After doing an introductory Zen workshop, many people are interested in continuing their practice with the support of a Sangha, but don’t know how to start. Our Tuesday Beginners’ Night offers a simple, accessible way to begin sitting with others while deepening your meditation practice.

Orientation

We understand that zendo protocol can initially seem intimidating and details can be difficult to remember. Our Tuesday Night Orientations are offered at 6 – 7 p.m. for anyone who would benefit from a focused review of what to expect during a formal sitting. Orientations lead directly into the Beginners’ Night sitting and are free of charge.

Topics we cover include how to:

  • Build a sustainable sitting posture
  • Bow
  • Do kinhin (walking meditation)
  • Chant
  • Do prostrations

Tuesday Night Orientations are offered on demand. Please RSVP by 3pm on the orientation day you’re attending by calling (585) 473-9180.

Beginners’ Night Sitting

Beginners’ Night is our Tuesday-evening program designed to help newcomers and old-timers alike find their place in the zendo and the Sangha. It is especially helpful for those just starting out in practice, but benefits everyone.

The night’s three sitting rounds are 25 minutes each, shorter than our other sittings, and feature a chanting service. Beginners’ Night is followed by an informal optional Sangha teatime – a great way to get to know RZC Sangha, staff members, and residential trainees.

Dokusan (or Private Instruction) and Group Instruction

We also offer either dokusan or Private Instruction and Group Instruction at our Beginners’ Nights for anyone wishing to deepen their practice, especially those just starting out. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Dokusan is one-to-one instruction with a Zen teacher regarding matters related to one’s sitting practice or personal issues closely related to one’s sitting practice.
  • Private Instruction is one-to-one instruction with a senior student.  Its parameters are a little broader than those of dokusan and may get into counseling-like territory, though still only briefly.
  • Group Instruction features a question-and-answer session led by a senior student in an informal group setting.