We welcome all who want to learn more about Zen Buddhist meditation. Our vibrant community is committed to Zen practice and teachings, and offers daily sitting meditation, weekly classes and lectures, and monthly intensive meditation retreats.

Our Center is located on the eastern shore of Lake Calhoun in south Minneapolis. People from all over the region come to here to listen to talks by teachers, attend classes and workshops, participate in retreats, attend services, and, most importantly, to do sitting meditation (zazen).

Are you new to Meditation, Zen Buddhism, or the Center?

A good place to begin would be Introduction to Zen Meditation on Sunday mornings or Tuesday evenings. Each session includes meditation instruction and teaching on how meditation and Zen relate to daily life.

For Introduction to Zen Meditation join us any Sunday morning or Tuesday night and then return the next three Sundays/Tuesdays to complete the four-week cycle. The four parts are not sequential, so you may attend them in any order. You are welcome to attend as many sessions as you like, but attend all four for the best overview. These classes are open to all with no pre-registration necessary. Admission is first come, first served, and the class often fills. We advise that you come a few minutes early. Those who can't attend the Introduction generally stay and enjoy the talk in the main hall instead. Donations are gratefully accepted.

The class meets every Sunday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. and each Tuesday 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Participants are welcome to stay for tea and social hour after the class.

If you are visiting MZMC to fulfill a class requirement, we suggest attending the talk in the main hall on Sunday at 10 a.m. or Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. You may also contact our office to set up a visit.

Check out the wonderful new MZMC Primer Series!

The MZMC primer series is composed of short overviews of topics of interest in Soto Zen Buddhism and in Buddhism more generally. The series is intended to give readers a comprehensive, but brief, introduction to a topic. Click here for more information and to download primers.

From Heart to Heart: Liberating Our Compassion

with Guest Teacher Paula Arai
One-day Workshop on Saturday, March 28, 10:30 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

Minnesota Zen Meditation Center is pleased to present a one-day workshop on Saturday, March 28, with guest teacher Paula Arai, Associate Professor of Buddhist and Asian studies at Louisiana State University. Paula has a strong Minnesota connection, having previously taught at Carleton College in Northfield. In addition, she was the keynote speaker at the 2014 Soto Zen Buddhist Association conference, where a number of Minnesota Zen teachers were delighted by her ability to convey the great heart that is the essence of Zen ritual.

The workshop will explore several aspects of Paula's work, including healing rituals, creating our own rituals, and contemplative calligraphy practice.
Click here for more information or to register.

Sunday Mornings and Tuesday Evenings

Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings are good times to become familiar with the MZMC community. The weekly talk (same talk is given Sunday morning at 10 a.m. and Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m.) provides continued learning about Zen Buddhism and offers you a chance to know the teachers more fully. You are invited to join us for any part of the Sunday and Tuesday schedules. We hope to see you then!

Sunday Morning Schedule
9:10 Meditation
9:30 Short Stretch Break
9:50 Meditation Ends
10:00 Introduction to Zen Meditation
10:00 Sunday Talk Click here for a list of Sunday/Tuesday Speakers
11:00 Tea/Social Time (except during retreats)

Tuesday Evening Schedule
6:40 Meditation
7:00 Short Stretch Break
7:20 Meditation Ends
7:30-8:15 Tuesday Talk Click here for a list of Sunday/Tuesday Speakers
7:30-8:30 Introduction to Zen Meditation
8:15-9:00 Tea/Social Time (except during retreats)

Click here to listen to Sunday/Tuesday Talks online

Subscribe to our Sunday/Tuesday Talks podcast using iTunes.

To subscribe to our Sunday/Tuesday Talks podcast with another service, use this rss feed:http://mnzencenter.org/audio/rss.xml

Inside the Grass Hut: Living Shitou's Classic Zen Poem

written by Ben Connelly, MZMC Senior-Priest-in-Training, and published by Wisdom Publications in July 2014

Click here, for more information on Inside the Grass Hut.

Click on the link below to listen to host Jack Rice (950 AM) talking with Ben about his book.

March Events

Spring Practice Period: The Six Realms
with Ted O'Toole and Bussho Martin Lahn
Wednesday evenings, March 11 – April 29, 7:15 – 8:45 p.m.
(There is also a morning option for those who cannot attend Wednesday evenings: Thursday, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.)
Cost: $145 members; $180 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.

Practice Periods are an integral part of traditional Buddhism, and trace their origins back to the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, when the nuns and monks would take time during the monsoon seasons of India to devote themselves to intensified meditation, study, and community building.

Participants are expected to attend the eight weekly meetings (Wednesday evenings from 7:15 – 8:45 p.m. OR Thursday mornings from 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.), commit to regular zazen practice, attend at least one day of retreat and one work practice day, read the assigned text(s), and have regular meetings with an assigned practice partner.

This spring's practice period will explore the Six Realms of traditional Buddhism as psychological states in the context of Zen practice. The Six Realms are: humans, gods, fighting spirits, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell. We'll spend eight weeks immersing ourselves in these themes, exploring appropriate practices for each realm, and how we can move between them with acceptance, grace, and fluidity.

Sitting with Sutras
with Rosemary Taylor
Saturday, March 7, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Cost: $30 members; $35 non-members
Please register five days in advance.

Spend a spring afternoon in silent contemplation with some of the great words of Buddhism. We'll read brief passages from the sutras, listening deeply as we prepare to enter into silence with them. Short periods of shared reading will be followed by longer intervals of meditative silence as we quiet our ordinary minds in order to immerse ourselves in the experience underlying the words.

One-Day Retreat
March 14 with Guy Gibbon
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: $50 members; $65 non-members
Registration closed. Please register five days in advance.

One-Day Retreats are conducted in a contemporary context, without the formal elements involved in sesshin. They include walking and sitting meditation, a dharma talk, one-to-one meetings with the teacher, a vegetarian buffet lunch, and work practice. Meditators at all levels of experience are invited.

MZMC Annual Communtiy Meeting
Sunday, March 15, 10 a.m.

Please join us to learn about the past year at MZMC and talk about plans for 2015. Guiding Teacher Tim Burkett will give a short dharma talk at 10 a.m., and the meeting will begin. All are welcome to attend!

Special Series: Mindful Parenting with Diane Benjamin
Sundays, March 22 and April 12, 11:45 a.m.
Offered by donation

March 22: Being Peace. How do we handle anger and frustration skillfully, and how do we resolve conflict once it arises? How do we nourish peacefulness?

April 12: Mindful Consumption. How do we cultivate wholesome mental and physical environments for our families, both individually and collectively?

Dharma Family Sunday presents a special session for the parents on Mindful Parenting. Children will have their own program during this session, led by DFS teachers and volunteers. Please register to attend this program; Diane is generously giving her time to bring this to our parents at MZMC. Hope to see you there!

Diane Benjamin is a Zen Buddhist practitioner and mother. She has taught classes on mindful parenting at Compassionate Ocean Dharma Center and Clouds in Water Zen Center, and teaches in the children's practice program there. Currently, she is co-facilitating a Dharma Family class for parents and young children. Diane and her family have attended numerous retreats with Thich Nhat Hanh and his community, and she draws from that experience to inform her teaching and practice of bringing mindfulness into family life.

Spring Work Practice Afternoons
Sunday, March 29, 11:45 a.m. – 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, April 18, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Work practice is our opportunity to give our efforts to the community by taking care of the space we share. In work practice we can express the essence of zen, the delight of mindful activity, and appreciation of the manifest world.

Work practice afternoons include a vegetarian lunch or snack, so please let us know in advance if you plan to attend. Thank you. info@mnzencenter.org

April Events

Half-Day Sesshin
April 11 with Bonnie Versboncoeur
Hours: 5:45 am – noon
Cost: $30 members; $40 non-members
Please register five days in advance.

This brief immersion in the traditional sesshin schedule is a good opportunity to become familiar with the forms, stay in practice, or brush up after some time away. This morning includes an orientation, zazen, kinhin (walking meditation), liturgy, a formal vegetarian breakfast using oryoki bowls, and one-to-one meetings with the teacher.

Spring Morning Study Group: Daughters of Emptiness
with Ben Connelly
Every other Tuesday morning, April 14 – June 23
7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Cost: $90 members; $110 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.

Dive into this deep, clear collection of poems by a thousand years of Chinese Buddhist nuns. In this group we will investigate various ways of engaging with poetry in our lives and practices, and meet many great teachers each with their own wide way of practice and expression.

Tuesday Night Talk with Guest Teacher Reb Anderson, San Francisco Zen Center
Tuesday, April 28, at 7:30
No preregistration necessary.
Offered by donation.

We are very pleased that Reb Anderson will join us to give the Tuesday night talk: Avalokitesvara Surfs the Waves with All Sentient Beings. Reb Anderson Roshi moved to San Francisco from Minnesota, in 1967, to study Zen Buddhism with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who ordained him as a priest in 1970. Since then, he has continued to practice at the San Francisco Zen Center, where he served as abbot from 1986 to 1995 and is now a senior dharma teacher. He is particularly interested in Buddhist yoga, philosophy and psychology, and in the relationship of wisdom and compassion to the social and ecological crises of our time. Click here for more information about Reb Anderson.

May Events

May Retreat: Going Beyond, Practicing with the Paramitas
with Tim Burkett
Friday, May 1, at 7 pm through Wednesday, May 6, at 4 pm
Cost for full retreat: $235 members; $300 nonmembers
Cost for two-day option (May 2 – 3): $100 members; $130 nonmembers
Cost for one-day option (May 2): $50 members; $65 nonmembers
Hours for full days: 5:45 am – 9:00 pm
All participants should plan to attend the orientation on Friday, May 1, at 7 p.m.
Please register five days in advance.

During this 5 day retreat led by Guiding Teacher Tim Burkett we will be practicing the paramitas referred to as the "gone beyonds," since they help us go beyond our fixation on our constricted, small self.

We will practice the 4 paramitas that are most internal: Generosity, Patience, Effort, and Concentration Meditation. On the last day Tim will discuss the two that are more external: ethical behavior and wisdom. We will practice these paramitas as complements to the central focus of all our retreats: silent sitting and walking — in bare awareness (referred to in our tradition as shikan taza). Please join us for one to five days!

This 5 day retreat is contemporary in style while maintaining a deep immersion in meditation and silence. The retreat includes sitting and walking meditation, daily dharma talks, work practice, one-to-one meetings with the teachers, and buffet-style vegetarian meals.

Our mission is to help people experience a deep and quiet joy – a joy that arises whenever we are fully engaged in the work or play of this moment.