Before You Come

When to come:

Our main practice periods are Tuesday and Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings. We also have sittings some weekday mornings. See the schedule summary for details.

If you are new to Zen:

Please send an email to the practice leader listed on the Arrange an Orientation page to find out when the next beginner's group orientation will be taking place on the evening or Saturday morning you'd like to come. Orientations are available only by prior arrangement and take place every other week. 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 etiquette, and to Zen liturgy. If any of that is new to you, please consider coming to an orientation!

Since several people often attend these orientations and there is a good bit of material to be covered in a brief period of time, please make every effort to arrive promptly at the scheduled time, out of courtesy to your fellow attendees.

If you are new to Zen:

Attending an orientation is particularly important. However, 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 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 the 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:

You needn't bring anything at all except, ideally, an open mind. Chairs, cushions, and benches will be available. You needn't wear anything special, though you may wish to choose clothing that is loose-fitting and not visually obtrusive.

Is it free?

All orientations and all regular daily 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.  Zen practice may lead to relaxation—but then again, it may not. The Zen tradition regards relaxation as a potential side-effect, and not so much as the goal of practice. But if you are looking to learn a variety of techniques that might help you relax, a fabulous book you may enjoy is Meditation & Relaxation in Plain English, by Bob Sharples.