Ino's orientation, opening of retreat


1. Bow when entering the zendo, after stepping across line (show line), proceed left or right depending on whether you are sitting to right or left of altar. Go around periphery, not cutting diagonally across. Bow to your place, then turn clockwise and bow to the center. People on either side gassho in return, but not people across the zendo--it’s too far to see easily. We face inward in this zendo, not towards the wall.

 2. Kinhin: is the time to use the rest room. Leave promptly after the timekeeper claps the clappers. No need to bow when exiting the zendo in a line with others. Please keep focus of zazen during kinhin. After you finish using the rest room do kinhin in the vestibule. It’s not a time for running errands to your cabin or stretching in the balcony. When kinhin ends line up in two lines, and file in when everyone else has returned to their places.

At the end of kinhin is the time to change your sitting gear, get a bench, chair, etc. 

Please remember to be as quiet as possible when using the rest rooms. Sound carries. Please remember to turn off the fans by turning off the light switch when you’re the last one out.

3. Please be on time for each sitting period. Be in your place five minutes before the beginning of the period. Listen to the han pattern, and be sitting before the final roll down. If you are late wait until the doshi has entered and offered incense before entering the zendo.

4. Please attend all sittings and follow the sesshin schedule. If something comes up and you are not able to attend a sitting or need to leave the sesshin before you planned, please let me know. If I don’t know what’s happened to you, I will come and check to see if you’re okay. It’s not to be intrusive; it’s part of creating a safe container for us all to practice intensely together. If you have special physical needs or considerations, please let me know.

5. I will try to regulate the zendo temperature at a level that works for most people, but you may need to add or subtract layers at times. Please be patient and flexible, and come to me if you have any concerns.

6. Please turn off all beepers, do not wear perfumes or scented lotions.

7. It’s fine to sneeze or cough, but please muffle it in your sleeve.

8. It’s fine to use the balcony for stretching during breaks.


 1. Standing gassho during service dedication are signaled by the small bell. This happens in morning service only. In other services the doshi will gassho, but we don’t.  2. Exit bows (gassho): first one towards altar, second one facing in, one more when doshi leaves (two bells).  Meals, Samish  1. We form a line and walk together to the dining hall, chanting Ho (dharma) until the ino claps the clappers outside the dining hall door. We walk in silence to the evening meal, and do no meal chants.  2. After serving yourself,  wait quietly at your seats until the ino leads the meal chant. Please do not use the tea/coffee area at this time.  3. When most people have finished eating, please put your cutlery down and wait for the chant to end the meal.  4. After that you can finish your meal, get seconds or use the tea area.  
Meals, Dharma Hall (oryoki)

1. Meals will by oryoki serving each other in lines sitting in the zendo.
2. Please keep your oryoki set by your place.
3. If you need a set you may rent ($10) or buy one ($40), see me at the end of the evening.
4. Oryoki is a complex form please be patient with yourself and look at your neighbors. And if your neighbor looks stuck please help.
5. Even if you do everything "wrong" you will still eat.
6, Extra help with oryoki will be available after breakfast tomorrow so you only need to make it through on meal and then we can sort it out.

SESSHIN ADMONITIONS – important points for orientation

Silence (eye contact, giving each other space & respect)

No Reading

No Writing

Zendo attire (no scents, dark clothing, no mala beads or jewlery)

Do the schedule

No watches

No electronic beeping things



bowing on the paths

explain the han (starts 10 min before sitting, 3 roll downs, if late)

kinhin is not just always bathroom break (not for getting coffee)

Friday night informal, Sat. zazen part of the schedule, Sat. breakfast informal

robe chant before 1st zazen in the morning (don't wear rakasu/okesa to the zendo in the morning) – Norman will lead, words in the chant book cover


Work period

minimal talking (about what's in front of you if needed)

attend to the task at hand

work is practice



who the leaders are (Nancy as jisha, Michael as ino, John at retreat mgr, Kelly registration/dana, Norman)