Guidelines for Beginners

The Basic Guidelines for Beginners


Dress neatly, modestly, and discreetly. Clean, loose-fitting, subdued-colored clothing, such as long skirts or long pants, is appropriate. Zazen robes are encouraged for those who sit regularly. The black color is passed down to us from the Japanese Zen tradition, but any quiet color will do. Do not wear jeans, shorts or short skirts, noisy jewelry, hats, tank-tops, T-shirts with messages, strong perfumes or cologne. Your dress should in no way call attention to itself or disturb the spirit of silence and harmony in the zendo. Turn off wrist-watch alarms, pagers, pda’s and cell phones, or leave them in your car. Please do not leave personal items in the Zendo entrance or changing area.

Sitting apparatus

We use a variety of furniture for zazen and are always searching for new items. Zazen is not meant to be torturous. Please find the item that allows you to sit with stability and comfort. You may use a round cushion (zafu), a square cushion (gomden), a low or tall bench, a stool, a chair, et cetera. In all cases, the basics of zazen posture apply: back upright to allow for proper breathing and hands in the zazen mudra.

Basic Guidelines

Silence. When we enter the zendo, we maintain Great Silence. We are silent in and around the zendo, especially during zazen and sesshin. There is no unnecessary talking in the zendo at any time.

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