Rooting Your Practice: Support for RZC Newcomers
Zen is a simple practice, but requires effort and discipline to get some momentum going. If you find yourself struggling, know that you’re in good company, and that all practitioners were once newcomers.
With this in mind, we hope the following information will help root your practice.
If you have any questions, concerns, or challenges getting your practice off the ground, we encourage you to contact us. We’ve all been there, and we’re here to help.
Finding Your Seat
This is a free follow-up program to the workshop, often held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon the following Saturday. All interested – new members, trial members, and old timers – are invited. It includes guidance on finding a more comfortable zazen (sitting meditation) posture, learning Zendo (meditation hall) etiquette, and any other questions you may be wrestling with.
Tuesday Night Orientation
Whether you’ve attended a workshop or are coming to the Center from another place of practice, in-person zendo protocol can initially seem intimidating and details can be difficult to remember. Tuesday night orientations are offered on request from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. (free of charge) for anyone who would benefit from a focused review of what to expect during a formal sitting.
For those who can visit 7 Arnold Park or Chapin Mill in person, this is our special Tuesday-evening program designed to help newcomers and old-timers alike find their place in the Zendo and the Sangha. During these shorter sittings, monitors may offer zazen posture feedback, similar to a yoga-class adjustment. This feedback is one of many benefits of attending sittings with others.
At Beginners’ Night, you can opt to attend private instruction (a one-on-one conversation with a senior student about anything pertaining to your practice) or group instruction (a question-and-answer session with other senior students in an informal group setting) during the second timed sitting round.
We hold sittings on Zoom every Monday through Saturday morning from 7:00 to 8:00, Sunday morning from 8:30 to 10:30, and Monday through Friday evening from 7:00 to 8:00. Private Instruction is offered every Friday evening.
Formal morning sittings are held Tuesday through Friday from 6:00 – 7:15 a.m., Saturday from 6:30 – 7:30a.m., and Sunday from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m..
Informal sittings are Tuesday through Saturday: 12:00 noon – 12:30 p.m. In addition to the noon-time informal sitting, the Zendo is open for members to come and sit at all times outside of the formal sitting schedule. Robes are not worn for informal sittings.
Formal evening sittings are Monday from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Tuesday from 7:00 – 8:45 p.m., Thursday from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., and Friday from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
How to Sit
Learning to find a “good seat” for meditation may take some time and experimentation. Here is a review with written explanations of the postures demonstrated at the workshop.
Further Developing Zen Practice
The Zen Center provides numerous ways for you to become more deeply engaged in your Zen practice. The most important is attending sittings as regularly as you can. Here are some of the other ways you can strengthen your practice.
Talks for Newcomers
Teisho by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede; January 19, 2020
Teisho by Sensei John Pulleyn; March 13, 2022
Being part of the Sangha (Community) plays an important role in Zen, as we strive to support one another in the journey of practice. Our practice is strengthened not only by the support we receive, but by the support we give, as expressed in our individual and combined efforts.
In addition to a robust schedule of sittings, retreats, and ceremonies, the Center also offers an ever-changing array of social activities, giving us a chance to get to know each other outside the zendo (meditation hall), plus a number of groups (many online), including: