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. Here's a list of skills you can learn:
- Set-up – Help set up the zendo and tea before the evening schedule begins; may also greet and orient newcomers.
- Incense, Candles, Chant Sheets – Light/extinguish candles and incense as well as pass out/collect chant sheets or chant books according to the formal sitting schedule.
- Block - Strike the wooden block (han) before formal sittings, chanting services, or formal Zen talks.
- Shut-down - For off-site meetings, several volunteers are needed to shut down after sittings.
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 in the jobs shown below, please discuss it with the Group Leader when you want to learn these skills.
- Timer – 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 – Opens, sets up, shuts down, and closes the building. 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.