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 May 3, 2020

Please note that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic all meditation sessions and orientations are ONLINE-ONLY.

If for any reason the email link on the sidebar doesn't work, just send an email to steinmetz "dot" curt "at" gmail "dot" com.

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.


I would like to come to one of your sitting groups - what should I do?
Please note that for the time being all orientations must be conducted online. We use zoom for both online orientations and for our online meditation sessions. If you don't have experience with zoom we can provide some help with that!
We have two regularly scheduled times for orientations: at 6:30pm on Wednesday evenings, and at 10:30am on Saturday mornings. You can also request to arrange an orientation at some other time.
To arrange an orientatin just send us an email. If for any reason the email link on the sidebar menu doesn't work, just send an email to steinmetz "dot" curt "at" gmail "dot" com.
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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.
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How long is the orientation, and what is covered?
The orientation takes 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.
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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.
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What if I want more in-depth meditation instruction?
This page has some basic meditation instructions, along with some links to other pages with meditation instructions, and some suggested reading. But 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 group participate in.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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How do I arrange for an orientation?
Plese send us an email at least two days before the orientation you wish to attend.
If for any reason the email link on the sidebar menu doesn't work, just send an email to steinmetz "dot" curt "at" gmail "dot" com.
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Where is Dae Do Sah located?
Please contact us by email in order to obtain detailed directions. Our location (Curt's house) is just north of Norbeck Road east of Rockville (near Lake Frank). We also now offer online meditation and orientations via Zoom - and for the foreseeable future all mediation sessions and orientations will be online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
After you contact us to arrange an orientation you will be provided with detailed directions.
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Are you close to the Metro?
The Rockville group is not easily accessible by pubic transportation. However, the All Beings Zen Sangha in Adams Morgan is convenient to the Metro.
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Will Zen answer all of my questions?
No - but it will question all of your answers.
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Remember : If you are coming for the first time, please email us least two days ahead to arrange an orientation.

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!