The Soto Zen Buddhist tradition emphasises the practice of Zazen: silent, seated meditation. Still and upright, offering our complete attention to each moment, allowing thoughts to pass, we sit as Buddha sat, in the calm posture of awakening.
Newcomers, beginners, experienced and inexperienced, from all walks of life are welcome. Why not join us for an introduction?
The London Zen Group is a Registered Charity #1194847
All affiliated UK Zen Groups/Dojos have one of Deshimaru Roshi’s senior disciples as their spiritual advisor/teacher of reference.
For our group, it is Mokuhō Guy Mercier, who received transmission from Sojun Matsuno Roshi in 2008 in Takefu, Japan.
Taigen Sojun Matsuno Roshi passed away on 8 November, 2017.
You can read about him in Mokuhō’s tribute to him and his life here.
Mokuhō Guy Mercier leads the Tenborin Zen Association, is a member of the AZI Spiritual Council and is in charge of the Lanau Zen Centre in the Cantal region of France. You can read more about Mokuhō here.
Hōsei Lana Berrington, received tokudo ordination from Mokuhō in 2006 in Douadic, France. She is responsible for the North London Zen Group and works with a core group of trustees (caretakers) who together keep things running.
The trustees of the charity take it in turn facilitate our weekly schedule. They are all experienced zen practitioners, most are ordained as monks/nuns (aka: priests), some are lay-practitioners who have received the Buddhist precepts. We are all volunteers.
Traditionally, Sōtō Zen emphasises the practice of zazen – shikantaza, wholehearted upright sitting. And this is the basis of our practice in London.
“You should therefore cease from practice based on intellectual understanding, pursuing words and following after speech, and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest. If you want to attain suchness, you should practice suchness without delay.” ~ Dogen Zenji
Our other activities include:
- ceremony (chanting, bowing etc. – after each period of zazen)
- samu (work practice – at organised times – especially Sunday morning)
- sewing (the sewing of rakusus or kesas for those seeking to receive the precepts or monk/nun ordination)
- oryoki (formal meals – normally at one of our 1/2 sittings)
- zen days (day-long retreats / all-day sittings) where we may invite one of our senior teachers from France
- 1/2 day sittings morning or evenings
- social events each year including picnics and movie nights.
- talks, study and discussion groups
Zazen Days / weekends and Sesshins
Usually each year, the London Zen Group will host one or more zazen days (a 1 day sitting or day-long retreat) where we invite one of our Teachers from France, or one of the elder monks or nuns from the UK or France, to come and lead us in a day of practice.
Several times per year, IZAUK, the uk umbrella organisation to which we are a part, organises longer sesshins (1.5 – 7 day retreats) at various locations in the UK.
Within the UK, there are often other events organised by UK groups such as zazen mornings, and opportunities to practice the sewing of rakusus and kesas. You can check our calendar of events for information on all forthcoming events which we think may be of interest to the London Sangha, or you can check the IZAUK website calendar of events, to see all events nationwide.
Internationally, there are many events held across Europe throughout the year. These include the Summer Sessions (7-9 day practice retreats) held at our main Temple of La Gendronnèire. Check the AZI Website for further information on these.