189. New comers to a Zen centre or monastery are sometimes surprised, even put off, by the rituals and chanting that they encounter there. It seems they imagine Zen to be a very private practice in which they turn inward to face their own consciousness. But Zen is not a private, individualistic undertaking. Rather, the Zen practitioner is part of a sangha, a community of fellow practitioners. Moreover, he or she undertakes the practice under the guidance of a Zen master. And it is to this master that a practitioner will at set times make a presentation of his or her understanding. A practitioner's realization is never complete without the master's endorsement.