is virtuous conduct,’ et cetera. In other words, friendship is the most important element in the spiritual path. Everything else naturally flows from it.”  -Norman Fischer

What is your experience of spiritual friendship? Who do you hang out with and talk with in your life? Who inspires and encourages virtue in your practice? How do you show up for others – are you diligent, energetic and enthusiastic ‘for the good’ in your friendships? How does your insight and experience of impermanence help to support your spiritual friendships? How does your sangha reach out to create spiritual friendships with other community organizations, other cultures, other faith-groups?

Theme of the Practice Intensive

Although the experience of our spiritual friendships may be difficult to describe in words, there is something felt — “a lovely intimacy” as the Buddha called it – something extraordinary, and quite ordinary – an embodied closeness we can feel with friends we find through spiritual practice. Stories, based the importance of these friendships, are so alive in the historical record of every religious tradition. In a variety of ‘settings’ online, we will all dig for and tell each other these stories, in addition to reading and discussing traditional and contemporary texts.

This collaborative community intensive practice period is an exploration into new territory for all of us.  It is inspired by the strength of spiritual friendships within the Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community in the Green Mountains of Vermont and within the Heart of Compassion Sangha in Point Reyes, California. It is also inspired by an emerging spiritual friendship between Jaune and Joshin who, after a decade of knowing about each other from friends and philanthropic colleagues, are now discovering new friendship on the Dharma path. So, we invite members of both sanghas to meet and reach across time zones and lineages to study and practice together, and to perhaps make new spiritual friends during the month of May 2021.

Shared Schedule

There will be sitting meditation available each day and weekly opportunities for dharma talks, group study, intimate conversation, and some creative practices (Days of Connection) that might extend the warm hand of spiritual friendship both within and beyond the immediate sangha. Mindful of time zones, we will maintain a schedule that allows for participation from people Europe, North America, and Hawaii.

This is a householder practice period, so we invite you to make a personal commitment to practice with keeping a schedule that compliments and enhances your home, work, and personal needs. The intensive designed to create many different ways to show up for this practice period. We ask that each person make a personal commitment to practice in ways that work within the structures, opportunities and limitations of your daily life.

Readings and Resources

In the spirit of reaching across traditions, the practice period will utilize historical and contemporary teachings on spiritual friendship from various Buddhist lineages and the great Abrahamic traditions of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. A pdf of excerpts and a bibliography of readings, websites, and movies will be made available to all participants at the start of the practice period.

Online Photo Gallery

As a way of sharing where, how and with whom we live, we will create an online gallery where photos can be posted and viewed by participants. They may include pictures of your home, your altar, the land on which you live, your favorite places and sacred spaces. The gallery will serve, in a way, as a pilgrimage into the places each of us holds dear.

Teachers for the Practice Intensive

Ando Jaune Evans is a transmitted Zen teacher and senior priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi and Norman Fischer’s Everyday Zen. She leads the Heart of Compassion Zen Sangha in Point Reyes, California.

Jaune works as the Executive Director of Tamalpais Trust, a philanthropic foundation which supports and helps to protect Indigenous Peoples’ sacred lands and waters, cultural and human rights, gender empowerment and global justice alliance-building. Her interest is in supporting and creating  the creativity of individuals and communities dedicated to social, ecological, racial and economic justice.

She serves on the Board of Directors of Commonweal (www.commonweal.org), and serves on the leadership team of Healing Circles Global (www.healingcirclesglobal.org). She is also a Creative Advisor to the Mesa Writer’s Refuge.

As a writer and photographer, Jaune is always in search of what she calls, ‘creative time.’

Joshin Brian Byrnes was ordained a priest in the White Plum lineage of Bernie Glassman and Taizan Maizumi Roshi by Roshi Joan Halifax at Upaya Zen Center. He is now the guiding teacher at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community, a direct-service residential and extended Zen community, which was founded in Vermont in 2017.

Joshin’s professional work in the AIDS epidemic and in community philanthropy focused on the importance of place, neighborly connections, and caring community as essential parts of wellbeing and community flourishing.

This program is donation based.


Date Program Pacific Time Eastern Time London Time
Daily Daily morning meditation at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community 4:00-4:40am 7:00-7:40am 12:00-12:40pm
Daily Daily morning meditation at Every Day Zen
7:30-8:00am 10:30-11:00am 3:30-4:00pm
Daily (except Sundays) Daily afternoon meditation at Bread Loaf Mountain Zen Community 2:30-3:30pm 5:30-6:30pm 10:30-11:30pm
May 1 Practice Intensive Opening Ceremony and Orientation 12:30-2:00pm 3:30-5:00pm 8:30-10:00pm
May 5 Dharma Talk: Jaune and Joshin 2:30-3:30pm 5:30-6:30pm 10:30-11:30pm
May 7 Zazen 30 minutes / Seminar 1 hour 8:00-9:30am 11:00-12:30pm 4:00-5:30pm
May 7 Dokusan with Jaune or Joshin signup signup signup
May 9 Day of Connection 1, Council Circle 8:00-12:00pm 11:00-3:00pm 4:00-8:00pm
May 11 Gate of Sweet Nectar 2:30-3:30pm 5:30-6:30pm 10:30-11:30pm
May 12 Dharma Talk: Jaune and Joshin 2:30-3:30pm 5:30-6:30pm 10:30-11:30pm
May 14 Zazen and chanting 30 minutes / Seminar 1 hour 8:00-9:30am 11:00-12:30pm 4:00-5:30pm
May 14 Dokusan with Jaune or Joshin signup signup signup
May 15 Half-Day Practice Intensive:
Sitting Meditation 8:00-8:25am 11:00-11:25am 4:00-4:25pm
Walking Meditation 8:25-8:35am 11:25-11:35am 4:25-4:35pm
Sitting Meditation 8:35-9:00am 11:35-12:00pm 4:35-5:00pm
Walking Meditation 9:00-9:10am 12:00-12:10am 5:00-5:10pm
Sitting Meditation 9:10-9:35am 12:10-12:35pm 5:10-5:35pm
Liturgy Service 9:35-10:00am 12:35-1:00pm 5:35-6:00pm
Silent snack/lunch/dinner/outdoor walk/rest 10:00-11:00am 1:00-2:00pm 6:00-7:00pm
Dharma Talk 11:00-11:50am 2:00-2:50pm 7:00-7:50pm
Walking Meditation 11:50-12:00pm 2:50-3:00pm 7:50-8:00pm
Sitting meditation 12:00-12:25pm 3:00-3:25pm 8:00-8:25pm
Walking Meditation 12:25-12:35pm 3:25-3:35pm 8:25-8:35pm
Sitting Meditation and End 12:35-1:00pm 3:35-4:00pm 8:35-9:00pm
May 19 Dharma Talk: Jaune and Joshin 2:30-3:30pm 5:30-6:30pm 10:30-11:30pm
May 21 Zazen and chanting 30 minutes / Seminar 1 hour 8:00-9:30am 11:00-12:30pm 4:00-5:30pm
May 21 Dokusan with Jaune or Joshin signup signup signup
May 23 Day of Connection 2, Healing Circle
Gallery walk and community teatime
8:00-12:00pm 11:00-3:00pm 4:00-8:00pm
May  26 Precepts Renewal Ceremony (Fusatsu) 2:00-2:30pm 5:00-5:30pm 10:00-10:30pm
May 26 Dharma Talk: Jaune and Joshin 2:30-3:30pm 5:30-6:30pm 10:30-11:30pm
May 28 Zazen 8:00-8:30am 11:00-11:30am 4:00-4:30pm
May 28 Closing Council 8:30-10:00am 11:30-1:00pm 4:30-6:00pm