The practice of Zen meditation fosters an ability to live in the present and experience reality fully. The practice is not complicated but it is subtle, and we learn the form by doing it again and again; it is through the repetition of simple actions that we go through the process of clarification, insight and development.
Weekly meditation meetings: The Zen group meets regularly on Tuesday evenings. Members arrive at 6:00pm to be seated and ready. The formal meditation period begins at 6:15 pm and ends at 8:15 pm. We have informal tea and welcome practice related discussion afterwards.
Please arrive a little early so you are ready to sit on time. If you are attending for the first time, please come early in order to receive a brief orientation (call or email ahead of time if possible). Clean up is done after practice ends, and help is welcome.
We spend the bulk of the evening sitting zazen for 25 minute intervals, alternating with 5 minutes of kinhin (walking). The evening begins and ends with chanting, and also includes a formal tea service.
Learning the form: Participants are expected to do their best to follow the form: bowing, walking, sitting, chanting, and taking tea with the group. This maintains an environment suitable for practice. Most people start with slight instruction and learn the rest by following along with the group. This takes time and one needs to have patience with oneself in the understanding that any new practice feels very foreign at first, but over time it comes to feel natural. The process of learning the form through observation is, itself, part of Zen practice.
Once new members feel confident with the basics, they are welcome to learn about and take on the more complex leadership roles: jiki, the practice leader and timekeeper, and shoji, who looks after the zendo environment, keeps the rhythm during chanting, and serves tea.
Practice style: We practice in the Japanese Rinzai Zen tradition as taught by Eshin, Abbot of the Zen Centre of Vancouver. You can listen to several dozen dharma talks by Eshin on the Zen Centre's web site.