Starting Zen Practice

Small rin gong, used to start meditation periodsStarting Zen practice at Great Wave is easy; just use our contact form to request an orientation session.  The orientation will give you a good overview of the form of our practice, so that you will feel comfortable during the meditation sessions.  We ask that everyone wear loose, dark-colored (preferably black) clothing to the orientation and to avoid strong perfumes, colognes, or conspicuous jewelry.

Additionally, once you have been oriented, there may also be opportunities for you to join in longer meditation retreats (either sesshin or zazenkai).  We also encourage everyone to create an account on this website and to add an email address to the “Sudden Enlightenment” widget.   (See the right-hand column.)  This ensures that you receive email announcements of upcoming events without having to return to the website.  (Your email address will not be shared.)  You may also easily receive announcements via text message to your cell phone by following us on our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Once you feel comfortable with the weekly meetings, you should consider becoming a member of Great Wave.  Membership provides some significant advantages, including discounts on retreats.  Membership in Great Wave usually is connected to engagement with one of the three training paths.  Briefly, the paths are as follows:

1)      The Lay Path characterized by participation in weekly sittings; occasional participation in retreats; and financial (and, at one’s option, work) support of the Sangha.

2)      The Precept Path characterized by regular weekly sittings; resolved commitment to Zen practice; regular participation in retreats and other Sangha events; periodic dedication of time and energy to the business, logistical, and maintenance needs of the Sangha; and regular financial support.

3)      The Priesthood Path characterized by life-long commitment to the Zen path; regular, consistent participation in retreats and other Sangha events; dedication of time and energy to the business, logistical, maintenance, and leadership needs of the teacher and the Sangha; and regular financial support.

The Lay Path is open to everyone.  Students become eligible for the Precept and Monastic Paths when their experience and commitment warrant and when permitted by the teacher.  More information about the training paths may be made available when you come to the center for an orientation.

If you are unable to come to Great Wave but would like to practice zazen on your own, you may find it useful to read the following books:

The Driftwood Shrine: Discovering Zen in American Poetry by John Gendo Wolff, Sensei
Everyday Zen: Love and Work
by Charlotte Joko Beck, Roshi
Taking the Path of Zen by Robert Aitken, Roshi
The Three Pillars of Zen by Phillip Kapleau, Roshi
What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki
Appreciate Your Life by Taizan Maezumi, Roshi
On Zen Practice: Body, Breath, and Mind by Taizan Maezumi, Roshi, and Bernie Glassman


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