FAQ

When and where are your services?

Our two main services are Sunday mornings from 10-11:45 and Wednesday nights from 7-8:30.

We meet at the Havurah building, 15401 Westside Highway.

What can I expect from one of your services?

There is tea, chanting, 20-25 minute periods of silent meditation, and walking meditation. Our Sunday morning services include a dharma talk, and our Wednesday night services include a book discussion (we read as we go–no need to have read the book beforehand).

Most Sunday mornings there are about 20-25 adults. On our Children’s Program Sunday (usually the first Sunday of the month–January 8 in January) there are also about a dozen kids.

Wednesday evening meditation and book discussion from 7-8:30. We are reading “Novice to Master, an ongoing lesson in the extent of my own stupidity,” by Soko Morinaga.  No need to have read ahead of time-we read as we go. Most Wednesday nights, about 15 people attend.

 

 

Can I come to the Zen center if I’m new to Zen meditation?

We welcome newcomers to Zen to any of our activities. Our most common advice to first-time meditators is to relax, pay attention, and observe your breath.

What should I wear?

We encourage you to wear whatever makes you comfortable and helps facilitate your practice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the people like?

Some at the Zen Center have been practicing Zen or other forms of meditation for decades and some are just starting out.  Some attend services with other spiritual communities in addition to Zen.  Wherever you are in your spiritual practice you are welcome here.  Our community is open to all regardless of age, ethnicity, religious affiliation, disability, or sexual orientation.

Our Abbot Koshin Christopher Cain trained at Mt. Baldy Zen Center for 12 years under Joshu Sasaki Roshi.  He is a member of the American Zen Teacher’s Association.  Koshin is married to Soshin Lidunn Cain and they have two children.  

For information on our Abbot and our current Board members, see here. 

How long has the Zen Center been on the island?

The Puget Sound Zen Center was founded in 2003.  It started above an orthodontist’s office in the IGA parking lot, then was at the Mann Studio near KVI beach for several years. In 2015 the Zen Center moved to its current location at the Havurah.

Where can I get some intro instruction, or some guidance on basic etiquette?

Come 10 minutes before any service, and we’ll give you some brief instructions. Or just walk on in and follow along.

Every second Sunday of the month, from 9 to 9:45am in the Havurah building, we also do a program called “Introduction to the Zen Center”.

In this introductory session, we briefly discuss meditation practice and posture, Zen practice, and what to expect at a Zen service. The regular Sunday service follows at 10am.

Also, here are a couple of talks from our Abbot on breathing and posture: talk 1 and talk 2

If I can’t sit cross-legged can I come?

Absolutely. If you come visit us, you can choose to sit on a cushion on the floor (you can use multiple cushions in whatever comfortable configuration works for you), or you can choose a chair, a stool, or a kneeling bench.

Is there anything I should bring?

We recommend wearing loose-fitting clothes. Feel free to bring any cushions or meditation equipment of your own–we also have plenty at the Zendo.

 

In brief, what is Zen?

Zen is one of many schools of Buddhism.  The word Zen comes from the Pali word dhyana which means “meditation” – meditation is a central part of Zen practice.  At PSZC we practice Rinzai Zen, which is one of the two main schools of Zen.  

Zen is a practice.  In Zen we practice sitting, walking, and working in meditation in order to more readily and completely experience the present moment.  To do this, we have to do the work of losing our thinking self, and manifesting what we call no-self or Buddha Nature.  Zen is a lifelong practice of awakening to no-self and integrating that aspect of ourselves into our lives.  

Zen is a study.  We investigate ourselves and the dharma with the help of teachers past and present.    

Zen is a community.  We practice Zen together, supporting one another, learning from each other, and enjoying each other’s company.  

Zen is service.  The cultivation of Zen wisdom allows us to more freely and ably help others.  Service to others is a part of our practice, and a natural result of our practice.

I have more questions–who should I contact?

Email membership@pszc.org to get connected with our newcomer welcomers.

 

 

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