Getting Started

Getting Started at ZDS

WELCOME to Zen Desert Sangha! This page offers basic instruction for newcomers to ZDS. 

We invite you to participate in a full orientation at your earliest convenience.  To schedule, please leave a message at (520) 319-6260 or e-mail us at We also offer a drop-in orientation on the first Saturday of each month at 10:30 am after the morning sit. No need to call ahead; just come.

A few pointers --

  • If you fear making a “mistake,” don’t worry.  We are/were all new at one time.  Relax and follow along as you are able.
  • Please remove shoes when entering the house.  Shoe shelves are provided outside the front door.
  • Silence your cell phone.
  • The actual Zendo (meditation hall) is inside the wooden double doors at your immediate right as you enter the house.
  • Store personal belongings (purses, backpacks, etc.) on shelves in the back room to the far right.
  • It is traditional not to make social greetings or eye contact while practicing.  However, form follows function: those who are unfamiliar with procedure are encouraged to look around in order to follow along.
  • If you don’t feel comfortable with any procedure or with bowing, please feel free not to do it! Simply stand/sit quietly and follow along the best you can.

Questions? Ask freely! The Jiki-jitsu (timekeeper) or another member will usually be able to answer questions after the last round of sitting.  Please feel free to visit with us after the last round of zazen.  Taking the Path of Zen is one of several books written by Diamond Sangha founder Robert Aitken Roshi.  This introductory book is highly recommended and available at cost in our library.