Schedule

We meet on Thursday evenings from 6 to 8pm at:
The Herb Skolnick Community Center
800 SW 36th Ave.
Pompano Beach, Fla 33309
(click here for directions and map)

PLEASE NOTE: We will NOT be meeting on Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 23rd. Please have a very happy Thanksgiving, and come sit with us again on Thursday, Nov. 30th.

During the first half of our weekly meetings, we have a discussion on a book related to Zen practice that we are reading together, or an open discussion on whatever issues or questions are arising for us.

After a short break, during the second half of our meetings, we have two periods of Zazen (Zen meditation) with a Kinhin (walking meditation) in between. Meditation instruction is available at 5:30 p.m. before the meeting begins.

Service

Occaisionally we will have a Zen Buddhist service, which is not an act of worship or prayer, but both a symbolic, as well as an experiential, expression of the recognition of the Buddha (enlightenment - our true nature) in each of us. Thus the Buddha statue on the altar does not represent a deity to be worshipped, but the Buddha nature inherent in each of us. During the service, we chant the translation of an ancient sutra (teaching) written by a Japanese Zen master in the 17th century. There are sheets passed out that have the words to all the chants that we do. Please join in as best you can, or just observe if you prefer. At the beginning and end of the service, we do three full bows.

Bowing

In the Zen tradition we acknowledge the unity of all things by bowing. We bow to each other, bringing our palms together (symbolizing the separation of the two, becoming one), then bowing to each other (acknowledging our true oneness, rather than our usual dualistic view of being separate from each other). When we do a full bow, we place our forehead on the floor, with our hands palms up on either side of our head, raising our palms to slightly above the level of our head (symbolizing raising the Buddha mind – the enlightened mind – above our restricted mind of dualistic thinking).

Zazen (Zen Sitting Meditation)

Zazen can be done either cross legged, in a kneeling position, or sitting in a chair. It is advisable to sit in whichever position you can maintain comfortably and with stability. Once you have sat down, relax your body, while keeping your back straight and your head directly above your neck, looking slightly down in front of you. Be aware of your body and your breathing. Don’t try to adjust the way you breathe, just breathe naturally, and be aware of the breath coming in on the inhale and going out on the exhale. Feel the sensation of the breath coming in and going out – moment by moment. When your mind wanders and you realize you have forgotten to be aware of your breathing, just notice whatever your mind is doing, and bring your attention back to your breathing. (Click here for more instructions)

Kinhin (Walking Meditation)

Between the 2 periods of zazen, there is a brief kinhin (walking meditation), which starts out as a very slow, step by step walk. Follow the person to your left, and while walking, be aware of the movement of your body, your feet touching the ground, your breath coming in and going out. After a few minutes a bell rings signalling to speed up the walking to a normal pace. The practice is the same, being aware of what is occuring, moment to moment.

Zazen at Home

It is recommended to practice zazen every day, even if just for ten or fifteen minutes. Make a time for yourself each day, set aside to sit quietly with yourself, moment by moment. Not thinking, or worrying, or planning, or expecting anything --- just being quiet, being with the breathing, the sitting.

 

 

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