Zazen Practice Form Guidelines

“We do not serve the form, the form serves us”

The Zazen practice form is simple, exquisite, and impeccably designed to support us in directly experiencing our True Nature: pure, awakened Mind. This Dharma (Truth) does not ask us to believe anything, but only offers us profound opportunity to discover for ourselves what is real. The practice itself may at first glance appear rigid, but it is a supple form, rich with meaning, designed only to facilitate awakening. Each nuance is a chance to bring mindfulness and appreciation to our actions.

I offer the following simple guidelines not as rigid restrictions, but as loving and compassionate opportunities. In our practice gatherings:

  • Please bow when you approach the entrance to the circle of cushions. Then walk to a seat and bow to it, turn and bow to the center (Sangha), and take your seat. Also, please bow upon exiting the circle.
  • Within the circle, let’s maintain essential silence, speaking only when necessary and relevant to practice. Personal conversation is welcome outside the circle, before and after our practice period.
  • During opening and closing check-ins, as well as during discussion periods, please only speak when holding the talking stick. When it is in someone else’s hands, please open yourself completely to deeply listening to that person.
  • Many of us are intimately familiar with support groups and spiritual circles involving much talking. What we have here also allows us to support each other deeply, to see and acknowledge the truth and beauty of individuals and of the whole. Yet this practice form is rather a community of solitudes. Like the gems on Indra’s net, each of us is whole, silent, still, and distinct, even as we reflect one essence, and even as we intertwine.


  • While meditation guidance happens in Twining Vines Zen, I am primarily offering a container for practice, rather than instruction. I am more than happy to meet with individuals before our sessions or to stay afterward, to offer meditation instruction or respond to questions. Please contact me to request this.


Mondo Zen/Hollow Bones Rinzai Zen School