Frequently Asked Questions


Are newcomers welcome?
     Yes, newcomers are welcome to attend any scheduled sittings. Generally, we encourage newcomers who have never practiced Zen to attend an orientation (see Schedules).

What should I wear to the Zen Center?
     Wear loose comfortable clothes, something you would feel comfortable wearing to sit on a cushion on the floor or on a chair. Please avoid wearing loud colors or patterns.

I am not a Buddhist. Can I still participate?
     Yes. Zen practice does not require believing in specific doctrines. There are Zen Center members who practice/sit and also attend church/synagogue/mosque, etc.

Do I have to read anything/know anything about Zen before coming to the Center?
    No, Zen practice is not about “knowing” something in the usual intellectual, conceptual sense. Zen practice is experiencing life directly. The best way to “know” Zen practice is to “do” it.

I am stiff/older/injured and can’t sit on a cushion. Can I still do Zen practice?
     Yes, many people sit on chairs rather than cushions. An assortment of cushions, benches and chairs are available at the Center.

Are there health related benefits from meditation practice?
Although we don't generaly approach Zen practice from a "goal orientated" perspective, many people have reported health benefits from daily meditation such as stress reduction, etc.

Do I have to become a member of the Center to sit at the Center?
     No, the Center is open to all. Those who regularly attend sittings and interviews with the teachers are asked to become members and support the Center (see Membership & Support).

I don’t live in Champaign-Urbana. How can I participate?
     Many of our members do not live in the Champaign-Urbana area. These members attend via Zoom, come to sit at the Center as they are able, and maintain their sitting practice with groups in their area or on their own. Out of town members can attend the weekly schedule and sesshin via Zoom. The Zoom links can be requested by email at