Entering the Zendo

Prepare yourself before entering the space. Leave shoes, jackets, hats, and other extraneous personal items in the foyer or on a hook next to the restroom (unless you require shoes for physical stability). Leave cellphones in your car or in the foyer set to silent mode.

You may enter or leave the zendo at the beginning or end of any period of zazen or kinhin. Please make an effort to arrive at least five minutes before the scheduled period of meditation begins. If you are late, the form is to be very quietly and slowly enter the zendo to find a seat.*

To enter the zendo, take a step inside and offer a gassho bow (with palms together at heart-level) to the room and proceed to an available seat (zafu/bench/chair on a zabuton). Additional cushions may be obtained by the front door of the foyer.

Before sitting down, stand facing your seat, bow toward it in gassho, then turn clockwise to bow toward the center of the meditation hall. Be seated facing the wall (or into the room if seated in the middle of the room) and assume your zazen posture.

The meditation bell is struck THREE times to mark the beginning of each period of zazen. It is struck TWICE to indicate the end of a period being followed by kinhin, and ONCE at the end of the last period of zazen.

After the meditation bell rings TWICE ending the period of zazen, bow in gassho while seated. Move off the zafu and zabuton and stand at your seat facing outwards until the beginning of walking meditation (kinhin), which is signalled by the clackers (kaishaku). Turn to the left and form a line behind the kinhin leader, who is holding the wooden clappers. Hold your hands in the shashu mudra. That is, with the left hand in a fist curled around the left thumb, right hand curled around left with right thumb on top.

Clean off any lint from the zabuton and plump and arrange your zafu in the center of the zabuton. Stand in gassho and bow toward your seat, then turn to face the center of the room and bow. The leader announces, “Continuing our meditation we walk coordinating our breath and steps, taking a half step on each exhalation. Begin on the left foot at the sound of the clappers.” ONE clap begins kinhin and TWO ends it. At the sound of the two claps ending kinhin, stop, place your feet together, bow in gassho with the group, and return at a normal walking pace to your meditation seat.