New Zen Center Starts in Boston

It is hard to believe how much has happened within our Boundless Way Zen project since we first began what would become this community of practice about a dozen years ago.

We can now announce the beginning of the Greater Boston Zen Center, our first group with a dedicated space in the Boston area.

The grand opening will be on Tuesday evening, May the 15th, 2012.

My senior student Josh Bartok is the guiding teacher, and will in due course be installed as abbot. It combines the efforts of two preexisting sitting groups, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Zen sangha & Spring Hill Zen. Also connected, but, I understand, will continue with a separate space is the Henry David Thoreau Zen sangha in Newton.

If you go to the website you can glean all sorts of details, but the front page has some useful information worth reprinting here.

First, on where to find the Greater Boston Zen Center:

288 Norfolk St
2nd floor
Cambridge MA 02139

When to come (starting on the 15th of May):

Our main practice periods are Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, and Saturday mornings. We also have sittings some weekday mornings. See the Daily Schedule tab above for details, or click here.

How to get here:

We’re just off Cambridge St, between Inman and Kendall Squares, in large brick industrial building directly across from Oleana Restaurant. We’re an easy walk (10-15 minutes) from the Central Square T stop on the Red Line, and from the Kendall Square T stop on the Red Line.

Where to park:

For details about where to park, please click here.

If you are new to Zen:

Please send an email to the practice leader listed on the Daily Schedule page to find out when the next beginner’s group orientation will be taking place on the evening or morning you’d like to come. Orientations are available only by prior arrangement and take place every other week. Go here to make those arrangements. These orientations ofter brief introductions to zazen (the Zen style of meditation), to postures that will help you sit comfortably and in stillness, to meditation hall etiquette, to Zen liturgy, and to the Boundless Way Zen school. If any of that is new to you, please consider coming to an orientation!

Since several people often attend these orientations and there is a good bit of material to be covered in a brief period of time, please make every effort to arrive promptly at the scheduled time, out of courtesy to your fellow attendees.

If you’d like to get a jumpstart on the orientation and to get a full sense of the Boundless Way approach to Zen, please listen to one or more of these introductory talks given by resident teacher Josh Bartok:

Intro to Zen Meditation
Intro to Zen Liturgy, part I
Intro to Zen Liturgy, part II

You may also want to read this book:
Zen Meditation in Plain English by John Buksbazen

If you are experienced in Zen:

If you are comfortable with stillness and are familiar with meditation in the Zen tradition and with Zen liturgy—you are welcome to just show up and dive in. Nonetheless, we do encourage even old hands to come for an orientation, if only to introduce yourself and get acquainted.

What you should bring and what you should wear:

You needn’t bring anything at all except, ideally, an open mind. If you wish to bring your own meditation cushion or bench, please do so. Some chairs, cushions, and benches will be available. You needn’t wear anything special, though you may wish to choose somewhat loose-fitting pants.

Is it free?

All orientations and all regular daily practice sessions are offered free of charge. And the Greater Boston Zen Center does pay substantial rent to maintain this space, so we welcome your donations.

I expect to visit from time to time, particularly to assist in the half and all day sittings.

So, I hope to see you there!

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