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 completed the introductory workshops you can come to any of the sittings or offered by the Centre. 

Workshop Dates

  • 8 and 15 June 2019
  • 10 and 17 August 2019
  • 9 and 16 November 2019
Booking is essential.  (Please call 550 4383 if signing up after noon on the Friday just prior to the workshop).

Please contact 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 completes the two workshops is invited to attend regular sittings. We recommend starting with the Monday or Tuesday evening sittings. Full schedule here.
Cost and payment options
The Zen Centre relies on donations to cover expenses. Donations are tax-deductible.
  • If you can please pay in advance. Suggested amount for the two-part workshop: $80 waged or $40 unwaged. In cases of financial hardship, please pay what you can afford.
  • Internet transfers to Auckland Zen Centre, Kiwibank #38 9005 035812500 (please specify "workshop" in the payment process). Information about other payment options here.
  • Some books, incense and other items will be available for sale after workshops, and sitting cushions and benches may be ordered. We do not have EFTPOS, so you'll need to use cash or cheque for any purchases.

Meditation Workshop Description

Part One 

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.

Part Two

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.