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Soto Zen Buddhists

Zen simply means meditation. The purpose of Zen meditation, or zazen, is to cultivate a clear, centered and focused mind. There is nothing cosmic, supernatural or spiritual about Zen practice. Zen is focused completely on realizing the beauty and value of everyday existence, and our place in it. Zen is a way to help us get through the often difficult terrain of life. You don't have to give up your religious beliefs [or adopt any, for that matter] to enjoy the meditation and value of Zen.

Interested in Zen practice?

Zen practice at RIT follows the Soto way. For more information about the basics of zazen, please go to http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/practice/zazen/howto/index.html

If you have any questions about Zen Buddhism, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Contact Information: 
Shudo Brian Schroeder
Phone: 585-475-6346
Fax: 585-475-7120
Email: brian.schroeder@rit.edu

Starting Your Own Buddhist Club

If your needs are not being served by one of the Buddhist organizations listed above, we encourage you to contact them and let them know. Students are encouraged to get involved in the leadership of clubs and shape them into what they want and need. 

Students are also welcome to start new clubs. However, RIT generally tries to avoid duplication of clubs. You will need to demonstrate how your club has a distinct mission and different activities from existing student clubs. To explore this option, please contact the Assistant Director for Spirituality & Religious Life, Rev. Monica Sanford, at monica.sanford@rit.edu. 

Accomodations for Religious Services & Observances

RIT's attendance policy (D04.0) states "Absences, for whatever reason, do not relieve students of their responsibility for fulfilling normal requirements in any course. In particular, it is the student's responsibility to make individual arrangements in advance of missing class due to personal obligations such as religious holidays, job interviews, athletic contests, etc., in order that he or she may meet his or her obligations without penalty for missing class."

What does this mean? Well, every program, class, faculty member, and supervisor is different, but here are some good rules of thumb if your class, lab, group meeting, or work schedule conflict with Buddhist holidays:

  1. Contact your faculty member or supervisor as early as possible to let them know of the conflict. Include specific days and times when you would not be available. 
  2. Describe the work you know you will be responsible for completing in advance, such as lecture material, chapters read, quizes or exams taken, assignments turned in, or hours made up.
  3. Request an accomodation you think is fair, such as:
    • Taking a test or quiz early
    • Rescheduling a group meeting time
    • Switching to a different lab section (permanently or temporarily) 
    • Getting the power-point slides ahead of time
    • Arranging for a classmate to take and share their lecture notes
    • Turning in an assignment early (possibly opening an online drop box earlier to avoid Buddhist Holidays)
    • Rescheduling your in-class presentation 
  4. Be open to questions and alternative suggestions or requirements. Remember that your faculty, supervisor, or group may not know a lot about Buddhist observances and they are also busy and may not have a wide option of alternative times to meet. It may not always be possible to make up for missed material, but it is your responsibility to initiate this conversation with your faculty or supervisor and make the effort.
If your attempts to negotiate accomodations fail or if you just want to discuss the best way to approach the issue before bringing it up with your faculty, contact Shudo Brian Schroeder (brian.schroeder@rit.edu) Rev. Monica Sanford (monica.sanford@rit.edu) in the Schmitt Interfaith Center.