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Zen-dō (禅堂 ?) (Chinese: Chántáng) or senbutsu-jō (選仏場 ?) is a Japanese term translating roughly as "meditation hall". In Zen Buddhism, the zen-dō is a spiritual dōjō where zazen (sitting meditation) is practiced. A full-sized Zen Buddhist temple will typically have at least one zen-dō as well as a hon-dō ("main hall", but sometimes translated as "Buddha hall"), which is used for ceremonial purposes, plus a variety of other buildings with different functions. However, any place where people go to practice Zen can be referred to as a zen-dō.

Zen-dō mealtimes

The first meal of the day in the zen-dō will often be taken in the early morning, before dawn. It normally consists of rice gruel and pickled vegetables. The monks are summoned to meals by a gong that is struck. The Hridaya Sūtra and the "five meditations" are recited, after which monks will be served with the gruel and vegetables. Often monks will offer some of their meal to the pretas or hungry ghosts. Two meals are taken later; in the late morning and late afternoon. These meals usually consist of rice, vegetable soup and pickled vegetables. The monks remain silent during mealtimes and communicate via hand and arm gestures.[1]


  1. ^ "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism" Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, The Random House Group, Chapter 9 "The Meditation Hall and the Monk's Life", Pages 118-132


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