Introduction to Zen Meditation

For newcomers to Zen, Introductory Workshops are held over two Saturdays five to six times a year at our Onehunga zendo in Auckland. Even if you have practiced elsewhere, attendance is recommended, as a way of getting a solid introduction to our style of Zen. After you have completed the introductory workshops you are welcome to come to any of the sittings offered by the Centre. 


Workshop Dates

  • 9 and 16 November 2019 
  • 22 and 29 February 2020
  • 2 and 9 May 2020
  • 11 and 18 July 2020
  • 26 Sept. and 3 Oct. 2020
  • 28 Nov. and 5 Dec. 2020
Booking is essential.  (Please call 550 4383 if signing up after noon on the Friday just prior to the workshop).

Please contact info@aucklandzen.org.nz with any questions.

Information for Participants 
  • Helpful background reading is The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Philip Kapleau, a Western Zen classic still in print and available in many libraries (and also available for purchase at the Zen Centre).
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing suitable for sitting on the floor. Mats and cushions are provided (as well as chairs for those who need them.)
  • Everyone who has completed the two workshops is welcome to take part in any of our sittings and ceremonies. We recommend starting with the informal Saturday morning sitting or the Tuesday evening sittings, which is our "beginner's night". Full schedule of sittings here.
Donations for workshops

There is no set fee for the workshops but donations are appreciated as the Zen Centre relies on donations to cover expenses. Donations are tax-deductible.
  • Suggested donation for the two-part workshop: $80 waged or $40 unwaged. In cases of financial hardship, please offer what you can afford.
  • Donations can be made by internet banking. Our details are: Auckland Zen Centre, Kiwibank #38 9005 035812500 (please specify "workshop" in the payment process). Information about other donation options here.
  • Meditation cushions, benches and mats are available for sale at the Centre, along with books and incense. We do not have eftpos, but payments for purchases can be made by cash or by internet banking. 

Meditation Workshop Description

Part One 

The workshop starts at 1:00 p.m. with a welcome and talk by Sensei Amala Wrightson on the basic principles of Zen Buddhism. Then 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 afternoon tea, participants sit for two short guided periods of zazen, during which each person's sitting posture receives individual attention. The day ends with a Q & A focusing on practical issues that arose during the meditation sessions and tips for sitting at home, wrapping up by 4:30 p.m.

Part Two

The second workshop, also starting at 1:00 p.m., opens with a brief Q & A / check-in, followed by stretching exercises and guided relaxation, then a break for tea. This is followed by two periods of zazen with kinhin (walking meditation), again with individual attention to posture, as well as more orientation about participation in group sittings. The workshop wraps up with discussion of how to work with some of the common pitfalls faced by beginners and a general Q & A, finishing by 4:30 p.m.