Zendo Forms

The Basics

  • The han (wooden striker) begins 15 minutes before the first zazen (sitting meditation) to signal to us to stop what we are doing and get ready for meditation. By the second roll-down, you should be on your way to the zendo, if not in it. Please be seated by the second roll-down (3 minutes before start of zazen) and before the teacher enters the Zendo.
  • Start your zazen before you actually enter the Zendo. With this attitude you do not disturb others and mindfully begin your practice.
  • Leave your shoes, umbrellas and extra clothing neatly outside, in the provided shoe racks and hangers.
  • Take a step into the Zendo and offer a standing bow. Walk to your seat around the perimeters of the Zendo, either to the left or right.
  • After you have chosen the place where you will sit and arrange your cushions/seat, face your cushion/chair and offer a standing bow. Before sitting, turn to face the Zendo and offer another standing bow.
  • Please be mindful in the Zendo. This is the main point. Be considerate of others and move carefully – not too fast, not too slow. If you need to move your cushion/chair during zazen, try not to disturb your neighbor.
  • After an extended period of zazen or leaving the Zendo, tidy your seat, offering a standing bow to your place, then turn and bow to the center of the Zendo.
  • At the end of a zazen session or after a talk/tea, the teacher always leaves first; others exit the Zendo according to who is nearest the door one at a time.
  • On leaving the Zendo, turn to bow to the Zendo before you go out the door.
  • Kinhin (walking meditation): one half step for each exhalation. You should be able to get to the other side of the Zendo seemingly “without moving.” Kinhin is the time for bathroom/ breaks (no food or water in the Zendo).
  • For kinhin: move from your cushion/chair and immediately start into walking meditation, no bows. When kinhin is finished, quickly move to your seat, bow to your cushion/chair, bow to the Zendo, and sit for zazen.
  • Please maintain silence, even during breaks. If talking is required during the work periods, please keep it to a minimum. Try to extend your zazen to your work periods.
  • If any questions or problems arise during a sesshin (a multi-day practice period), please contact the ino or shika on duty. 

Daily Practice of Zazen

Jikoji's Residents support an ongoing practice schedule with Zazen and a ceremony in the morning, and Zazen only in the evening. Guests and visitors are welcome to join these programs. Monday through Thursday Zazen starts at 6 am in the morning and at 8pm in the evening, but on Fridays at 6 am only. On Saturdays there is no formal sitting period.

Sunday Schedule

  • 10:00am – Zazen (seated meditation)
  • 10:40am – Kinhin (walking meditation)
  • 10:50am – Zazen
  • 11:30am – Service
  • 11:40am – Dharma Talk
  • 12:30am – Social Lunch

Sesshins 

Sesshins are silent periods of intensive zen practice usually ranging from one to seven days.  These are offered on a regular basis at Jikoji and open to everyone.  Zen practice includes your entire life, so if you are only able to back part of a sesshin, you are invited to attend on the days you can.  Check the calendar and Events page to find out when these will be held.

Workshops and Events 

Jikoji offers workshops to help you bring practice into your everyday life - often on Sundays from 2-4pm following our social lunch.  Additionally, a variety of of social and ceremonial events take place throughout the year.  More information on these is posted on the calendar and Events page.

Attendance Requirements? Fees? Arrangements?

Sesshins and other events can be attended on a part time, drop in basis. Please call ahead and register if you plan to attend meals or stay overnight. A donation of $50 per day incuding meals and dormitory accomodations is requested, but no one is ever turned away from the Dharma for lack of funds. Scholarships and work-study programs that cover some or all of the costs may be available. Please call Jikoji at 408-741-9562 for further information, or to make reservations if you plan on staying for meals or choose overnight lodging.

How to do Zazen

Here’s a basic overview of the mechanics of zen meditation in the form of a helpful video from Yokoji Meditation Center.  Please contact us anytime to set up an appointment for zazen instruction.