Before You Come
When to come:
Our practice period is on Monday evenings from 7:00 - 8:30pm. Orientations are available and take place every week at 6:45pm.
If you are new to Zen:
Orientations offer brief introductions to zazen (meditation), to postures that will help you sit comfortably and in stillness, to meditation hall etiquette, and to Zen liturgy. If any of that is new to you, please consider coming to an orientation!
What you should bring and what you should wear:
You needn't bring anything at all except, ideally, an open mind. If you wish to bring your own meditation cushion or bench, please do so. Some chairs, cushions, and benches will be available. You needn't wear anything special, though you may wish to choose somewhat loose-fitting pants.
Is it free?
All orientations and all regular daily practice sessions are offered free of charge. We are entirely supported by donations, but if you are unable to make a donation, please come anyway.
What to Expect
The evening typically follow the following pattern:
A few minutes before the scheduled starting time, everyone will begin sitting quietly, on either a meditation cushion or in a chair.
At 7:00pm our practice begins. The practice leader will light incense. The service itself consists of about 10 minutes of chanting selections from our liturgy, followed by one or more 25-minute periods of sitting meditation. Between the chanting and each period of sitting meditation is a brief period of walking meditation (kinhin).
Sometimes instead of a sitting meditation period, one of our teachers will give a talk. At other times, the practice period features an opportunity to have a private interview (dokusan) with a Zen teacher. These are opportunities to ask questions about Zen practice, most particularly focusing on your own experiences. Check our calendar for Dharma Talk and dokusan dates.
The sittings ends with a short chant and 3 standing or full bows and one more chant. In your orientation you will be shown how to do seated and walking meditation, and how to follow along with the service including full or standing bows.