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.  Regularly-attending sangha members may receive practical hands-on training in the outer and inner aspects of performing zendo work.  Once trained in a zendo job (or are in-training), you may volunteer when you arrive for a sittingHere's a list of skills you can learn:


  • ​Set-up – At Unity, arrive at 5 p.m. to help set up the zendo, Social Room, and bathrooms before informal sitting.
  • ​Incense, Candles, Chant Sheets – At Unity and HPWZ, light/extinguish candles and incense as well as pass out/collect chant sheets or chant books according to the formal sitting schedule.
  • Block - At HPWZ, strike the wooden block (han) before formal sittings, chanting services, or formal Zen talks.
  • ​​Shut-down - At Unity, several volunteers are needed for shut down after sittings - putting away the altar, tidying the support cushion cabinet, putting away blankets, packing zafus, and unloading/loading the dishwasher.

Because a fair amount of meditation experience, practice integration, and commitment to conducting activities in the Kapleau-B. Kjolhede style of Zen are needed to work as Timer, Monitor, Mokugyo, or Lead Chanter, please discuss it with the Group Leader when you want to learn these skills. 


  • Timer – At Unity and HPWZ, 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 Unity, opens, sets up, shuts down, and closes the building.  At both locations, 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 Roshi to correct the posture of other sitters during zazen, answer basic sitting questions, and encourage verbally (encouragement talk) and/or with the  encouragement stick
  • Mokugyo - At HPWZ, sets the cadence for chanting services using the wooden-fish drum.
  • Lead Chanter - At HPWZ, leads chanting services; introduces each chant, punctuates them with the large keisu and small keisu (bowl-shaped gong).