Ritual Form in the Zendo

Practicing mindful movement in the zendo helps bring one’s awareness in harmony with one’s surroundings. If this is your first time, please review a few of the essential forms below. Newcomers are not expected to know these practices, conventions we refer to as form. If you have any questions, feel free to ask anyone with a rakusu after any gathering.  

Placing One’s Shoes

At the entryway of the zendo, please place your shoes neatly beside others. This ritual initiates our intention to slow down, practice mindfulness, and respect the harmony of the group.

Entering the Zendo

When entering the zendo, make a standing bow with palms together toward the center of the room. This is a recognition of putting aside the distraction in our minds and entering sacred space.

At Your Cushion

When you approach your cushion, make a standing bow, then turn and bow again to the seat across from you, even if no one is sitting there at the time. When you are seated and someone sits across from you and bows, you return their bow in respect and greeting. Whenever we leave our cushions after sitting, it’s customary to brush off the surface of the zabuton and fluff the zafu in consideration of the next practitioner who will use them.

Chant Books

Be mindful of the sutra chant cards or books during sitting. They should be handled carefully and placed under your cushion when not in use. When you leave your seat, please leave the chant card or book on top of your zafu or zabuton.