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The Basics of Sitting in the Zendo

We have a few simple practices we follow for sitting together in the meditation hall (Zendo). They help us organize and harmonize our collective activity and provide guidelines on how to enter, walk, sit, and act in the Zendo. They are adaptations of traditional practices developed in Zen monasteries millennia ago. But they are not rituals performed for rituals' sake. They remind us to maintain mindful awareness of our activity in the Zendo and avoid getting lost in our thoughts.

By observing these practice 'forms,' we are also encouraged to move and act as one body and to be kind and compassionate to others we sit with. The forms give us a way to express ourselves as an integral part of the Zen Center community, and not act solely out of our own needs and gratification.

Please take some time to learn them, and always feel free to ask practice leaders for help in understanding or practicing any of the forms. (Only practice leaders should make suggestions or offer corrections on the proper practice of these forms.)

Watching others is the best way to learn how to do them. Don’t worry about making mistakes—we all do, both newcomers and old timers. The point of the forms isn’t to be perfect. Rather, they are useful tools in helping us wake up.