Zazen services

Order of zazen services

Sunday and Wednesday Zazen services last two hours. Below is the typical order of our Zazen services.

Entering the zendo

Sunday and Wednesday Zazen services last two hours. When you enter the front door an attendant will greet you with a bow. Please return the bow if you are comfortable doing so, and move to your left to remove your shoes. If this is your first time attending, please let the attendant know, and they will instruct you where to hang your coat, wash your hands, and help get you settled on a meditation cushion or chair. Please remain seated until the beginning of the service.


We begin service by chanting the Heart Sutra and the Four Great Bodhisattva Vows in English. You will receive a chant card to follow along. While Chanting is optional, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the content of the chants. The Heart Sutra is the most concise statement of the philosophy behind Zen practice. It reminds us of the selfless, boundless nature of true reality and of our ability to recognize our connectedness with all beings through meditation practice. We chant the Four Great Bodhisattva Vows to affirm our commitment to continue practicing for the benefit of all beings undeterred by the difficulties we might encounter.

Zazen (first period)

After chanting, the first 40-minute period of zen meditation (zazen) begins. Please bow to the cushion before sitting. The priest will provide meditation instructions for newcomers and gentle posture adjustments if you allow it. The period ends at the sound of the bell, at which point you may relax your posture. At the sound of a wooden clapper, it is time to stand up for walking meditation. Once you stand, please straighten out your meditation cushion and bow to it with gratitude for supporting your practice.


A 10-minute period of walking meditation (kinhin) commences at the sound of two clappers. A priest will provide detailed instructions if this is your first time attending. In kinhin, we walk very slowly counterclockwise around the zendo, translating into motion the peaceful yet concentrated alertness we cultivated in the stillness of Zazen. At the sound of a bell, kinhin ends, we turn toward the center of the zendo, bow to each other, and resume walking at a normal pace back to the cushions. Please bow to the cushion and settle into your chosen meditation posture for the second 40-minute period of zazen.

Zazen (second period)

During the second period, the priest usually offers a short teisho, a talk to encourage your practice and clarify concepts in Zen Buddhist philosophy with emphasis on engaging these principles in everyday life.


Service concludes with chanting the Heart Sutra in Japanese and bowing to the altar to offer donations.


Schedule of zazen services

10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
After service, you will have the opportunity to ask questions.