London zen groups meet regularly to practise zazen – the core practice in the Soto Zen tradition.
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 Groups are all facilitated by experienced practitioners. Some have received the precepts / bodhisattva ordination as lay-ordained practitioners, while others have received the Tokudo Ordination, and are Zen Monks or Nuns. All of the facilitators of the London Zen Groups do so on a voluntarily basis.
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
The London Zen Groups meet every day at one of four locations in London to practise zazen – traditional, Soto Zen, seated meditaiton.
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 ordination)
- oryoki (formal meals)
- zen days (day-long retreats / all-day sittings) where we 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 and Sesshins
Each year, one of the London Zen Groups 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 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 (9 day practice retreats) held at our main Temple of La Gendronnèire. Check the AZI Website for further information on these.