Before You Come

When to come:

The schedule summary contains information about Zoom and (when possible) in-person offerings by  GBZC-Cambridge and affiliated sitting groups, and includes links to Covid-related updates and protocols.

If you are new to Zen:

Please follow the instructions on the Arrange an Orientation page to find out when the next orientation will be taking place. These orientations offer brief introductions to zazen (the Zen style of meditation), to postures that will help you sit comfortably and in stillness, to meditation hall (or zoom zendo) etiquette, and (if relevant) to Zen liturgy. If any of that is new to you, please come to an orientation! Please make every effort to arrive promptly at the scheduled time.

If you would like to get a head start on learning Zen meditation you might read the book Zen Meditation in Plain English by John Buksbazen or review these brief instructions (borrowed from Zen Mountain Monastery).

If you are experienced in Zen:

If you are comfortable with stillness and are familiar with meditation in the Zen tradition and with Zen liturgy, then you are welcome to just show up and dive in.  If you'd like an introduction to our sangha and our Greater Boston Zen Center forms, please send an email to the practice leader listed on the Arrange an Orientation tab to set up a brief meeting before the formal sitting period.

What you should bring and what you should wear (for in-person practice):

You needn't bring anything at all except, ideally, an open mind. Chairs, cushions, and benches will be available. Although you needn't wear anything special, clothing that is loose-fitting (for your comfort while sitting) and not visually distracting (e.g., not brightly-colored) is better than clothing that is constricting or attention-getting.

Is it free?

All orientations and all regular practice sessions are offered free of charge.  We are entirely supported by donations, but if you are unable to make a donation, please come anyway.

If you are looking only for relaxation, You may find it more fruitful to explore a technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation or you may want to read Meditation & Relaxation in Plain English, by Bob Sharples. The Zen tradition regards relaxation as a potential side-effect, and not so much as the goal of practice.

What is the goal, if not relaxation? You might find this podcast helpful.