Skip to content

Kinhin: Slow Walking

“It is splendid to move slowly walking in magnificent ease and quiet.”

~ Eihei Dogen


Seiso Sensei leading Kinhin at Empty Nest Zen Center & Shogaku Priest Seminary, North Fork, Ca.


Kinhin, is the slow-walking meditation practice that is unique and distinctive practice of the Soto Zen School. Kin means to pass through time and space. Kin also refers to the warp thread of woven cloth. That is, the vertical up and down thread. Hin means to go ahead and is a reference to Buddhist practice. This is the point of the Koan: “Joshu sees through the Old Woman.” When anyone asks her for directions to the sacred Mt. Gotai, she simply says, “go straight on!” In other words, just keep practicing no matter what!

The full terms kinhin then could be translated as “warp walking.” The meaning here is not different than shikantaza, the Zen practice of just sitting because the up and down of movement of kinhin reflects no gaining mind. We are not trying to reach a destination. It’s as if we were standing still, but we are actually moving. We are moving as a participant in a group.

The Two Rivers Zen Community offers periodic workshops the are geared toward introducing newcomers to Kinhin practice and also serves as a refresher for experienced practitioners. These workshops include a history of the practice, detailed instructions, guided and silent practice periods and offers practical suggestions for integration with sitting practice. Most importantly, these workshops explore the impact of practice for our lives off the cushion, where the “rubber meets the road.”

In Hokyoki, Dogen’s journal of his study with Rujing, his Chinese teacher he wrote:

“The slow walk consists of one half step per breath . . . take a step without bending over or looking up. Viewed from the side, it would seem that you are standing in one spot.”

So, come join us for practice most Sundays  Check the Monthly Schedule Here

%d bloggers like this: