What is Zen?

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Meditating zazen at our dojo with Daizan Roshi

Zen comes from the Chinese word Chán (禪), which in turn comes from the Indian (Sanskrit) word Dhyāna (ध्यान), meaning “meditation”. The Zen approach emphasises meditation, and in particular, what you find when you deeply meditate.

Whether you’re based in London and are able to attend our regular Zen practice sessions, or want to study remotely, we offer a variety of ways for you to find out more about Zen.

Read on below, and use the links on the right to explore in more detail what we have to offer.

Zen, in its essence is the art of seeing into the nature of one’s own being, and it points the way from bondage to freedom. By making us drink right from the fountain of life it liberates us from all the yokes under which we finite beings are usually suffering in this world. D.T. Suzuki

Our Sangha

Our sangha is led by Julian Daizan Skinner, the first Englishman to go to Japan and become a Roshi or Zen master in the rigorous Rinzai tradition of Zen. About Daizan Roshi. We have a thriving Sangha centred around London, but distributed all over the UK and beyond.

Opportunities to practice

We meet twice a week at our dojo in Camberwell (south London) for Zen practice (including zazen, kinhin, sanzen and chanting). Zazen in London. Daizan Roshi also offers weekly sanzen by Skype for those living more remotely. Attend Sanzen. We run regular 3-day Breakthrough to Zen retreats all over the country. Breakthrough to Zen Retreats. We also run day-retreats and workshops in London, as well as longer retreats and courses all over the country.

More about Zen

In this short video, Daizan describes the essence of what Zen is:

In these series of slightly longer talks, Daizan breaks down the essentials of Zen practice – why it’s important in this modern world, what benefits it has, how to do it, and how to commit to it. He also answers some commonly asked questions.

After you’ve watched this first talk (of 3), explore more in the series using the links below.

Question: What if I feel pain when meditating?

Question: What does it mean to separate ourselves from suffering?

Talk 2 – healing the split between little old me and big old Universe

Talk 3 – How we can come home

Getting started with your meditation

Making the commitment to practise