Our Practice

Shining Window Zen holds our weekly Tuesday services via Zoom on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 pm central time. Here is the link. Every other week, we hold a full liturgy and zazen service, with an initial series of chants, two 25-minute sessions of seated meditation (zazen), and two 5-minute sessions of walking meditation (kinhin).

We host regular special services as well. Once a month the service’s second zazen session is modified to include a dharma talk by Living Vow Zen practice leader Chris Amirault, followed by a dharma discussion among attending sangha members. Similarly, each month a Living Vow Zen teacher, Mike Fieleke or Bob Waldinger, hosts teacher interviews (dokusan) during the zazen sessions. These invitations provide opportunities to discuss your practice in a one-on-one, confidential zoom room.

Our service is shortened monthly to one zazen session so that the sangha can engage in a practice reflection discussion about the meaning of our Zen practice in our work, community, and personal lives. We chant three special elements of our liturgy that you can find here, and we hold a single zazen session after kinhin so that the sangha can subsequently engage in conversation. That discussion is informal (feel free to bring a cup of tea!) yet focused on the Zen practice we share, allowing members to engage in supportive reflection on an aspect of practice as it applies both on and — especially — off the cushion.

Every other week, we host Just Sit Sundays from 7:30-8:30 am central, when we sit zazen for two periods. Here is the link. We start with a brief chanting service, walk kinhin between the two periods of zazen, and end with the Four Bodhisattva Vows.

This year, we will offer four extended opportunities to practice online on Saturday mornings. These three-hour zoom zazenkais are held at our usual practice link from 8:00-11:00 central, 9:00-12:00 eastern, and there is no registration required: all you need in order to attend is a way to sign into Zoom and a quiet space to practice. There will be chanting, a dharma talk and discussion, followed by dokusan. Anticipated dates for 2024 are January 6, July 7, and November 3.

Here is the current calendar for the rest of 2023.

  • October 1 (Sunday) 7:30-8:30 central: Just Sit Sunday
  • October 3: Full Service with Dokusan ( Bob Waldinger)
  • October 10: Practice Reflection Service
  • October 15 (Sunday) 7:30-8:30 central: Just Sit Sunday
  • October 17: Full Service
  • October 24: Service & Dharma Talk
  • October 29 (Sunday) 7:30-8:30 central: Just Sit Sunday
  • October 31: Full Service
  • November 7: Practice Reflection Service
  • November 12 (Sunday) 7:30-8:30 central: Just Sit Sunday
  • November 14: Full Service with Dokusan (Mike Fieleke)
  • November 21: Service & Dharma Talk
  • November 26 (Sunday) 7:30-8:30 central: Just Sit Sunday
  • November 28: Full Service
  • December 5: Practice Reflection Service
  • December 10 (Sunday) 7:30-8:30 central: Just Sit Sunday
  • December 12: Service & Dharma Talk
  • December 24 (Sunday) 7:30-8:30 central: Just Sit Sunday
  • December 26: Full Service

Finally, Living Vow Zen offers in-person intensive Zen retreats (sesshin) in the greater Boston MA area. The next two dates in 2023 are October 21-22 and December 2-3. Contact us if you are interested in learning more.

During our services, we use the Boundless Way Zen liturgy book. (Printed, bound copies of the liturgy book are available for a small donation; contact us if you are interested in obtaining one.) During our practice reflection services held every four weeks, we chant these three additional chants, one of which (Norman Fischer’s excerpt on vow) is unavailable in our main liturgy book.

Shining Window Zen seeks to create an inclusive, intentional community of Buddhist practitioners. Our community values guide our efforts as a sangha, including agreements about engaging in online practice.

All are welcome to join us for services! If you are interested, please contact practice leader Chris Amirault for a one-on-one orientation prior to your first visit. During that discussion, we’ll use this orientation document to review the structure of the service, share your experience with Zen and other Buddhist practices, and ask any questions you have.