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.