The Chicago Zen Center is more than happy to open its doors to interested school and other groups. A teacher or professor or leader may wish to bring the whole group at once; in other cases, individuals may be required to visit the center on their own time as part of an individual paper or project. The Center is able to accommodate both kinds of visit.
A group visit to the Center will generally take place in the morning or early afternoon and involve a short talk on Zen and this temple, a tour of the building including a description of the various procedures that take place, and an introduction to the sounds of the Center (bells, drum, mokugyo, kesu, etc.). After that, the group proceeds to the zendo, where everyone receives basic meditation instruction and posture demonstrations. A short (usually 20 minute) period of zazen followed by questions wraps up the visit.
If you are a teacher, professor, or group leader, and you would like to bring the group all at once for an introduction to the Center and Zen practice, email the center at least six weeks in advance of the tentative date to schedule your visit with the Head of Zendo. There is no charge for such visits, although a donation to the Center is wholly appropriate.
INDIVIDUAL VISITS FOR CLASS
A group visit allows a large number of people the easiest exposure to practice at the Center, but it takes place outside of normal practice times. To experience practice in the company of sangha members, students or group participants might be asked to attend a sitting individually or by two's or three's. Anyone taking part in such a visit will be expected to participate in the formal rounds of meditation without fidgeting or distraction.
If you are a teacher, professor, or group leader, and you would like your students or participants to come individually or in very small groupings, email the Center at least one month before the first of such visits is going to occur, and speak with the Head of Zendo to determine the advisability of such visits for your particular students or participants. Again, while there is no charge for such visits, a small donation to the Center is wholly appropriate.