Zendo Positions

There are several key positions that see to the smooth functioning of the zendo. These training positions are rotated among all the members of the Center. They are a way of serving other’s practice and also an opportunity to practice wakefulness moment-by-moment. One also learns how to use the temple bells and gongs. Each of these positions has at their foundation maintaining the harmony and smooth functioning of the zendo.

Timekeeper (jikido)

The jikido is the timekeeper for the sangha and caretaker of the zendo and, as such, performs a vital service for the sangha.  The jikido is responsible for preparing the zendo and adjacent areas for zazen and other functions, for giving appropriate time signals to begin and end sitting periods and for leading kinhin.  As caretaker, the person serving in this capacity is responsible for securing the buildings and grounds in the vicinity of the zendo by locking doors, windows and gates, turning lights on in the evening and off in the morning as appropriate.

Most importantly, the jikido, through his or her behavior and deportment, sets the tone for others in the zendo.  If the Jikido is mindful and precise in his or her actions, others will follow that lead.

The jikido commitment we are looking for is solely for regular practice days, not included sesshins, or special training days.

For jikido instructions, click here.

If you wish to continue your commitment or are interested in deepening your practice by taking on a service position commitment, please contact Senshin at programsteward@zcla.org.


The monitors sit in the four corners of the zendo, with the head monitor to the left of the Abbot. When there is a head trainee, that person sits to the right of the Abbot. The monitors sit facing the floor and have the primary responsibility of ensuring that zendo atmosphere is maintained. They help others find seats, correct posture, offer the kyosaku, and generally are aware of anyone in the zendo who might need help at any time. This is a position of awareness and caring for others. When you have questions about what to do or, if you need to leave the zendo, ask a monitor.

Teacher’s Attendant (Jisha)

The teacher’s attendant attends Roshi and assistant teachers by offering incense, preparing Roshi’s seat, setting up the Face-to-Face meeting room, and overseeing the waiting line. All questions about Face-to-Face meetings should be directed to the attendant.


The doan signals chanting of vows and the three bows. The timekeeper may also fulfill this function.