Zendo Etiquette

Please remove your shoes upon entering the building. Socks are worn indoors, or you may walk barefoot.

Wear clothing that is comfortable for sitting practice, and non-distracting to others.

If circumstances dictate that you enter or exit during zazen please do so as quietly as possible. Otherwise, it is customary to wait until kinhin to join or leave practice.

With hands in Gassho, bow upon entering the zendo, before the zafu, and to the sangha members opposite.  Bows are offered at other transitions, such as at the beginning and end of periods of sitting and walking meditation, periods of chanting, and at the end of the practice period.  If you choose not to bow, simply sit or stand quietly.

Bells mark transitions in the practice period. Three tones signal the beginning of a sitting period; two tones signal the beginning of kinhin; one tone signals the end of practice.

If it becomes necessary that you stay seated after zazen because of physical discomfort, simply gassho from your cushion and rejoin the others when you are able. 



Dana is a Pali or Sanskrit word signifying generosity or giving, the voluntary giving of material, energy, or wisdom to others. It is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist virtues. 

Gassho is Japanese for "palms of the hands placed together". It is a Zen expression for the ancient gesture of greeting, request, gratitude, veneration, or supplication used in many cultures throughout Asia. Palms are held together, fingers pointing upwards and elbows spread apart so your forearms are almost parallel to the ground; then bow.

Kinhin is a Japanese term for walking meditation. It is usually performed between periods of zazen. Different schools practice kinhin at different tempos; at Great Wind, we walk very slowly in a series of half-steps. Hands are held close to the body at your waist, one hand in a fist with thumb tucked in, the other hand encircling it.

Sangha is a Pali or Sanskrit word for the Buddhist community. In a more narrow sense, it refers to the community of the zendo. In a broader sense it encompasses the community of all living beings.

Zabuton is Japanese for "sitting mat". It is just big enough for a person sitting in the lotus position to fit bottom and knees on it. Usually, the zafu is placed on top of it.

Zafu is a Japanese term for a round cushion used for seated meditation.

Zazen is a Japanese term for seated meditation. It is the primary religious practice of Zen Buddhism and is considered to be the most direct way to enlightenment.

Zendo is a Japanese term for meditation hall.