a bit more on oryoki
- As for bowls/oryoki sets - usually a zen center will have extra loaner sets. One note on making your own, don't use completely round chopsticks - they roll off the bowl.
- Which bowls for what? - you fill them left to right - usually grains and cooked veggies in the left (larger) bowl, soup in the center bowl, salad or fruit in the right bowl (usually there are three). But you can put anything in anything and mix things as you wish. You will clean the bowls left to right also.
- What to expect to be served - breakfast usually oatmeal, fruit, maybe yogurt - lunch and dinner rice, tofu, veggies
- Chopsticks and spoon are your utensils. If you can't manage chopsticks arrange to have a fork in your set or just use the spoon (note - soup is usually drunk as if the bowl is a cup, but using two hands)
-This is usually done standing. Often with full bows. Someone will pass out and collect chant books. Again, just gently follow along. Usually the person next to you will notice if you are desperately trying to find the page and will show you the correct page. This is one time that people will frequently assist others.
Finding your seat at the very beginning of the retreat - stand just inside the door of the zendo (sitting hall) holding your zafu/bench/chair infront of your chest. (don't block the doorway, however) Someone should come to lead you to your assigned place (although some centers have name tags on the places or a seating chart diagram of the zendo). If there is a zafu in your spot. put yours down and return that zafu to the stack of extras at the side of the zendo.