Beginner’s Meditation Class
The easiest way to familiarize yourself with the Austin Zen Center and our core practice is to start by attending the Beginners’ Class held on Saturdays from 8:00–9:00am, or on the 2nd Thursday evening of each month from 6:45-8:15pm. This event is held in the zendo (meditation hall) in the main building at 3014 Washington Square. Participants will be given meditation instruction (the core practice of Zen Buddhism), a general orientation to the Center, and an opportunity to ask questions about Zen practice at the Austin Zen Center.
All participants are invited to join the Saturday Morning Program* immediately after the Beginner’s class. While there is no charge for this group, donations are always welcome. As the center is occasionally closed for retreat, check the calendar before coming in.
* Our Saturday Morning Program includes zazen, chanting service, and Dharma talk followed by refreshments and conversation.
Next Step Meditation Instruction
Next Step: Meditation & Beyond is a 1½ hour class for those who have attended the Beginner’s Instruction, and who are interested in taking the next step in their formal zen practice. This class focuses on refining our understanding of meditation and the forms and ceremonies of Soto Zen. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions concerning the specific details of our practice in and out of the meditation hall at the Austin Zen Center. Topics covered include seated and walking meditation, chanting, bowing, and the various instruments used during service. There will also be a tour of the temple and time for questions and discussion. This class is offered monthly and is highly recommended for beginners and anyone interested in furthering their understanding of this tradition. We meet in the main building from 6:45 – 8:15. There is $15 suggested donation for this class.
Prerequisite: Saturday morning Beginner’s Instruction
Ongoing Mediation Practice
Once you have received basic zazen instruction and have reviewed AZC’s Zendo Forms, you are encouraged to establish a daily sitting practice and to join the community for regularly scheduled periods of meditation at AZC. As questions about your practice arise (posture, breathing, forms, working with physical pain and/or mental states) you may wish to speak with a practice leader about your meditation experience both during zazen as well as in your daily life.
The Austin Zen Center offers regularly scheduled half-day, day-long, and weekend meditation retreats for those who wish to explore deepening their zazen practice for longer periods of time, as well as Sangha Work-Practice days for the opportunity to bring one’s zazen mind off the cushion and into movement and activity within a community context.