WELCOME to BZC Mountain Sangha! This sheet offers basic instruction for newcomers to BZC. We invite you to participate in a full orientation at your earliest convenience. Please feel free to visit with us. We will be glad to hear from you.
ENTERING THE ZENDO —
- If you feel you made a “mistake” don’t worry. We are/we’re all new at one time. Relax and follow along as you are able.
- Please remove shoes outside the front door when entering the zendo. .
- Store personal belongings (purses, backpacks, etc.) in the back room.
- Turn off or put in silent mode your mobile phones while inside the zendo.
- It is traditional not to make social greetings or eye contact while practicing. However, form follows function: those who are unfamiliar with procedure are encouraged to look around in order to follow along.
- If you don’t feel comfortable with any procedure or with bowing, please feel free not to do it!
- Simply stand/sit quietly and follow along the best you can.
ZENDO (meditation hall) FORM —
- Bow with hands in gassho (prayer position) when entering /leaving the Zendo. This represents bowing to the Buddha Nature.
- Bow with hands in gassho to your cushion before sitting down. This represents bowing to the Dharma (the teaching).
- Then, turn at your cushion clockwise and gassho to the room. This represents bowing to the Sangha (the community of practitioners).
- Sitting periods are 25 minutes long, alternating with 5 minutes of kinhin (walking meditation).
- Sit facing the wall unless directed otherwise or, if most people you see are sitting facing in.
- Feel free to sit on a chair, on a seiza bench, or on a zafu (cushion) as you prefer.
- There is no expectation or pressure that you have to sit cross-legged on the floor if this is not comfortable for you.
- Additional lap cushions and other sitting aids are available.
- It is usually best to enter/exit the Zendo during the time between zazen (sitting) and kinhin (walking) periods, rather than in the middle of the sitting period, unless there is a bodily necessity.
- Should you need to use the restroom, please wait until the walking meditation. At that time you may step out of the line. When you return to the line, wait as it passes, then bow and step back in at the place you left.
- When sutra books or prayer cards are not in use, please rest your sutra book under your cushion, not directly on the floor.
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