Particpating in Weekly Practice
Parking: Please do not park in front of the neighbor’s houses, but use the lot across the street.
Dana: Our expenses are low, but we do depend on the generosity of our members to cover them. There are containers for dana (donations) to the teacher and one for our expenses, near the entrance to the zendo.
Entering the Zendo: Remove your shoes before entering. Enter quietly and do gassho (bow from waist). Find your place in the circle and set up your cushions or chair. As Soto zen meditators we face the wall with our eyes open. The teacher will sit behind the altar.
Kinhin: At 6:30 two bells will sound, signaling kinhin, the walking meditation. After gassho to the center of the room, turn and walk clockwise in half steps with hands in shashu position (right hand covers left hand, held close to the body at diaphragm level). If you arrive at this time, blend into the line of walkers, and set up your place at the end of kinhin. When the single bell sounds (after 10 minutes of kinhin), walk at a normal pace to your place. Bow to the cushion/chair and take your seat.
Zazen: Three bells signal the beginning of a 40-minute silent meditation. One bell means end of zazen. If you arrive during this period, please feel welcome and be as quiet as possible as you take your seat.
Service: Rise from your seat and fluff/straighten it out. Gassho to your seat, then to the room. We then offer three prostrations or standing bows to the altar with signals from bell. Next we recite the Heart Sutra facing the center of the room. Then we offer three more prostrations or standing bows to altar. Finally, a little gassho in silence, then gassho to the altar with the bell, gassho to each other with the bell, and with hands in shashu, bow with the teacher with a last bell before sitting down.
Dharma talk or Teisho: Everyone moves in closer to form a circle with teacher at the head. We offer a short chant together. The teacher (sensei) presents a topic, usually an ongoing study of a text, and discussion follows. Sometimes we end the talk with announcements, and we always end with a one minute sit followed by a recitation aloud of the bodhisattva vows.
Closing: We rise for one last gassho to the center of the room.