Guidelines And Rules
CZC Retreat Guidelines
- The deadline for retreat registration is at least 48 hours before the retreat begins for all participants, including CZC residents.
- Participants can sit a minimum of one full day.
- Registration process for non-resident participants begins at:
On the first day of the retreat
- 8 a.m. on Saturday
- 8 a.m. on Sunday
- Registration will be processed by the director. Please make checks payable to Cambridge Zen Center.
- After registration, orientation for newcomers will be given by the Head Dharma Teacher.
The kitchen and other public spaces are off-limits for congregation for residents who are not participating in the retreat.
On Sundays, the regular long morning sitting will not take place.
- The retreat begins on Saturday with 4:30 a.m. wake-up (for a 2-day YMJJ)
- Practice on Saturday ends in the evening at 9:30 p.m. with Four Great Vows.
- Practice on Sunday begins at 4:30 a.m. for those who participated in the retreat on Saturday. For those arriving on Sunday, however, the retreat begins at 8:00 a.m.
- On Sunday, the retreat is concluded by 4:00 p.m.
All participants are expected to keep the following rules and maintain the harmony of the community during retreat time.
- Retreat is held in silence. Zen Master Seung Sahn said, "Silence is better than holiness.... Bodhidharma sat silently in Sorim for nine years. Silence deepens our practice, and benefits ourselves and others. If your job does not require talking, keeping silence will help you."
- Be on time for all practice periods, dharma talks and meals. Always go to the dharma room punctually when the five minute moktak is hit. Do not enter or leave the dharma room during a sitting period or chanting unless you are going or returning from an interview.
- Walking meditation is a continuation of sitting meditation. You may leave the dharma room during walking meditation when necessary. When re-entering the dharma room, do so quietly at your proper place in the line.
- Everyone must come to all practice periods. If you are sick and cannot attend, please notify the head dharma teacher (HDT) before the practice period you must miss.
- Everyone must come to all meals. They are a part of practice. Even if you are fasting, please come and share some tea.
- No outside communication will be permitted during retreat. Making phone calls, sending or receiving mail is not allowed during retreat. Mobile phones, personal computers and other communication equipment may not be used. In case of an emergency, notify the HDT.
- The HDT will control the opening and closing of windows and lights in the dharma room. If you have a problem or request, let the HDT know.
- Do not wear brightly colored clothing during retreat. Do not wear hats in the dharma room.
- Retreat participants are not permitted to drink alcohol or smoke on the premises.
- Personal books are not to be read during retreat. Only the books provided by the Zen center may be used.
- Everyone will have a job to do during work period each day, mostly cleaning the temple and working in the kitchen. Work period is part of formal practice. Please attend to your work period assignment with mindfulness.
- If you have any health problems or special dietary needs, please let the HDT know in advance.
- If any of the above rules are consistently broken by a participant, the person may be asked to leave the retreat.