Dae Do Sah Zen Group
Information for newcomers
Frequently asked questions about our group in particular and Zen practice in general
Updated, corrected and revised on january 30, 2012

home rockville adams morgan zen retreats zen links email Dae Do Sah

If you are coming to meditation practice for the first time with Dae Do Sah, this page should help to answer some of the most common questions, and provide most of the information you will need. However, it is very important to contact us directly and arrange for an orientation at least two days ahead of time. The orientation takes place immediately before our regular meditation practice. Please plan to arrive a little early so that the orientation can start on time.

Questions
I would like to come to one of your sitting groups - what should I do?
Who is the orientation intended for?
How long is the orientation, and what is covered?
Chanting meditation? What's that?
What if I want more in-depth meditation instruction?
Is Zen Meditation a Religion?
What do people wear during meditation?
Do I have to sit in some uncomfortable posture?
Is Zen Meditation difficult to do?
How do I arrange for an orientation?
Where is Dae Do Sah located?
Are you close to the Metro?
What is the picture in the background of this page?
Will Zen answer all of my questions?

Answers

I would like to come to one of your sitting groups - what should I do?
First - be sure to check the schedule for the group you are interested in. The Tuesday evening has orientation at 6:30 pm, with group meditation starting at 7:00. The Saturday morning group has its orientation at 9:30 am followed by group meditation at 10:00.
Second - send us an email to arrange for an orientation. The orientation for first time people is always 30 minutes before the start of group meditation practice.
Also, if you haven't decided that you want to visit our group, but you just want some more information, that's fine, too - just send us an email with any questions you have.
back to top

Who is the orientation intended for?
The orientation is intended to be accessible to anyone regardless of previous meditation experience or lack thereof. Although many of the people who go through the orientation are beginners, experienced meditators who have not previously practiced with our group should also benefit from going through the orientation.
back to top

How long is the orientation, and what is covered?
The orientation takes just under 30 minutes. We will cover two of the basic "tools" of sitting meditation : correct posture and breath counting. We will also go over chanting meditation.
back to top

Chanting meditation? What's that?
In chanting meditation we use some traditional Buddhist chants (from Japan and Korea) as a form of meditation. It can be viewed as a noisier and more active form of meditation than sitting meditation.
back to top

What if I want more in-depth meditation instruction?
The best way to gain a deeper understanding of Zen is to attend retreats. We hold local retreats led by Zen Master Dae Gak of Furnace Mountain, and Master Dae Gak also leads retreats once a month at his center in Kentucky, which many people in our groups participate in.
back to top

Is Zen Meditation a Religion?
Zen meditation practice does not include any form of religious indoctrination, nor does it require any particular religious affiliation. While Zen comes from the Buddhist tradition, Zen students can practice any religion or no religion.
According to tradition, the Buddha was the first Zen Master - so practicing Zen does imply accepting the Buddha as a teacher - but not to the exclusion of other teachers.
back to top

What do people wear during meditation?
It is strongly recommended that you wear comfortable loose fitting clothes when you come to meditation practice. It is also recommended that you avoid bright colors or any other kinds of clothing that could be distracting.
back to top

Do I have to sit in some uncomfortable posture?
No. Chairs are available for anyone who wishes to sit in a chair. You should sit in a posture that encourages mindfullness - but not one that causes unecessary discomfort.
back to top

Is Zen Meditation difficult to do?
Probably the most difficult aspect of Zen meditation, for the beginner, is simply sitting still for 20-30 minutes. But this gets easier with practice. It's OK to sit in a chair, if you prefer - sitting still in a chair is much better than fidgeting on a meditation cushion.
back to top

How do I arrange for an orientation?
Plese send us email at least two days before the orientation you wish to attend.
back to top

Where is Dae Do Sah located?
Please contact us by email in order to obtain detailed directions. The Adams Morgan sitting group meets at a Yoga studio on Adams Mill Road. Our Rockville location (Curt's house) is just north of Norbeck Road east of Rockville (near Lake Frank).
After you contact us to arrange an orientation you will be provided with detailed directions.
back to top

Are you close to the Metro?
The Adams Morgan group is convenient to the Metro.
back to top

What is the picture in the background to this page?
It is "Pandora's Box" by the painter John Waterhouse. The painting has no particular "Zen" meaning - it just seemed somehow appropriate to conjure up the image of "opening Pandora's box" in association with meditation practice.
back to top

Will Zen answer all of my questions?
No - but it will question all of your answers.
back to top


Remember : If you are coming for the first time, please email us least two days ahead to arrange an orientation.

Some basic sitting meditation instructions can be found here, and the Kwan Um School of Zen also has a nice page about chanting meditation.
Our group meditations are free (donations are always welcome - a $2 - $5 donation is suggested for non-members).


Occassionally practice might be cancelled or rescheduled due to holidays or scheduling conflicts. If you have any doubts, please email or call ahead!

home rockville adams morgan zen retreats zen links email Dae Do Sah