Work Practice (Samu)

Work practice cultivates both concentration and mindfulness revealing to us valuable information about our personality and character while giving to the sangha. Sangha "regulars" may receive practical hands-on training in the outer and inner aspects  of performing zendo work. Once trained in a job (or are in-training), you may volunteer when you arrive for a sitting at Heart of Perfect Wisdom Zendo (HPWZ) or Infinite Bliss Yoga (IBY)Here's a list of skills you can learn:


  • Set-up – At IBY, help set up the zendo before the evening schedule begins; may also greet and orient newcomers.
  • Incense and Candles – At HPWZ and IBY, light incense and light and extinguish candles, as needed.
  • Chant Sheets – At HPWZ and IBY, pass out and collect chant books or chant sheets.
  • Block - At HPWZ, strike the wooden block (han) before formal sittings, chanting services, or formal Zen talks.
  • ​​Shut-down - At IBY, several volunteers are needed to shut down the building after sittings.

Because a fair amount of meditation experience, practice integration, and commitment to conducting activities in the style of our Zen lineage are needed for the jobs below, please discuss it with the group leader when you want to learn these skills. 


  • Timer – At HPWZ and IBY, keeps time and signals transitions in the formal sitting schedule; sounds the warning bell 5 minutes before formal sitting begins; strikes the clappers before each round of zazen; rings the inkin bell for zazen, kinhin, and the Four Bodhisattvic Vows. Unless instructed otherwise, faces the wall (inward) during zazen.  May be given other duties by the Monitor.
  • Monitor – At HPWZ and IBY, opens, sets up, shuts down, and closes the building as needed. Adjusts lights, temperature, and ventilation; orients newcomers and guests; ensures formal sitting schedule flows smoothly and zendo atmosphere (silence, stillness) is maintained; ensures zendo jobs are completed by inviting volunteers or doing the work oneself; leads and sets the pace for kinhin; leads chanting of the 4 Vows; faces outward during zazen. May be authorized by to correct the posture of other sitters during zazen, answer basic sitting questions, or offer Zen talk or the  encouragement stick. ​