INISFADA ZENDO BASICS
Everything we do is done to strengthen the practice: entering, bowing, sitting, standing and leaving.
The table with a statue, incense and water represents our aspiration to awaken. We bow to our work.
Each of us is a noble practitioner, so we bow to each other and are energized in that recognition.
Our mat (or chair) is where we do the work. We honor that spot and it opens to us, and so we open.
Respect is empty of judgement, to give respect is to experience emptying.
Sometimes teachers need to enter a closed Zendo, but the rest of us sit outside opening to the gifts - to ourselves of discipline and to others of respect. We rejoin the sangha during kinhin.
The bell is our timekeeper. From the first bell to the last we are practicing zazen (sitting meditation).
After each sitting, even as we stand with hands in gassho (honoring) position, we are still practicing.
Attention may shift from the breath to the energy of mother earth's contact with the soles of our feet.
We keep our eyes averted. We don't distract others from their practice by look, touch or speech.
Leaving in single file minimizes the thoughts that might side track our inward attention.
At the first clap we bow to our fellows, turn and follow the line led by the kinhin leader.
If kinhin (walking meditation) is going to be outside we quickly and attentively put on our shoes. This is the time to use the bathroom, not after kinhin. Why risk holding up or missing the next sitting?
Kinhin teaches us to take the breath and silence of the mat into the world. Kinhin is not a break.
Hands in gassho, line up behind leader. Second clap moves hands to clasp high on chest (for balance).
Kinhin is the sangha walking meditation in a line, an arm's length apart and eyes straight ahead.
Moving as one, we energize each other. We walk fully awake to our bodies and to the world around us.
The third clap brings our hands back to gassho as we reenter the building (or zendo).
The power and wisdom in chants penetrates and transforms on a cellular level, so chant with energy.
Don't think on meanings, let it all go and chant with gusto. To be a mountain we must sing like one.
The Dharma Talk
The third period Teisho or Dharma talk is meant to be felt more than understood.
Teachers bring decades of direct experience and Dharma study to energize and encourage the sangha.
A Teisho is not a lecture to clutter the mind. Rather, it hopes to illuminate personal experiences.
If a teisho's energy resonates, keep it and use it in your practice. Otherwise let it go.
— Neil Smith