More Information

The Guest Practice program offers the chance for people interested in either starting or deepening their existing Zen practice to do so in a residential setting with others. It is a short term opportunity (one to four weeks) that includes meditation, study, work practice and discussions with other practitioners about Zen Buddhism.

The Guest Practice program is designed to provide both an introduction to Zen practice in a residential setting, and an opportunity to establish and strengthen Zen practice as an integral part of everyday life. The daily schedule includes zazen (sitting practice), service (sutra chanting), study, and work practice. Students are expected to follow all aspects of the schedule completely. Guest Practice participants receive meditation instruction, attend weekly dharma talks, engage in discussions about practice, and may attend ongoing classes. The teacher is available for individual discussion about Zen Practice. The Guest Practice Leader can make this arrangement for you.

Since the program is intended to help Guest Practice participants immerse themselves in temple life, we ask that people not have outside commitments (work and university studies, e.g.) during the time they are at AZC. We also ask that Guest Practice participants consider leaving electronic devices (computers and MP3 players, e.g.) at home. Guest Practice participants are also expected to refrain from recreational drug use during their stay at Austin Zen Center and not to begin a new sexual relationship during this time.

The Guest Practice fee of $20 per night contributes toward the cost for your food, lodging, and instruction while at AZC. Participants stay in very simple shared rooms. You will need to bring toiletry articles, one set of loose clothing (subdued in color) for zazen and another set for work, a pair of sandals or slip-on shoes, a pair of closed-toe shoes for work, and an alarm clock.

Participants are asked to arrange to come on a Monday by 9:30 am and to stay a minimum of one week (Monday through Saturday). After the first week, you may apply to stay up to a maximum of four weeks. If you wish to become a Guest Practice participant at AZC, please click here to complete and submit an application.

A sample daily schedule (subject to change) is below:

Monday through Friday

  • 5:30am – Wake up
  • 6:00 – Zazen (sitting meditation)
  • 6:35 – Kinhin (walking meditation)
  • 6:45 – Zazen (sitting meditation)
  • 7:20 – Morning service
  • 7:40 – Soji (temple cleaning)
  • 8:00 – Communal breakfast
  • 9:30 – Bow-in/Work
  • 11:00 – Break
  • 11:20 – Zazen
  • 12:00pm – Communal lunch
  • 1:00 – Rest
  • 2:00 – Work
  • 3:00 – Study
  • 4:00 – Personal time
  • 5:40 – Zazen (Mon-Thu)
  • 6:20 – Evening service
  • 6:30 – Dinner/off for the evening

    Wednesday

  • 2:00p – Tea with Teacher or Guest Practice Manager

    Saturday

  • 8:15a – Zazen (sitting meditation)
  • 8:50 – Kinhin (walking meditation)
  • 9:00 – Zazen (sitting meditation)
  • 9:40 – Service
  • 9:55 – Soji (temple cleaning)
  • 10:30 – Dharma talk
  • 11:15 – Announcements, tea and snacks
  • 12:00 – Afternoon off