Getting started at the Baguio Zen Center

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.


  • If you feel you made a “mistake” don’t worry.  We are/were 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 vibrate 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 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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