ZCNYC Residential Training

A uniquely powerful way to study & practice Zen

Zen Buddhism is a way of life. Based on zazen (Zen meditation), Zen dates back 2,500 years to the historical Buddha. It’s said that Zen is a “direct transmission outside the scriptures,” so residential training, with its emphasis on experience over knowledge, is a very effective way of engaging Zen practice.

Zen Center of New York City: Fire Lotus Temple is one of the few residential Buddhist training centers in New York City. Residence at the Temple is specifically designed to allow practitioners to live in a spiritual community and engage traditional Zen training in a dedicated manner, while at the same time maintaining work and other responsibilities outside of the Temple. See the options for Residential Programs at ZCNYC.

ZCNYC follows a full schedule of daily zazen, liturgy, community work, and retreats specifically geared toward those who practice in the midst of family, work, and relationships. Spending a period of time in residential training at the Temple is a powerful way of concentrating all of one’s daily activities into a single stream of awareness. Residency can provide support, structure and stability, which in time, become deeply internalized and integrated into one’s own experience of the spiritual path.

In addition to the daily schedule of zazen and liturgy, residents also enjoy many other opportunities to deepen their Zen practice and take it into their lives:
• Daily liturgy services with training in liturgical service positions
• Frequent dokusan (face-to-face teaching) with a teacher in the Mountains and Rivers Order
• Weekly Dharma Talks or Senior’s Talks that inspire and guide one’s spiritual journey
• Monthly silent meditation intensives
• Weekly retreats, workshops and courses exploring the Eight Gates of training
• Discounts on sesshins and retreats at Zen Mountain Monastery
• The daily experience of living and practicing with senior practitioners and teachers in the Mountains and Rivers Order
• Living in a community of like-minded practitioners

Although part of the power of residence is the commitment to following the daily training schedule, there is some flexibility so that individual residents can also maintain their responsibilities outside of the Temple.

If you are interested in residential training and are able to step out of your work or school obligations for a period of time, you might consider a period of residency at Zen Mountain Monastery, the MRO’s main house.

Some reflections from recent Zen Center residents:

“I never thought I would really enjoy communal life and was a bit afraid that it would be demanding, but because everyone at the center had a shared interest and intention to practice, everything went really smoothly. We had different chores and people were tidy and I didn’t experience any friction. I felt more like we were one big family.

Now I feel that staying at the center is one of the best things I’ve done and I came away with great memories and new friends. Although I’m back in Sweden now, I feel like I have a second sangha in NYC that I can always come back to and visit!”
Magdalena, Architect & Designer – Stockholm, Sweden

“No matter what you think of your practice, the teachers, the monastics, and the sangha will meet you where you are. I’ve stayed for one month, many months, two weeks, a weekend here and there, through the morning, for a few hours, and overnight. Waking up to a ringing bell, the quiet of the world before dawn, sitting in the zendo that feels like a true home . . . Zen Buddhist training in the heart of Brooklyn — a lotus truly growing in the fire.”
Ben, Writer

“After hearing one of the teachers give a talk on the Heart Sutra in 2017, I decided to undergo a yearlong residential training at Fire Lotus Temple. I felt the Temple had a lot to offer me, and I wanted to support the place as much as I could. Without forgoing my full-time job, the residency lasted from December 2017 to December 2018.
The impact the Temple and people I met there have had on me is immeasurable. I had the opportunity and space to learn and practice with the skillful means, including zazen, listening to dharma talks and engaging various forms of art practice on a regular basis, cultivating a calmer mind and developing greater awareness of myself. In addition, my connections with other practitioners, lay and monastic, have helped shift my view of what’s possible in this life. Genuinely being themselves, the practitioners and teachers at Fire Lotus modeled a path that includes all with nothing cut off. This has created an open space for me to self-reflect and examine my own conditioned mind, which makes the year of 2018 the best in my life— it is only after experiencing compassion and aliveness that I could try my best to take them on and come closer and closer to truly living.”
Bingwan, Social Worker and Graduate Student – New York