Please click the below button to download the Soto School Scriptures for Daily Services and Practice.

Please click below to listen to Tesshin chant



Home Mediation Practice

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach Tesshin via the email form on the contact tab



Step 1 – Create a dedicated space for meditation and practice

Choose a place in your home that you know to be somewhat isolated and private. It can be outdoors if  screened to protect from insects, clean, and in a quiet part of the grounds. Fresh air and moderate light and temperature are of utmost importance.

In addition to the quietness and cleanliness of your place for sitting you may want to have certain items on hand to support your practice. Many people replicate the environment and atmosphere of the Zen enter to the degree reasonable and feasible. For a few examples, you may want to include:

• Sitting mat (zabuton) and cushion (zafu)
• Kneeling bench (
• Timer (if not using stick incense)
• Altar with or without Buddha or other image, and:

    • Incense and holder
    • Candle(s)
    • Water bowl
    • Flower vase


Step 2 – Meditation Hints

It is best to get Zen meditation (zazen) instructions in person, from a qualified teacher. However, as a brief reminder for home practice, please remember the basics:


Sit in a clean and quiet place and at a time you are not likely to be distracted by telephone, visitors, et cetera.


There is no one-size-fits-all formula, but most people seem to arrive at an average of sitting once or twice a day (e.g. morning and evening) for a half-hour to an hour or so each time. If you wonder if you are sitting enough, you are probably not.


Sit upright as comfortably as you can without slumping. Sit on a cushion cross-legged or kneeling, on a bench, or on a chair. The most important thing is that the head neck and back be straight.  Let the gaze become fixed on a point in space some 3-9 feet in front of you, eyes about half open, teeth touching but not clinched.


Breathe deeply without forcing it; find the natural breath. Count the cycles in a simple way and follow the breath into the lower abdomen and back out the nostrils.

Click HERE for a link on a talk Tesshin gave on breathing.


Let the attention open up to all sensation, perception, et cetera.  Let thoughts come, but also let them go. Return the attention to the posture and breath until all three come together in a unified way. 


Step 3:  Chants and Sutras  (optional after meditation session)


Heart Sutra

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva doing deep prajna paramita, clearly saw emptiness of all the five conditions, thus completely relieving misfortune and pain.

Oh Shariputra, form is no other than emptiness, emptiness no other than form.  Form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form.  Sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness are likewise like this.

Oh Shariputra, all Dharmas are forms of emptiness; not born, not destroyed, not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain.

So in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness; no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena; no realm of sight, no realm of consciousness, no ignorance and no end to ignorance, no old age and death and no end to old age and death, no suffering, no cause of suffering, no extinguishing, no path, no wisdom and no gain, no gain and thus the bodhisattva lives prajna paramita;

With no hindrance in the mind, no hindrance therefore no fear.  Far beyond deluded thoughts, this is nirvana.

All past, present and future Buddhas live prajna paramita and therefore attain anuttara-samyuk-sambodhi.

Therefore know prajna paramita is the great mantra, the vivid mantra, the best mantra, the unsurpassable mantra.  It completely clears all pain.  This is the truth, not a lie.

So set forth the prajna paramita mantra, set forth this mantra and say …


Gate, gate, paragate, parasumgate, bodhisvaha

Gate, gate, paragate, parasumgate, bodhisvaha

Gate, gate, paragate, parasumgate, bodhisvaha

Prajna Heart Sutra


Four Bodhisattva Vows

Beings are numberless
I vow to free them
Delusions are inexhaustible
I vow to end them
Dharma gates are boundless
I vow to enter them
The buddha way is unsurpassable
I vow to realize it