The temple etiquette gives a framework to consciously carry out and process your own words and actions. They intend to make human coexistence smooth and pleasant and show, that you have yourself under control. Life in the Zen temple is physically and mentally challenging.
Take on the highest possible personal responsibility!
The monks and nuns are happy to share the temple life with you. If you cannot adjust to it, leave the temple immediately.
- Be quiet and pay attention!
- Adapt yourself to the temple life, not the other way round.
- Eat what will be served (vegetables, meat, fish, etc.) and be grateful.
- Choose your words and actions deliberately and consistently!
- Respect the hierarchy of the Academy!
- Respect age!
- Do not be a burden to others and yourself!
- Leave any place clean and neat!
- Do not hang around!
- Be on time!
- Do not talk to much about personal stuff!
- Protect yourself and others by being a good role model.
- No fire!
Student: Killing is a butcher’s jop; how can they attain Buddhahood?Bodhidharma: I have told you just to see the self-nature; not about the resulting karma; although one who saw self-nature is creating karma, still, he is different from the confused ones; that is, all variety of karma would not imprison him.
Holidays, free time and breaks are the time for personal needs. Living in the Zen temple offers space to reexamine life & death. That's why personal needs are reduced to a minimum!
The headmonk / headnun has the right to cancel your templestay anytime.
The head monk/ nun and the Insopor Zen Academy take no liability for injury or property damage. Participation in the templestay / retreat is at your own risk. Practitioners in the Zen temple are responsible for insurance cover (health insurance, liability insurance, etc.). If you have any allergies or are taking medication, please inform the temple in advance of your stay.
The dining room is one of the three places for silence, the other two being the meditation hall and the bath. Even for the poorest meal we show deep thanks.
- Eat what will be served (vegetables, meat, fish, etc.)!
- No leftovers!
- Follow the daily chief!
- Don`t speak!
Cook in the templekitchen
Besides the Abbot the chef is the most important person in the Zen Temple and responsible for the physical well-being and the health of the Zen students and guests. The temple chef prepares all meals wholeheartedly and makes sure that nothing is wasted. He is very appreciated and respected.
Misfortune does not enter the gate of the cautious.
Daily Cleaning & Work
A very important etiquette for the practitioner. Everyone concentrates the consciousness on the given task while working. Whispering and chattering while working is unthinkable. "Exercise in motion" and "exercise in silence" are equally valued. To work is to cleanse the mind. Work is a opportunity to meditate and become awakened to the real self. A small event in daily life can become an important moment of awareness for one who is in great darkness.
A day without work is a day without food.
LIFE AT THE ZEN TEMPLE
Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.
We have no place to lay our heads on, like drifting clouds and flowing waters. Our purpose is to awaken everyones true nature and offer a refuge for meditation and a place to reexamine the wisdom of the Holy and Wise Ones.
Meditation in movement has a thousand times more value than meditation in stillness.
Going to the temple
To block his view of the outer world and to concentrate his consciousness within his own being.
When there is no seed, it has already sprouted.
Arriving at the temple
But the seeker who wants to enter through this gate must have the key of the strong spirit and as a qualification for admission is checked whether he is fully equipped with: "Great Doubt", "Great Spirit" and "Great Faith".
Permission to enter
A new practitioner will be pushed back instead of invited, because in zen it is believed, that the truth must begin with one`s own decision and that it is achieved through one`s own efforts.
Look beneath your feet.
To be in silence is a difficult experience. The mind filled with fond images of past life and the walls appear to have a thousand eyes. If the practitioner is lazy he will be rejected by the zen temple and must begin all over again. Greeting the head monk and thanking him for the hospitality is a good way to start.
Guest and host are clearly distinguished.
The Meditation Hall
To bow when entering the meditation hall means to give whatever effort is needed to realise wisdom which cuts down ignorance and duality.
In bare feet he climbs the mountain of blades.
Meeting with the Abbot
The abbot will ask the practitioner about his purpose in coming to the zen temple and promises to do all he can to help for the hoped-for awareness.
The daily rules are purposely very strict to put the practitioners life in good order so that his inner being may attain right awareness. For this reason the beginners life is filled with admonitions from the elder.
A tiny gap a thousand miles away.
To receive sincere donation from people encourages the practitioner to train himself for the benefit of all sentient beings.
A wise man loves money, yet he knows the right way to use it.
The practitioner goes about his private needs and tasks.
A day without work, but a day with food.
Study hard! Study hard!
The abbot calls the practitioner individually for consultation at the battlefield of wisdom.
From heart to heart.
"Compassion" is not "Pity".
Each moment of life is seen as an opportunity to attain enlightenment. Even the small and trivial tasks are not looked down upon.
Do not waste time!
Teacher & Student
In Zen, true awareness is not teachable in the usual sense. It can only be experienced beyond words and traditional teachings, because the core of Dharma can not be grasped in an intellectual way. The teacher needs to be an example and incentive for the student; he can show him techniques and ways to enlightenment, though in the end, the student has to attain it through his own effort.
Something special passes between them.
Meditation at Night
After the lights are turned off, the practitioner is always welcome to look for a place to meditate alone and quiet for himself until midnight.
Nothing is free.
Each person must experience this for himself, at least once in his life!
No further comment is needed.
Here you can find more information about the ordination as Zen Monk / Zen Nun. For further questions about the Zen Temple Etiquette contact us at any time via a contact form on the homepage or call. We would be pleased to welcome you in one of our Zen temples. Visit for a cup of coffee, an evening meditation, for a short or long term templestay. The temple gates are always open and the daily routine continues. Examine and share Life & Death with the Zen Nuns and Zen Monks in Switzerland.