Zen practice is to get to our True Mind,
the mind not accessible to thinking.
This mind cannot be consciously known
by ordinary efforts.
An unusual effort is necessary.
This effort is zazen.
- Shunryu Suzuki
The Richmond Zen Group, meeting at Ekoji Buddhist Sangha of Richmond, seeks to provide the opportunity to study and practice Soto Zen Buddhism for those who wish to work with others in the spirit of the Sangha, or spiritual community. Richmond Zen Group is affiliated with Chapel Hill Zen Center and San Francisco Zen Center.
"Zen" is translated from the Japanese as "meditation." The roots of Zen Buddhism are traced back to the teachings of the Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha. Buddha taught a path to awaken from ignorance, craving, and anger. This awakening manifests our true nature, which is characterized by compassion for all beings and true freedom.
Zen evolved into a distinct school of Buddhism in China during the 6th to 8th centuries. Zen practice emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, as the primary means to realize the insights of the Buddha. Zen practice also includes walking meditation, bowing, chanting, and working closely with a teacher. Practice also extends into everyday activities such as eating and working. These activities are seen as part of practice because, on one level they support our effort to awaken, and on another level, they intimately express our true nature.
Richmond Zen Group receives regular visits from Josho Pat Phelan. Josho practiced and trained at San Francisco Zen Center, a Soto Zen organization founded in 1962 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Josho received Dharma Transmission from Sojun Weitsman Roshi, abbot of the Berkeley Zen Center and a student of Suzuki Roshi. Sojun Roshi visits us annually. We recently hosted Issho Fujita Sensei, director of the Soto Zen International Center. From time to time, we also have other teachers visiting from San Francisco Zen Center and Berkeley Zen Center. The Richmond Zen Group has also been honored by visits from Keido Fukushima Roshi, former abbot of the Rinzai Zen temple Tofukuji in Kyoto, Japan, and Kaz Tanahashi, renowned artist, activist, and translator of Dogen Zenji.