Getting Started
Getting Started at Daiyuzenji

If you are new to Zen training and would like to receive basic meditation instruction, we offer this Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7 pm (if that session is impossible for you, let us know and we can schedule another time).

Please arrive at least 10 minutes early.  Click here to RSVP, please (this will also take you to directions and a map).

On this first visit, you will receive an introduction to the practice of zazen (Zen meditation) which will allow you to attend any meditation session in our schedule.  We'll also give you Daiyuzenji membership information.  All are welcome regardless of physical condition.

The suggested donation for this visit is $10.00.

What to Wear the First Time

When you first visit, any comfortable clothing that is modest and without bright colors or words is fine.  Tight pants like
jeans should be avoided, as they are difficult to sit in.  Shoes are unimportant, as you'll be barefoot.

What's Next?:  Becoming a Daiyuzenji Member

After receiving introductory instruction you are welcome to apply for Daiyuzenji membership.  Members at Daiyuzenji support our temple by donating regularly and participating in practice.  You may donate online here or in person at Daiyuzenji.  Note:  donations of any amount are gratefully accepted, and we will not turn anyone away for financial reasons.

Daiyuzenji members are also automatically enrolled as members of the Rinzai Zen Community (www.rinzaizen.org) and receive all the benefits of this connection to our larger Zen practice network, including access to special events and training materials.  Among these special events are several that will help you deepen your Zen practice in a progressive manner.  Monthly Zen intensives and quarterly Zazenkai, for example, are opportunities to practice more intensively and begin learning the forms used at Sesshin, our traditional meditation retreats.  One of our teachers is always available to discuss your practice and an appropriate training program for you.

At some point you may want to obtain dedicated practice clothing.  The traditional wear for our members is traditional Japanese-style training clothing (keikogi, hakama and obi) which we have found to be the most practical and comfortable garments for Zen practice.  There are two recommended texts for beginners, and several other useful books for more advanced students.  Information on these things may be found on our Resources page.

Daiyuzenji is a not-for-profit charitable institution, and all donations go entirely to our operating expenses.  Your donations are tax-deductible, and you'll receive a receipt at the end of each year for tax purposes.

Going Forward:  The Path of Practice

Having received introductory instruction and joined our community, the most important thing then is to do Zen - to practice -  in your daily life.  You'll eventually meet all our teachers and have the chance to speak with them one-on-one.  And as your practice deepens, you'll start to see its impact on your life.

Eventually you may feel you wish to work with a particular teacher in a dedicated manner  -  a necessary step as practice progresses.  When this happens, just approach him or her;  teachers are happy to discuss the most suitable direction for you.  If you both agree to work together, a brief private ceremony called shoken formalizes the relationship.

At some point it may also feel appropriate for you to formally commit to the Buddhist teachings.  This is done in a ceremony called zaike tokudo, during which you take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and receive the Five Lay Precepts.  Please speak to a teacher about this at any time if you wish.

Going forward, remember that our community exists to support you.  As you develop relationships with fellow students, we hope you'll see that Zen practice - though intimately personal - is something we do with, and for, others.