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.
- 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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