Zen Buddhist Sitting Group

When even just one person, at one time, sits in zazen, he becomes, imperceptibly, one with each and all the myriad things and permeates completely all time, so that within the limitless universe, throughout past, future, and present, he is performing the eternal and ceaseless work of guiding beings to enlightenment.

--Zen Master Dōgen (13th century)

The core of Zen Buddhism is a practice called zazen, literally ‘sitting meditation’. While the Buddha taught eight essential aspects of the path to liberation, the Zen school puts special emphasis on meditation, the last of the eight.

Zen practice aims to move us beyond concepts, beyond our discursive thinking, and even beyond our usual assumptions about who we are and how the universe functions. It asks us to confront our most fundamental questions: Who am I? What is this world? What is the meaning of birth and death? --and it asks us to confront them without any preconceptions. The great gamble of Zen is that our usual ways of 'figuring things out' will not serve us here, but that through the assiduous practice of sitting meditation, the true nature of things, and our own True Nature, will begin to reveal themselves.

The Open Circle Zen practice group currently meets at a private home in Holyoke. (Contact us for more information.) We practice in the lineage of the Rochester and Auckland Zen Centres and follow the forms of practice handed down at those centers; these can be traced back to Japan through Zen teacher Philip Kapleau (1912 - 2004). Our group meetings also allow time for discussion and study of the teachings of Buddhism which underpin our sitting practice.