Practice with us

Zen is a practice that deepens over a lifetime. The time honored way of studying Zen, is one of gradual observation, meeting questions as they arise.  You will naturally enter that process when you walk in the door. 

Weekly

Our Sunday practice includes sitting meditation (zazen), walking meditation (kinhin), a Dharma talk, and a brief Zen chanting service (liturgy). Newcomers are welcome anytime, click here for more information.

Our ongoing Tuesday Practice consists of simple sitting and walking meditation. Newcomers are welcome anytime.

Monthly

On the first Sunday of the month, our service takes the form of a Well-Being and Memorial ceremony. This is a special service dedicated to those who are ill, disturbed or who otherwise need special love and compassion. We also honor the lives of those who have recently died. 

Events

Throughout the year there are a number of other ways to practice through classes, retreats, and other activities.


Join us online

While we have curtailed in-person events at SSZ during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to meet online.  Please join us.

Currently, we are offering our weekly practice sessions on Sunday through Friday.  Please watch this space for additional practice opportunities upcoming.

We use Zoom meetings (https://zoom.us) for our virtual sessions. You can find our chant book and class materials here.

We have taken precautions to make our meetings safe and welcoming.  Most importantly, we do not provide the link to our meetings to the general public on our website.  To receive the link to join our sessions, please sign up for our newsletter, which you can do at the bottom of this page.  We send the link weekly to our subscribers.

Second, all of our meetings require a password to enter.  The password is embedded in the meeting link, so as long as you enter the meeting by clicking the link in our newsletter, you will not need to know it.

Finally, in the weeks we have held online sessions, we have never experienced anything but warmth and kindness from regulars and newcomers, alike.  Our hearts are open to whomever decides to join us.

All times are Pacific Daylight Time.

Sunday Practice

Room opens8:50am
Zazen9:00am
Kinhin9:25am
Zazen9:35am
Break10:00am
Dharma talk10:05am
Q&A10:45am
Service10:55am
Announcements11:10am
Virtual tea and cookies11:15am
Close11:30am

Tuesday Evening Practice

Room opens6:00pm
Zazen6:15pm
Kinhin6:40pm
Zazen6:50pm
Bodhisattva Vows/Close7:15pm

Weekday Morning Practice

Room opens (Thursdays only introductory meditation instruction at 730am)7:45am
Zazen8:00am
Bodhisattva Vows8:25am
Kinhin8:28am
Zazen8:35am
Close9:00am

Creating a quiet space

It’s impossible to turn our homes into quiet zendos, but we can still keep the shared space that way.  Zoom allows us to mute our microphones, which keeps our shared space quiet.  There’s a button for this in the lower left.  Please leave it muted while not speaking.

Facing in, facing out

When we are “facing in” for the dharma talk or when settling in before the bell, it brings us closer together to see your face.  When we “turn to the wall” for zazen, some of our practitioners point their cameras at neutral spaces, shrines or flowers.  When the bell rings to end the session, retraining the camera on yourself to “face in” closes the circle of community.

See and be seen

Laptop webcams work best when your face is lighted but the background isn’t.  A light behind your laptop and no windows in view of the camera will help us connect with you much better.  If you aren’t seeing everyone in the zendo, double-check that your session is in “gallery mode,” which you will find in the upper right.

Sitting in the virtual zendo

For the tinkerers among you, Zoom also allows us to create a virtual background on some computers.  This makes your room private so people can walk behind you and they won’t be seen on camera.  You can set the background in the video settings.  If we use the following image, it will put us right inside our zendo.  You can save it from this page.

Virtual Practice Discussion

Kanshin Allison is offering virtual one-on-one practice discussions.  You may schedule a session with her at our practice sessions.

Please join us for tea and cookies

After the dharma talk, we stay online for BYO “tea and cookies.”  Regular visitors to our Zendo gather after service to socialize for awhile.  It’s a good thing social distancing only applies to the body.  Feel welcome to bring your mind and spirit and stay with us, awhile.

New to Zen?

BEGINNING YOUR PRACTICE

Zen practice deepens over a lifetime, with gradual observation and meeting questions as they arise. One naturally enters that process when beginning any of the following. 

Choose what appeals to you, and go at your own pace. 

Zazen 

You are welcome to attend our weekly sessions at any time. A

Zazen, or seated meditation, is the core practice of Zen. Our Sunday morning and Tuesday evening gatherings are times when we support one another by meditating together. Most of us also gradually develop a daily meditation practice at home as well.

Dharma study

Many practitioners first find their way to Zen teachings via the bookstore. Be it contemporary classics such as Suzuki Roshi’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind and Aitken Roshi’s Taking the Path of Zen, or texts whose study spans centuries, such as The Dhammapada and writings by the founder of our particular school of Zen, Dogen, there is a vast treasury of Dharma to be discovered via the written word.

One may find that studying our tradition’s teachings with others brings them alive. We offer a number of classes over the course of the year. These include ample time for discussion.

Working with a Teacher

As one begins to form questions about Zen, it can be helpful to bring them to a teacher, such as ours, Kanshin Allison Tait.

The first and easiest way to access Kanshin’s teachings are by listening to Sunday morning talks, either in person, or through recordings available on this website. On Sunday, one also has the opportunity to ask questions (and hear those of others) after the talk. There is a wide range of topics but the focus is typically on classic Buddhist teachings and investigations of the unique realities of spiritual life in the present day.

Kanshin is also available to anyone for one-on-one meetings which can be arranged via email. These meetings, called practice discussion, are typically between 5 and 20 minutes and traditionally take place—when in person—in a quiet, intimate setting, Buddha to Buddha. For now, Zoom or Facetime will suffice. Practice discussion can touch on any aspect of one’s practice. Allison is an accessible teacher and there is no prerequisite study or experience necessary to meet with her. Developing a teacher-student relationship is central to Zen.

Asking for guidance in one’s zazen is a good place to begin. You may have questions about morality and Buddhist ethics, spiritual materials you’re reading, or the meaning of the liturgy we chant. Just as with zazen, students begin to gradually understand how to work together with a teacher, naturally, over time.

Retreat or Sesshin 

An essential Zen practice is gathering for intense silent retreats, called sesshin, where we follow a schedule of zazen from early in the morning until well after sunset. These retreats put one at the heart of Zen practice.

There is a range of sesshin each year, including some gentle short retreats geared for beginners, to those lasting three or more days. Most retreats have flexibility to accommodate the demands of careers and families. As soon as you feel ready, we encourage you to attend sesshin.


Come sit with us.