Zendo Guidelines

Ethical Guidelines and Restorative Practice Policy

The Chobo-ji’s Ethics and Restoritive Practice Policy can be viewed here.

Sesshin and Zendo Guidelines

Each of these guidelines is intended to help strengthen our zendo atmosphere.

  • Arrive early for each event.
  • No watches (unless you need one as an officer) or noisy jewelry in the zendo.
  • Wear clean, loose, non-distracting dark clothing, no socks, no hats; no strong fragrances. Members over 60 or in medical need may wear socks.
  • When entering the zendo, please bow at the threshold of your row (tan) with your hands in gassho (palms together) and keep your hands in gassho until you reach your cushion. If you don’t have an assigned seat, pick an open seat in the middle of your row.
  • Bow with gassho towards the main altar then bow with gassho to the Sangha (facing away from your cushion) before stepping back with your right foot and taking a seat. After zazen, straighten your cushions (zafu and zabuton) and bow with gassho to them before leaving.
  • When leaving the zendo, have your hands clasped (overlapped and folded) in front of you then turn around 180º at the end of your row (tan) and bow with gassho to Sangha and Buddha. Usually we leave in pairs, beginning with the front of the zendo.
  • If you leave or return to the zendo at any time other than an announced break, please bow with gassho to the jikijitsu (time keeper with the bell) or Jisha (tea server sitting at the entrance end of the jikijitsu tan) upon leaving and returning.
  • Don’t move during zazen. If you must move, gassho with a small bow first, move as silently as possible to a new position, and gassho before resuming meditation.
  • Keep your cushions and the area around them neat and clean. Line up the front of your zabuton (flat bottom cushion) with those next to it. Keep your teacup, sutra book, and meal bowls arranged in the same manner as your neighbors. During Sesshin water bottles are allowed at your cushion, if using them does not become a distraction. If during Sesshin you keep tissues at your cushion, place them under the back your of your zabuton.
  • Respect and help to maintain a silent zendo atmosphere; be aware of your movements and the sounds you make. Don’t audibly clear your throat, sniff or sigh during zazen, and breathe silently. Don’t have a conversation in the zendo or near the zendo at all. During Sesshin verbal communication should be limited to the minimum necessary to accomplish any assigned asks. If you must have an extended conversation during Sesshin, please take it as far as is practicable from the zendo, weather permitting, outside, or the Sangha Lounge, if not.
  • All effort should be given to burning through or combusting any distractions and attachments. Respect for zendo atmosphere means giving your all to this purpose; this is not an easy task; therefore, all our activities strive to be simple, clear, and quiet. Please refrain from any behavior, such as public displays of affection, that may attract attention to you and complicate our collective endeavor. If for some reason you feel your personal space has been violated or intruded upon, you may wish to speak to a member of Chobo-Ji’s reconciliation committee.
  • The bows for Dokusan (Dharma Interview) are as follows: full bow (prostration) at the threshold of the Dokusan room, close the door, full bow at the cushion in front of Genjo Osho-san, thank you bow after interview (hands together on floor, left over right), open the door and do a full bow at the threshold of the room when leaving.