At Cambridge Zen Center, we have three primary forms of practice: bowing, chanting, and sitting meditation. Newcomers usually find it easy to learn the forms simply by observing other practitioners.
In the dharma room, we practice in harmony with other people. We bow in the same rhythm. We chant with one voice. We sit together in silence until the end of each sitting period. In this way, each person’s practice supports every other person’s practice.
Most importantly, when you practice, do it as fully as possible. When bowing, just bow. When chanting, just chant. When sitting, just sit.
We follow the practice forms used at Kwan Um School of Zen centers around the world. This means that, if you visit a center in Singapore, Los Angeles, Warsaw, or Cape Town, you can immediately join with community practice.
To learn more about our practice forms, click on these links (to the Kwan Um School of Zen website).
On Correct Practice
A student asked Zen Master Seung Sahn, “How can I get beyond just verbalizing the question, ‘What am I?'”
Soen-sa replied, “You want this question to grow. This mind is not good. This is attachment thinking. You must cut off this thinking, and only do hard training. It is not important for the question to grow. What is important is one moment of clear mind. Clear mind is before thinking. If you experience this mind, you have already attained enlightenment. If you experience this for a short time, even for one moment, this is enlightenment. All the rest of the time you may be thinking, but you shouldn’t worry about this thinking. It is just your karma. You must not be attached to this thinking. You must not force it to stop or force clear mind to grow. It will grow by itself, as your karma gradually disappears.”
“Clear mind is like the full moon in the sky. Sometimes clouds come and cover it, but the moon is always behind them. Clouds go away, then the moon shines brightly. So don’t worry about clear mind: it is always there. When thinking comes, behind it is clear mind. When thinking goes, there is only clear mind. Thinking comes and goes, comes and goes. You must not be attached to the coming or the going.”