How practice places work
Places of zen practice can take the form of groups, dojos or temples (= monasteries).
Groups meet on a weekly basis in a rented space.
Dojos have their own space which they administer and where various activities are organized: zazen, traditional ceremonies, lectures, dharma talks, practice days, etc.
All year round, temples welcome those who want to experience mo- nastic life. ey organize retreats which are open to the public and where beginners receive special attention.
THE STRENGTH OF THE GROUP
Zen spirituality emphasizes group practice, togetherness. Together we evolve, we learn to face our fears, doubts and desires. e others become a precious mirror of our progress on the Buddha Way. Furthermore, practising zazen together in a dojo or a group has an extremely motivating and encouraging e ect. As Buddhist master Taisen Deshimaru (1914-1982) used to say: «It’s the difference between a fire made of one log or several...» The second one will keep us warm much longer...
Zazen is very simple. However, you need to be guided in the practice by an experienced teacher. It is preferable therefore to practise in a dojo where the presence of others creates a strong atmosphere and where an authentic teaching can be given.
The temples, dojos and practice groups are open to anyone who is sincere and wishes to practise and harmonise with others.
There is probably a dojo near you (see HERE ). There, you will be able to participate in an introduction to the practice and do zazen with other members of the dojo.
Lastly, in an increasingly individualistic society, returning to a sense of community is probably one of the best solutions for a better future.
To become part of a place of practice and deepen the way of zen, it is a good idea, at some point, to offer your help for samu - volunteer work done in the spirit of giving and concentration. Becoming actively involved in the association’s activities (cleaning, cooking, external communications, website management, graphics work, etc.) is a way for beginners to get to know the other members and to gather precious information on zen practice.
Because it is so concrete, samu is one of the key aspects of zen practice. It could also be called «meditation in action». Samu enables us to put zazen concentration into practice in daily tasks, learning, for instance, to work peacefully.
Find HERE the list of practice places related to the International Zen Association.
Download the proceedings of the conference ( in english )
"A dojo in the city" ( 2018)
Symposium 2018 " The zen dojo in the city "