Introduction to Zen Meditation
For newcomers to Zen, Introductory Workshops are held over two Saturdays six times a year at our Onehunga zendo in Auckland. Even if you have practised elsewhere, attendance is recommended, as a way of getting a solid introduction to our style of Zen. After you have attended the introductory workshops you can come to any of the sittings or retreats offered by the Centre.
Description of workshop below.
Classes for remainder of 2015
Classes for 2016
Information for Participants
Cost and payment options
The Zen Centre relies on workshop fees and donations to cover expenses. Donations are tax-deductible.
The workshop starts at 9:00 a.m. with a welcome and talk by Sensei Amala Wrightson on the basic principles of Zen Buddhism. At 10 a.m. we move to the floor for detailed instruction on the sitting postures employed in Zen meditation (zazen). Besides the traditional Lotus posture, other cross-legged positions as well as Japanese-style kneeling or seiza, and the use of a chair are shown. Mindfulness of breathing is demonstrated, as well as walking meditation (kinhin), and procedures for group sitting. How to bring meditative awareness and mindfulness into one's daily activities is also discussed.
Following morning tea at 11:00, participants sit for two short guided periods of zazen, during which each person's sitting posture receives individual attention. The morning ends with a Q&A focusing on practical issues that arose during the meditation sessions, wrapping up by 12:50.
The second workshop, also starting at 9:00 a.m., opens with tea and a guided tour/orientation to the Centre, a review of the procedures for group sitting, and how to go to a private interview with the teacher (dokusan). This is followed by two periods of zazen with kinhin (walking meditation), again with individual attention to posture, and an opportunity to see the teacher in dokusan.
Following morning tea at 11:00, participants learn some simple stretching exercises helpful for developing the flexibility needed for cross-legged postures. Then there's more zazen, with a chance to see the teacher if you didn't go earlier. The morning wraps up with tips on getting a regular sitting practice going, discussion of how to work with some of the common pitfalls faced by beginners, and a general Q & A, finishing by 12:50.