I’ve a sitting group in the college I work in. The college is bang in the middle of Dublin City Centre and full of students from all over the world. Each Monday, we sit in “The Quiet Room” for an hour. The Quiet Room is available to everyone for spiritual practice and for such classes as Tai Chi and Yoga.
So, what’s been happening is that the Islamic students come in during zazen and totally ignore that a sit is in progress. They lay out their mats and pray facing Mecca, while the rest of us sit facing the wall or rise on the bell for kinhin.
After zazen had been interrupted a few times, I put a poster outside on the door while we sit: “Zen Meditation in Progress, 12 noon to 1pm” it says. But still the Islamic students come to pray in our midst, undeterred.
I considered asking them to wait until we are finished. We have the room booked for the hour, after all. But in the end I’ve decided that we should sit regardless of whoever comes through the door and to whatever purpose.
So, we just sit in silence often, and sometimes we sit to the mumbled incantations of “Allah Akbar”.
Obviously, religious tolerance is a complex thing.