'When Shakyamuni saw, sees and will see the morning star and was, is and will be enlightened, he said, says and will say, “I was, am and will be enlightened together with all beings and the whole universe.'

- Denkoroku – Record of The Transmission of The Light – Keizan Zenji (1300 C.E)

Some approaches and individual meditation and mindfulness teachers encourage us to seek more – to be more productive, to be ‘better,’ to achieve more, to, by implication at least, reject those parts of ourselves that we label as being bad or negative. Ultimately such approaches just do not work. They end up making us even more unhappy and unfulfilled. Indeed, such a constant search for more, for different, for better, is part of the problem, rather than a solution, and ultimately fails to answer our real questions, or satisfy our deepest needs.

The Zen approach is radically different. In Zen practice, we are encouraged to see and to realize in our bones that we are not fundamentally broken. We do not need to be fixed. We are not a problem. In fact the very nature of how we often think of ourselves tends to be incomplete. More helpful is to be willing to work with what is already in front of us, to be with things as they are, which does not preclude seeing where things also need to be changed.

Through ethical daily life practice and meditative approaches, developed, tested and found to work over two thousand years, all across the world, we can learn to start letting go of the grinding search for something else, somewhere else. We can come to see the present – what is in front of each of us right now – as being whole and complete in itself, with nothing fundamentally lacking.

We can also begin to work with not rejecting how we feel, with not trying to cut off parts of ourselves, because of some warped idea of how we are supposed to be. We can learn to both accept ourselves, and to see clearly that what we seek can be realized, seen and above all, be put into practice in our ordinary daily lives, in a simple, direct way that works.

Out of this practical realization, ease with who we are, including our emotions, becomes part of a natural process, which comes with and complements practice in daily life, both on and off the meditation cushion. We can begin to stop fighting ourselves, to stop splitting ourselves off from the world around us and from others. Zen practice and genuine meditation are concerned then, not with theories, not with trying to force ourselves to be other than we are, not with belief, but with practical, direct seeing and realization, and their application in the world.

This very much includes social justice and addressing inequality, discrimination and the marginalization of communities and individuals. There is no ‘other.’ We are all in this together (though admittedly some far more than others at times).

Donations are welcome but SBZC is not a business and we do not charge. The true Dharma cannot be bought and sold and is our birthright if we would but see it. The Dharma is offered freely then, as it should be. It is for all those who would freely accept and are willing to work with what is already in front of them. Nobody is ever turned away, or discouraged, because of their financial situation.

May all beings be well. May all beings be happy. May all beings encounter the Dharma, be awake and at ease.

Resident Teachers:

Kijo Sensei -

Kijo Sensei began Buddhist study and practice in the early 80’s in Europe, including with groups such as the Triratna Buddhist Community and at the Buddhist Society in London, England, as well as with exposure to the Theravadin Thai Forest tradition, through Amaravati Buddhist monastery in Hertfordshire.

Kijo began formal Zen training, around 1981, with the Buddhist Society Zen group, under the direction of Ven. Myokyo-ni, the founder of the London Zen Center – Shobo-An, and a Rinzai Zen teacher, ordained and authorized to teach by Soko Morinaga Roshi.

Since the early 1990’s, he has taught meditation one to one, with interfaith and general meditation groups, in Zen sitting groups and with a holistic substance abuse center in the UK. He is also a member of Zen Peacemakers International and has guest lectured at the American University in London and at Heythrop College, the then theological college of London University.

Kijo Sensei has practiced primarily in Zen for over thirty years, being first ordained as a Zen priest in the Maezumi Roshi White Plum Soto Zen tradition in 1991. Kijo Sensei was Transmitted as a Zen teacher and a full priest in early 2021.

Shinzai Sensei -

Rev. Maria Shinzai was ordained as a Zen priest by Shoji Roshi. Shinzai is a long time Zen student and is also unlucky enough to be married to Kijo Sensei, whom she keeps in line with a chancla whenever he takes himself too seriously, which is often. Shinzai has written for Out Front Magazine in Colorado and is particularly interested in offering Zen practice to the Hispanic community. Shinzai also has an active YouTube channel, where she often dives into meditation and other aspects of Zen practice


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