50th Anniversary

Rochester Zen Center

Tuesday Night Orientation

Whether you’ve attended an Introductory Workshop or are coming to the Rochester Zen Center from another place of practice, Zendo protocol can initially seem intimidating, or details can be difficult to remember.  Tuesday Night Orientations are offered from 6:00-7:00 pm, free of charge, for anyone who would benefit from a focused review of what to expect during a formal sitting, including how to build a sustainable sitting posture, how to bow, how to do kinhin (walking meditation), how to chant, and how to do prostrations.  Orientations also help familiarize attendees with RZC’s Dokusan Room (used for Private Instruction and Dokusan), support cushion storage area, changing rooms, and restrooms.  Orientations lead directly into the Beginners’ Night sitting, where you can put your newly-honed skills in action.

Tuesday Night Orientations are offered on demand, but we do ask that you RSVP the day of the Orientation you’re attending by calling the main RZC phone line at (585) 473-9180 before 3:00 pm.

Beginners’ Night

Beginners’ Night is our special 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.

Beginners’ Night’s three sitting rounds are shorter than any other offered during the week, clocking in at only 25 minutes each.  This can be especially helpful for those who are just working up to sitting for longer periods.  Beginners’ Night is also the only time during the week when a chanting service is offered in the evening.  Chanting is an invaluable way to embody the Dharma, and newcomers in particular are encouraged to attend.  As with all of our chanting services, chant books are passed out.  Beginners’ Night is also noteworthy for hosting an informal Sangha Teatime in the Dining Room, adjacent to the Zendo, after the sitting and chanting end for the evening.  This is a wonderful way to get to know RZC Sangha, Staff members, and residential trainees.  Sangha Teatime is optional, but we look forward to meeting you!

In both the Zendo and the Dining Room, as at any sitting, monitors may offer hands-on posture feedback, similar to a yoga-class adjustment.  This feedback is one of many benefits of attending sittings with others.

Private Instruction and Group Instruction

At Beginners’ Night only, RZC offers your choice of 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.  Private and Group Instruction are highly recommended for anyone wishing to deepen their practice, especially those just starting out.  Private Instruction is also offered most Friday evenings, though the Beginners’ Night program may be especially welcoming to those just getting started in practice.