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zen practices

kinhin

dd

KINHIN is walking meditation; it is "just walking." It is not a break from practice or a rest period. After we rise from zazen, we place our hands in gassho and wait for the sound of the wooden clappers. When we hear the clappers, we bow, then turn together and form the kinhin line, closing any spaces to about an arm’s length.

At the second clap, we bow and place our hands in shashu (left hand like a fist with thumb enclosed (fingers toward the chest), right hand closed gently over left, elbows away from the body and parallel to the ground), and begin to walk VERY slowly, about one small step per full cycle of breath (one step on each exhale). We walk mindfully. Our attention focuses on our feet.

At the third clap, we stop, bow again, and walk together a bit more quickly, but still very slowly, attention still focused on our feet.

At the fourth clap we place our hands back in gassho and walk at a normal “processional pace” until we reach our cushion. We face the center of the Zendo and wait until we hear the fifth clap. We then sit and assume our preferred zazen posture.

If you choose to exit the Zendo during kinhin, either to leave or to use the restroom, just bow and leave the line when your position is somewhere near the door and exit quietly. When you return, please stand somewhere near the door, with hands in shashu, and wait for your place in line to pass by, then simply bow in gassho and resume your place in line.

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