ETIQUETTE - LIFE AT THE ZEN TEMPLE
Harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.
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. Because the life at the zen temple is completely supported by donations (food, all items and money), we do not waste anything. Life in the Zen temple is physically and mentally challenging.
- WATCH YOUR STEP!
- Eat what will be served (vegetables, meat, fish, etc.) and be grateful.
- DO NOT DAYDREAM!
- 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!
- When you work, you work, when you eat, you eat, etc.
- Do not hang around!
- Be on time!
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 the templestay anytime.
The Zen Temple does not accept any liability in case of accidents or illnesses. the Practitioner in the Zen Temple is responsible for insurances (health insurance, liability insurance, etc.). If you have allergies or have to take medication, please inform the temple prior to your stay.
- Internal collection, attention or sympathy
- Spiritual Collection of Thoughts
- Religious contemplation
- Turning to Emptiness and the concrete form in which this spiritual collection takes place.
True person without rank and name.
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 words 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.
Without the mutual support of clergy and laity, there is no place of silence and emptiness possible. Almsround is an essential part of zen practice and important for independent financing, since zen nuns & zen monks have only very little personal possessions, they are dependent, among other things, on the support of the population.
A dead tree greets no spring.
When the owner and the homeless (zen nun & zen monk) mutually give, harmony and value arise. The act of giving is the foundation of all being and therefore every donation is accepted, which comes from the heart. Now, what can the homeless give without expecting a return?
In Zen the nuns and monks receive their livelihood through alms and work, that is why a part-time job during the templestay is considered as almsround. The practitioners offer the teachings by means of their own example. In exchange for this they are supported by those who trust in the truth of the teachings. In addition, almsgiving is considered a virtue, which increases good. The monks through the almsround provide an opportunity to practice this virtue.
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.
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.) and be grateful.!
- No leftovers!
- Follow the daily chief!
- Don`t speak!
Daily Cleaning & Work
A very important etiquette for the practitioner. Everyone concentrates his consciousness on the given task while working. 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.
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 practitioner is sometimes called outside and approached by the elders for his carelessness during the day. This is a terrible hour for the student, but a very helpful encouragement from the elder.
As a diamond is polished by rubbing against other diamonds.
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.