Meditate Practice Study Lay Ministries

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ABOUT: Nancy Spence and the Sangha | Visiting the Sangha | FAQ 

Visiting the Sangha

We welcome new visitors to the Sangha. To make your first experience most pleasant, we would like to let you know ahead of time about how to conduct yourself at the Sangha.

Approaching and Entering the Sangha

  • To reinforce our practice and to support the practice of others, we maintain silence as much as possible.
  • When you are ten minutes away from the meditation hall, begin silence. Turn off any audio and silence your phone. If you are driving with another person, stop conversation.
  • Leave your shoes and coat where you see others have left theirs.
  • Please do not wear fragrances of any sort.
  • As much as possible, avoid direct eye contact.
  • Quietly ask someone to point out the guest master for this service.
  • Ask the guest master to show you how to enter the meditation hall and set up your meditation position.

Meditation Practices

For our meditation periods we always face the wall (Soto Zen practice of serene reflection meditation).

Approach your meditation place. Make gassho to your place; turn clockwise and make gassho across the meditation hall, whether anyone is there or not. Continue turning clockwise until you face your meditation place again, and then sit down. Meditators sitting near you will know when to turn and face into the room for services. Follow them.

When meditation and any service are over we process out of the meditation hall in a particular order. Everyone moves clockwise around the hall following the person on your left. The person nearest the door walks to the doorway and turns back to make gassho to the altar. The next person in the line makes gassho to the person leaving since s/he is making gassho. The second person then moves to exit the hall and the process continues until all have exited. The whole group will be gathering in the reception room for announcements from the guide.

Here are several instances where we always make gassho (bow)(see glossary):

  • Entering and leaving the meditation hall
  • To our meditation place
  • When crossing in front of the altar
  • When offering incense
  • When the meditation bells ring
  • When someone gives guidance or makes a request of you
  • When meeting or leaving someone

Anattasati Magga .
phone: (828) 367-7718

in Asheville, NC and Sonora, CA