HI - more "retreat with others" suggestions for going to a new zen center or those new to retreating with others in the same room.
- Silence - all zen retreats are silent - really silent - the whole time. This means not only not talking to people. It is all about everyone getting to be in their own private silent space during the retreat. It is also good to be careful not to make eye contact, just keep looking down (this is also a great way to carry one's zazen mind state over into moving/washing/etc. during the retreat - it makes for a more continuous experience of mindfulness). Also, don't be helpful. Unless someone is physically hurt (they fell) or the kitchen is on fire, just be with yourself. This might seem inconsiderate and contrary to the boddhisatva ideal of helping all beings, butthe most important thing at a retreat is to let everyone have a continuous meditative experience. So just kind of relate to other humans as moving furniture, just don't trip over them, that is enough. Silence also involves doing things in a gently unobtrusive way, not making a lot of noise, flourishes, etc. Small movements. Again this is about being non-distracting to the other retreatees.
- Before the retreat - ask about how they schedule/coordinate showers and when it is ok to take a shower. Remember to do so quickly (as there are other people waiting), conserve water (the "military shower" is good - turn on water for a few seconds to wet body, turn off water while you soap and wash - turn on water to rinse).
- Peeing - when? - During walking meditation ("kinhin") this is a good time to walk quickly out to the toilet. Walking quickly is ok at this time. Do keep track of the time as you don't want to be late getting backfor zazen. BRING A NON-BEEPING WATCH (trust me the beeping ones will set themselves - there are gremlins........)