Membership at the Austin Zen Center
Austin Zen Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to offer a peaceful haven for engaging in Zen practice and training through embodying the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. To this end, AZC offers a robust weekly schedule of zazen, services, Dharma talks, discussion groups, and community work-practice activities, along with frequent meditation retreats, classes, workshops, and opportunities to meet individually with teachers and practice leaders.
AZC is committed to offering Zen practice to everyone, regardless of race, religion, nationality, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, and physical ability. We seek to embody inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility throughout our teachings, practice, organizational culture, policies, and operations as a manifestation of our vow to awaken together with all beings.
While most of Austin Zen Center’s offerings and events are available at no charge, we rely on the generosity of our members and supporters (along with modest supplementary income from program fees for classes, workshops, retreats and practice periods) to keep the doors open and practice opportunities available for the Austin community. We have a Scholarship Fund for those with limited means (just ask!), and exclude no one from our offerings, regardless of financial situation or membership status. By becoming a member, you become a supporter of the Center and its mission. While many members may practice at the Center regularly, others make regular membership contributions simply because they value what the Austin Zen Center offers: a supportive, encouraging and inspiring environment for people to deeply connect with each other and nurture their intentions to be of benefit to the wider world.
Benefits of Membership
- The practice of generosity (dana paramita) The practice of giving and the virtue of generosity (dana) has been a foundational practice since the time of the Buddha, and is considered both an entry point to Buddhist practice as well as an expression of mature practice. As an alternative to selfishness, greed, and possessiveness, the practice of generosity is itself a revolutionary act that counters the commercial pay-to-play economy that is the basis of a capitalist society.
- Member gatherings & voting rights Being a part of a community of practitioners (Sangha) is one of the three Jewels of Buddhism, and only through walking the path of practice with others can we truly extend our zazen practice into our daily activities in the community beyond. While becoming a pledging member is in no way a requirement to being a part of the sangha, only members receive voting rights and invitations to member appreciation events.
- Library privileges Members are invited to use our library and check out books from our extensive collection of Dharma books.
- Discounts on programs (classes, workshops, retreats, & practice periods) Members receive significant discounts on most, if not all of our paid programs.
- Opportunities to meet with our teachers Members may request to meet with our teachers for dokusan (with the Head Teacher) or Practice Discussion (with other Zen Center practice leaders), either to explore questions about Zen practice or to bring up issues they face in their lives. As one of the foundations of Zen training, such meetings can make a significant difference in one’s practice.
- Supporting the Austin Zen Center Membership pledging provides most of the financial support for the Center’s activities. It allows the Center’s Board of Directors and Finance Committee to keep the budget balanced based on regular dues from members.
Please note that all Austin Zen Center members share the same membership benefits and voting rights, regardless of amounts given. No one should feel discouraged from practicing with us due to financial limitations or hardship. If you need to decrease or pause your pledge at any time, for any reason, please contact our administrator.
Thank you for actively doing your part to keep the Austin Zen Center thriving, and thank you for your pledge! Please fill out the following form: