Frequently Asked Questions

What to expect on a visit

Jikoji Zen Center is nestled in the the Santa Cruz mountains, 9 miles outside of Saratoga.  If the mission of Jikoji were summed up in a nutshell, it would be “to help people meditate.”  As we have grown, we have become home to a variety of communities.  Sometimes we are in intensive periods of meditation, other times, we share the grounds with outside groups, other times, we are simply enjoying our daily life amongst the coyotes, wildflowers, and sunsets on the ridge.  You are welcome to join us in all of these activities.

Where are you located?

Our street address is located at 12100 Skyline Blvd. (map)

Should I let you know I’m coming?

It’s nice to know if you are coming so we can be sure to greet you on your arrival.  On the other hand, we're Zen people so we get spontaneity so feel free to join us any time.  

What do I do when I arrive?

There is a bell located on the right side of the building closest to the road.  Go right ahead and clang the bell because it lets us know that you have arrived at Jikoji for your very first visit.  If there is an event going on, signs will be posted near the bell to let you know what is happening at Jikoji and which building we are sitting in.

Where do I sit?

We have two zendos.  The sign at the top of the road will usually let you know which building we are in.

Suppose I’m sitting and I get very uncomfortable. Can I move a little… or if it is really bad, can I get up and leave?

Discomfort can arise in trying to sit in stillness. Use your own judgment in deciding to move or even leave the zendo.

I think I might need some help.

If you haven’t meditated before, you are curious about Zen forms, or just have some questions you would like to ask, we will be happy to teach you the basic skills.  Orientation typically takes place during the first period of meditation on Sunday mornings at 10:00 and when requested.  Also, if you are staying overnight and are new to the practice, the residents of Jikoji are always available to show you the ropes.  To request an orientation, click here.

What opportunities are there to practice Zen meditation with others?

The main event at Jikoji is the Sunday Program.

In the mornings, we sit at 6:00am - Monday thru Friday

In the evenings, we sit at 8:00pm - Monday thru Thursday

What happens on Sundays?

You are invited to attend, all, part, or portions of our Sunday Program.

10:00 a.m. Sitting Meditation
10:40 Walking Meditation
10:50 Sitting Meditation
11:30 Service
11:40 Talk
12:30 Social Lunch
2:00 pm Workshops or Discussion

Do I have to be a “Buddhist?”

Buddhism is practice oriented rather then ideological.  It is about meditating and changing our approach to the life we are living.  Since Zen does not concern itself with beliefs about where we came from or where we are going, it is perfectly compatible with other religions.  While some identify as Buddhists, others just follow this contemplative practice without the need to name it.  

I meditate and would like to meditate with other people, but I don’t want to do Zazen

While we teach Zazen, or seated meditation in the Zen tradition, our space is open to guests from other contemplative traditions.  While we don’t have mantras, koans, or visualizations in Zen, we do respect and value these traditions.  If your practice involves sitting quietly alongside us, your presence it always welcomed in the Zendo. 

Is there a charge for Meditation?

The Sunday Program and weekday meditation periods are always free.  

How do you keep the lights on? 

Through the support of people like you.  The Dana box, located near the lunch table and on the credenza in the community building, provides our guests and sangha members with the opportunity to offer donations to offset the cost of lunch, bring speakers to Jikoji, and keep Jikoji running from one day to the next. 

Learning More

As our guest we encourage you to ask questions and seek information.  The best way to do this is to introduce yourself and ask questions.  Our teacher, priests and residents have all made a commitment to help all beings in their Zen practice.  You’re a being - so that makes you the reason why we are here.

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