Trinity Zen FAQ

How do I join Trinity Zen Group?


There is nothing to “join.” Just come at 6:30 on Tuesday for meditation instruction and orientation in the Trinity College Chapel. Usually, the chapel door that is open is on the left side of the front of the chapel (walk through a little passageway beneath the Downes Clock Tower). Sometimes the main chapel door also is open. Walk down the main aisle of the chapel toward the main altar — we sit in front of the main altar.

What should I bring or wear?

There is nothing to bring. We have sitting cushions chapel. Wear loose-fitting clothing since you probably will be sitting cross-legged or using a kneeling bench. Tight-fitting clothes, especially jeans, can be restricting and uncomfortable. Sweat pants and similar garments are ideal.

What happens when I get there?

One of the group coordinators, Garret Condon or John Elias, will show you our style of Zen meditation. Both are dharma teachers at the New Haven Zen Center. At 7 p.m., there is a short period of chanting, during which candles and incense are lit on a Buddha altar. The first, the “Evening Bell Chant,” uses a temple bell in the chapel and participants simply listen. The second is the “Heart Sutra,” a chant (in English) that is sung in Buddhist centers and temples around the world. Sheets with words to the chant are distributed. To see the words to these two chants, click here.

After chanting, the altar candles are extinguished, lights are turned down, and a 30-minute period of sitting meditation begins. Meditators get up from sitting and stand for a time during meditation to relieve any discomfort they may experience. The meditation period begins and ends with three hits of the chugpi, which is a kind of clapper used in Korean temples.

Meditation is followed by a short reading and light refreshments, typically cookies and seltzer. Participants then discuss practice issues or just socialize. Those who need to leave can plan to depart by 8 p.m.