Silence and Stillness
Silence begins with the first strike of the Han at the beginning of every sitting. In the zendo we do our best to maintain silence and stillness. Once settled on your cushion, sit still and do not move (wiggle, fidget, stretch, scratch etc.) until the end of the period. Our practice requires us to maintain stillness in the midst of discomfort, but if you are in intense pain, gassho, and adjust your position as unobtrusively as possible.
Entering and Leaving the Zendo
Leave the zendo during a sitting only in the case of an urgent need. When you return, sit on the bench and re-enter during kinhin.
In slow kinhin, we match our breath to our footsteps. As you inhale your heel rises and your foot moves forward. As you exhale that foot is planted on the ground and the other begins to rise. Follow the jikido’s example. Step at your own pace, taking small or large steps, whatever room allows. Do not be concerned with keeping up with the person in front of you in slow kinhin. Keep close to the person in front during fast kinhin.
In the zendo, hands are always in gassho or shashu, never by your side.
In gassho, fingertips are even with the tip of the nose.
Perform standing bows at a 45-degree angle, not a 90-degree angle.
Bow with hands in gassho whenever you enter the zendo.
Bow when distributing or receiving sutra books.
In full bow, palms are raised parallel to the floor, not flipped up.
Blend with the group in volume and follow the jikido’s pace.
Dress in Zendo
No shorts or obvious exercise wear, logos, graphics, sloppy pants.
Saturdays and Sesshin--no bright colors. Weekdays—flexibility in dress is allowed.
Switch phones off or on silent (not vibrating) mode.
Do not blow your nose during sitting. If it is urgent, you may leave the zendo and go downstairs. Otherwise wait until you rise for kinhin, and face the wall to blow your nose.
Do not unwrap or suck on cough drops during sitting. Sit on the bench or in the hall if you are concerned you are disturbing others.
Handle cushions gently and store them neatly.
Only the jikido may make adjustments to the physical environment (heat, fan, windows, etc.) during the sitting.