What is Zen?

Zen is an awakening to the dynamic reality of the present moment. In Zen practice, we meditate to bring calm and attentive focus on “right here, right now.” Through meditation practice, we grow increasingly able to live our lives in the present moment throughout the day.

Zen is a spiritual path, a path of inter-connection, of seeing through all duality that separates “me” from “other,” of living the awareness that there is no separation. The practice of Zen is life itself, embodying radical inquiry into the true nature of the Self and the true nature of reality. To practice Zen meditation is in itself an expression of this reality, an embodiment of the awakened state.

Zen is the Japanese name of a branch of Mahayana Buddhism which emphasizes the role of sitting meditation (zazen) as a spiritual practice. Zen is neither a religion nor a philosophy, though it encompasses elements of both. It is a practice of meditation and action designed to free us to live compassionate, healthy and energized lives.

The word “Zen” simply means meditation. The Way of Zen is the Way of Meditation. The practice of meditation can bring many benefits: greater attention and awareness, the settling down of our emotional life, a growing sense of goodwill and kindness, and a desire to be of help in this world. The latest brain-imaging technology is showing what meditators have sensed for millennia—that the brain circuitry associated with relationships, compassion, attentiveness, peace and joy is all amplified in long-term meditators.

Zen meditation-zazen develops a centered, focused awareness, integrating body and mind into the heart of life itself. In zazen (seated silent meditation), we assume a posture of dynamic relaxation and experience fully the natural, relaxed flow of the breath as the mind’s attention comes to the present moment.

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Mt. Cloud Zen Center

Dancing crane zen center

Maria Kannon Zen Center




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