We welcome everyone to our zendo. As we meditate together, we ask new students to learn how we mediate prior to joining us. If you want to join our zazen-kai, please register first.
Respect and help maintain a quiet atmosphere; Be aware of your movements and the sounds you make. There should be no conversation in the zendo, except as necessary until the final 5 bells and bow are completed.
Please make sure to turn off your cellphone or leave it in your car.
Pick your Zafu
It is important for you to focus on zazen and minimize your movement so find the best way for you to meditate for 45 min. You can use Zafu (round cushions or square ones), also consider heights as well as the softness of the cushions. It will take several sessions to find your comfortable setup. We also offer chairs as well (limited).
Once you put your cushions to zabuton, you bow towards the cushions.
Then turn around and bow to the sangha (community) then seated.
There are several sitting positions you can try.
Burmese (legs folded but not crossed)
Hokkai-jouin (cosmic mudra)
Hands are then placed on the lap forming (left hand on top of the right hand and thumbs gently touching, forming an oval).
Eyes are generally half closed with the focus being on the floor a few feet away. The back is kept straight.
Then comes the simple, and frequently the most difficult part of zazen: quieting the mind so as not to have a “monkey mind” (mind always shifting away to thoughts, worries, dreams, plans, and even sleep!) Instead one focuses on the present moment and what is being experienced. There are many techniques to assist the student, with the most common one being to “follow the breath”. Counting “one” on the inhalation, and “two” on the exhalation up to “ten” is one suggested method. It is surprising how very infrequently one gets to ten without the mind wandering off on its own thoughts. When that is observed, it is important to gently, and without judgment, bring the breath back to “one” and begin again.
The zazen period begins with a short series of rituals including a chant. We sit for 55 minutes, followed by a short teisho (teaching).
Toward the mid-point of the sitting, students are given a welcoming of heart to heart with the gentle use of the keisaku (a board used to lightly tap the student’s shoulders). This also communicates the message to “Wake up to this moment”.
Zazen is easy, hard, and natural and sounds more complicated than it really is. We are each always learning and practicing. In the words of one Zen phrase, “We are always beginning again”.
For more detailed information, there are numerous websites including www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/zazen
Our zazenkai is supported by donations from our students. We thank for your support.