soto zen

On Sunday I went and meditated with a local Zen group. My prior practice experience has been with vipassana and Korean Zen groups. This new group I visited is Japanese Soto Zen, affiliated with the larger Everyday Zen group out of California. They wear dark colors, there is chanting (mostly in English), and there are brief periods of walking meditation (kinhin) in addition to the actual sitting (zazen).

A friend who is interested in Buddhism was asking me if it was guided meditation, and I realized that it was very un-guided. That's how zen is. When I first arrived I told the priest that I had sat with a couple of other groups (of different traditions), and after that they pretty much left me alone to follow their regular routine as best as I could. No problem though, I greatly enjoyed it.

At one point an older man leaned over to tell me what page in the chant book they were using. I recognized him as the philosophy professor who had assigned the first Buddhist book I ever read, several years ago in college.

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