Zen simply means "meditation." It is the practice of inquiry, the act of studying the self, of looking into the matter of our lives directly, of investigating the fundamental questions that arise from our sentience: Who are we? Why are we here? Why do we suffer? What is our correct role in this world? How can we truly help?
In keeping these questions alive and open without containing them in tidy answers, we awaken to seeing things as they truly are, which is to say as constant change and flux. And in this openness arises our original nature, which is compassionate, concerned with alleviating the suffering of all beings.
Cincinnati Zen Center is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Religious Organization
PO Box 14841, Cincinnati OH 45205
© 2018 Cincinnati Zen Center
Zen Master Dae Gak, in his book Going Beyond Buddha, describes entering this practice through the act of listening:
Listening is the fundamental practice of any spiritual path. By definition, to listen means to pay attention in order to hear, to heed, or to attend. In listening, we perceive things as they are. It takes no particular skill or understanding to listen. It only takes trying. Because we are humans, we are compassionate by nature. But our compassion becomes lost in self-interest. Listening is a practice that returns us to our true way. The way of human beings. The way of compassion.
Zen is also known as the direct mind-to-mind transmission outside of scripture and word. To study Zen is to take up this practice with a teacher who has been given this transmission to teach from a teacher who has been given transmission, and so on, tracing his or her lineage back to the historical Buddha Shakyamuni.
We practice Sitting, Walking and Chanting meditation.
Sitting is the activity of stillness, of looking directly into the nature of the mind. We sit for periods of 30 minutes. There are many postures appropriate for sitting practice (including kneeling on cushions or using a chair), so that discomfort can be minimized.
Walking is an activity of movement which involves interacting in a conscious and intentional way with the body-mind. It provides a chance to stretch the legs after sitting, but also provides the opportunity to take the mind of practice into motion, bridging the gap that can arise between life on the cushion and life off the cushion.
Chanting is a practice consistent worldwide among contemplative traditions. When we chant, the singular voice interacts and merges with the group voice. We recite chants from a variety of Zen lineages and in several languages. Chant sheets are provided.
Our regular sessions consist of opening with Chanting, then Sitting for two periods of 1/2 hour each with a Walking period in between. There is also time for tea and fellowship after practice.
Please arrive ten minutes early, since we lock the doors to maintain privacy and security promptly at the start times. Although dress is casual and comfortable, clothing is an element and expression of the meditation experience. Black or subdued colors are most supportive of practice in the dharma room.
Please don't let unfamiliarity with meditation forms be a reason for not investigating Zen. Participants at all levels of experience are always welcome. Just let someone know you are visiting for the first time and you will receive some basic orientation. For those who wish for a more formal entry we offer introductory workshops several times a year.
Resident Teacher Myo Wol also offers monthly Dharma talks and one-on-one interviews. See the for the schedule.
Regular Sunday practice is not held during weekends when a retreat is in progress at the CZC.