MZMC will be closed Thursday, November 26. Join us for Blank Friday on November 27!

Public Invited to Blank Friday: A Zen Alternative to Black Friday

Friday, November 27
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The event is open to all at no cost (free will donations accepted).
To reserve a space in one of the classes described below, email the office at (There will also be some spaces set aside for walk-in, no-reservation attendees.)

On the day of the year that has become most associated with American consumerism and shopping, we would like to offer people a respite and alternative that they can practice every day of their busy lives. Practitioners and the general public are invited to learn about MZMC's schedule of daily meditation, lectures, classes, and retreats. Guests will also be able to visit the Center's facility, a large house located in a serene and beautiful location on the eastern shore of Lake Calhoun.

"Blank Friday" will feature:

  • four 60-minute classes, "Introduction to Mindfulness" (at 9:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with Wanda Isle) and "The Healing Power of Looking at a Blank Wall" (at 10:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. with Tim Burkett). The classes will be held in the Center's main hall. To reserve a space in one of these classes, email the office at
  • ongoing meditation, with a 20-minute sitting every half-hour, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.
For more information, click here.


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 cannot 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.

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:

November and December Classes, Retreats and Other Activities

Activites below are listed here on the "Home" page for convenience but can also be found under the "Schedule" tab and on the calendar.

Dharma Family Sundays
Coordinated by Susan Nelson
Second Sunday of each month
11:45 am – 12:45 pm, with tea and social time at 11:00 am
This group will not meet when retreats are taking place. Please check the calendar.
By donation; no preregistration required

Dharma Family Sundays is for parents and children of all ages to come together to share the dharma with stories, meditation, songs, activities and food. This is a time for parents to share their practice place with the rest of the family and for children and parents to make connections with others in the Zen community, (not limited to members of MZMC).

MZMC Community Council Process
Sunday, November 22, 11:30 – 12:45
facilitated by Susan Nelson and Ted O'Toole
Open to all. No preregistration required.

MZMC is offering an opportunity to build community and practice Right Speech with a practice called Council. The origins of the Council Process are attributed to the Iroquois Confederation in the North Eastern, United States although other versions of it have probably been around a long time. It is used at Zen centers typically for everything from sharing practice verbally at a deep level to decision making to processing change. Council is a way of being in community in which mindful speech and deep listening are consciously practiced within the council form. The basic form is a circle. The circle may have facilitators, but they are also participants, not "leaders." All members have an equal voice and are accorded equal respect. Honoring the three treasures of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha while having the opportunity to express ourselves with each other are embraced within this form.

Zen Forms and Etiquette
with Bussho Lahn
Sunday, November 29
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Suggested donation: $10
Class limited to 12 people.
Please register five days in advance.

This class is one-hour long. The same information is covered each time it is offered (bi-monthly). We will cover the basics of traditional Zen forms: bows, entries and exits, walking meditation, etc. This offering is designed for the newcomer who would like an overview of forms to help them be more comfortable when joining us for morning zazen or one of our sesshins. It is also a great refresher course for those more experienced.

Rohatsu Sesshin 2015
with Tim Burkett
Seven-day option: Sun., November 29, 7 pm – Sun., Dec. 6, 4 pm
Five-day option: Wed., December 2, 5:45 am – Sun., Dec. 6, 4 pm
Two-day option: Sat., December 5, 5:45 am – Sun. Dec. 6, 4 pm
One-day option: Sat., December 5, 5:45 am – Sat. Dec. 5, 9 pm
Hours for full days: 5:45 am – 9:00 pm

Cost for seven days: member $335; nonmember $435
Cost for five days: member $250; nonmember $325
Cost for two days: member $100; nonmember $130
Cost for one day: member $50; nonmember $65
Please register five days in advance.

Rohatsu (Buddha's Enlightenment) sesshin is arguably the year's most important event for Zen Buddhists. All over the world we sit in meditation, celebrating Buddha's awakening to an intimacy with all life as our own awakening. This formal retreat includes zazen, kinhin (walking meditation), liturgy, dharma talks, formal vegetarian meals using oryoki, dokusan (one-to-one meetings with the teachers), and work practice. All participants should attend the orientation on Sunday, November 29, at 7 p.m.

Sitting with Sutras: A Contemplative Afternoon
Saturday, December 12, 12 – 3 pm with Rosemary Taylor
Cost: $30 members; $35 non-members
Please register five days in advance. Limited to 10 people.

Spend a weekend afternoon in silent contemplation with some of the great words of Buddhism. We will read short 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.

Online Class Offerings

Take an online course on some aspect of Buddhism with a MZMC teacher. Two structured online courses are presently available: "Introduction to Buddhism" and "Start a Zen Practice: A Self-Paced Course." Each course has six sections and is self-paced. It includes time with the instructor over the Internet or by phone. Click here for details and previews of the classes.

Check out the 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.

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.