Wednesday, July 05, 2006


(Remove shoes before entering, it is also best to leave bags etc outside.)

Step into the Zendo with the foot nearest the door-hinge and bow in Gassho.

Go to your seat, hands in shashu, without crossing the centre of the room. If you pass the altar, bow.

Bow to cushion or seat in Gassho

Seat yourself facing the wall and adjust the posture.

At the formal start of Zazen a bell will sound three times.

Two bells sound when First Zazen period ends.

Turn clockwise and Stand with hands in Shashu facing left.

Begin Kinhin.

After ten minutes. A bell sounds to end Kinhin. Continue walking in the same direction at normal pace to seat, do not back track.

Face into the room and Gassho together, then be seated. 3 bells will sound.

Final period of zazen ended by a single bell.
(if there is chanting it is carried out now and ended by a bell)

Stand and bow twice in Gassho. First bow to the altar/table, the second bow facing directly into the room to each other. Then a final bow in Shashu, led by the practice leader.
Finally face left and file out of room on sound of bell, hands in shashu.


Terms uses

GASSHO also referred to as Namaste. A bow with palms together.
SHASHU Bring your left thumb to middle of you left palm and close you fist around it, Hold your left hand in front of you and close your right hand over it. Keep elbows extended.
KINHIN Slow, meditative walking with hands in Shashu. Lift foot on in breath and put it down on out breath.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Chanting is an effective means of harmonizing body and mind. Chant with your ears, not with your mouth. When chanting, be aware of the others who are also chanting. Blend your voice with their voices. Make one voice, all together. Chant not too high, not too low, not too fast, not too slow. Take your pace from the senior practitioner, who will take the initiative. Chanting should not be shouting. When a person chants like that, he chants as if only he exists and no one else, which is not so. Always adjust yourself to the others, rather than expecting them to adjust to you. Then there is harmony. Chant as though each syllable were a drop of rain in a steady shower. It is very mild, consistent, and sustained.Chanting functions the same as all of our practices in Zen. On one level, we can see that the sutras we chant have their own content; they mean something. Some, like the Heart Sutra for example, are especially concise and packed with deep meaning. But again, apart from the texts, the act of chanting is in itself an absolute practice, simultaneously expressing and creating an inner state of consciousness. And as we chant together and hear each other chanting, we are helped further in joining our minds. This is harmony. This is practice together--Taizan Maezumi Roshi

Heart of Great Perfect Wisdom Sutra

Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, when deeply practicing prajna paramita, clearly saw that all five aggregates are empty and thus relieved all suffering.

Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form. Sensations, perceptions, formations, and consciousness are also like this.

Shariputra, all dharmas are marked by emptiness; they neither arise nor cease, are neither defiled nor pure, neither increase nor decrease. Therefore, given emptiness, there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of sight….no realm of mind consciousness. There is neither ignorance nor extinction of ignorance …neither old age and death, nor extinction of old age and death; no suffering, no cause, no cessation, no path; no knowledge and no attainment.

With nothing to attain, a Bodhisattva relies on prajna paramita and thus the mind is without hindrance. Without hindrance, there is no fear. Far beyond all inverted views, one realizes nirvana. All buddhas of past, present, and future rely on prajna paramita and thereby attain unsurpassed, complete, perfect enlightenment.

Therefore know the prajna paramita as the great miraculous mantra, the great bright mantra, the supreme mantra, the incomparable mantra, which removes all suffering and is true, not false.
Therefore we proclaim the prajna paramita mantra, the mantra that says

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

METTA SUTTA (Loving Kindness Meditation)

This is what should be accomplished by the one who is wise,Who seeks the good and has obtained peace.

Let one be strenuous, upright and sincere, Without pride, easily contented and joyous. Let one not be submerged by the things of the world.Let one not take upon one's self the burden of riches. Let one's senses be controlled. Let one be wise, but not puffed up and Let one not desire great possessions even for one's family.Let one do nothing that is mean or that the wise would reprove.
May all beings be happy. May they be joyous and live in safety. All living beings, whether weak or strong, In high or middle or low realms of existence,Small or great, visible or invisible, Near or far, born or to be born, May all beings be happy.
Let no one deceive another, nor despise any being in any state. Let none by anger or hatred wish harm to another. Even as a mother at the risk of her life Watches over and protects her only child, So with a boundless mind should one cherish all living things,Suffusing love over the entire world, Above, below and all around without limit, So let one cultivate an infinite good will toward the whole world.
Standing or walking, sitting or lying down, During all one's waking hours Let one practice the way with gratitude.
Not holding to fixed views, Endowed with insight, Freed from sense appetites, one who achieves the way Will be freed from the duality of birth and death.



namu butsu
yo butsu u in
yo butsu u en
buppo so en
jo raku ga jo
cho nen kanzeon
bo nen kanzeon
nen nen ju shin ki
nen nen fu ri shin

METTA SUTTA (on reverse of sheet)

DEDICATION (chanted by Kokyo)

Having received immeasurable benefit from the practice of myriad enlightened teachers of the past and present, thankfully we offer this merit to all sentient beings. May they become Buddha’s W~a~y.


All buddhas, ten directions, three times,
All honoured ones, bodhisattva-mahasattvas,
Wisdom beyond wisdom,
Maha Prajña Paramita.