San Luis Obispo Zen Circle
The San Luis Obispo Zen Circle has been practicing for over seventeen years.
We are affiliated with the Zen Center of Los Angeles, a Buddhist training center founded by Maezumi Roshi in 1967 in the Soto Zen lineage. Our meditation practice is zazen and kinhin.
We have studied such works as Kosho Uchiyama Roshi's Opening the Hand of Thought, Yoel Hoffmann's Japanese Death Poems, and Pema Chodron's No Time to Lose (her commentary on Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva). We also used Stephen Levine's A Year to Live as a workbook for living a hypothetical final year of life.
More recently we studied the Heart Sutra, an essential text of Zen Buddhism, and enjoyed Norman Fischer's Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong. We are currently studying How to Cook Your Life, by Thomas Wright – a translation of Eihei Dōgen's Tenzo Kyōkun · Instructions for the Zen Cook
New visitors are encouraged to contact Sensei Shōgen directly for an introduction to Zen practice. The session covers the basics of zazen and our zendo procedures in order to help new participants feel comfortable with the program.
To receive the weekly SLO Zen Circle schedule by email, click/tap here.
No prior experience is required. We honor diversity, and actively welcome all people, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, physical and mental ability, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic background. There is no cost to attend, but dāna (any form of giving) is welcome.
Our Practicing Together page covers procedures in our zendo, including bowing, service, zazen (sitting meditation), and kinhin (walking meditation). Zen procedures may seem a bit daunting at first, but don't be put off. We are a relaxed group, and it’s easy to pick up the routine over time and by watching others.
If you have your own zafu (meditation cushion), feel free to bring it. Otherwise, zafus, seiza benches, and chairs are available, as well as plenty of zabutons (the floor mats under the cushions).
UPDATED COVID PROTOCOL (as of February 16, 2023 )
Masks will now be optional for those attending our in-person programs who are free from cold, flu, and COVID symptoms. If you are symptomatic, please join us via Zoom instead. Likewise, if you have had a known contact with an active COVID case in the last week, or have other household members who are sick, please attend on Zoom. When wearing masks, surgical masks or higher-level respirators (e.g. N95s, KN95s, KF94s) are recommended over cloth masks per the CA State Department of Public Health.
We will honor the White Heron Sangha Meditation Center's protocol when using their space. Here's the LINK to their current protocol. Please review these before attending in-person.
We will again be doing both slow and faster kinhin (walking meditation) on Thursday nights at Crows End in between zazen periods. The windows at Crows End will remain open for better ventilation, so dress appropriately.