What to Expect:
All are welcomed – period!
The practice is taken very seriously and with a lightheartedness. The core principle is the ending of suffering.
Incense is used in most locations. The quantity is not much but its presence might affect those who have difficulty with smoke.
It is not required to be or become a Buddhist to practice with us. Nor is it required become a monastic. Our format is designed to allow laity to practice. People have jobs, families, and other commitments and that is deeply respected. Those who come have decided to incorporate this practice into their spiritual lives for their own reasons.
All sessions start promptly at listed times and the door is closed to the zendo (meditation room) and entrance is not permitted. If arriving late due to unforeseen circumstances, do not be discouraged. You can wait outside the room till the period of zazen (seated meditation practice) has ended and kinhin (walking meditation practice)is about to begin. At this time, entrance to the zendo is permitted. While waiting, prepare to enter and join by having shoes and/or jackets removed and any personal items readied to be stowed away.
The chanting that is done is not in English. Material for chanting is provided. It is not required to memorize them or the translations. It has been decided to keep the chanting in the format that was passed down through Japan for the reasons that: chanting deepens the breath, chanting syllables allows one to focus on the task without distraction from trying to understand literal meaning, and that chanting as a group aids in the notion of separation.
What is Expected:
Arrive 10 – 15 minutes before listed start times to get a cushion and settle in. If you have never practiced in the zen tradition, please introduce yourself and ask for brief instruction. The structure and forms are not solely tradition; there is purpose and function within each facet of practice.
Wear clothing that is comfortable and will allow you to sit for periods of time – denim and such fabrics are not recommended. Try to not to wear color schemes or images that can be distracting to yourself or others. Limit use of strong fragrances or noisy jewelry.
Sit still! Don’t give in to wondering thoughts, itches, or temporary discomfort.