Classes, Practice Periods, and Ongoing Groups

In addition to the daily meditation schedule, MZMC provides many different opportunities for practice and learning, including:

  • Classes on Zen, Practice Periods, and ongoing groups
  • Sesshins (which include formal services and oryoki meals) and Retreats (which are contemporary in context)
  • One-to-one meetings (dokusan and practice meetings)
  • Work Practice days
  • Guest Teacher lectures and workshops

All of these activities are open to the public. Where noted, fees are charged or donations requested for events. Financially supporting members of MZMC or other Twin Cities dharma centers are eligible for discounts on fees for sesshins and other selected events.


Introduction to Zen Meditation

For those who are curious about meditation, or would like to test the waters, Introduction to Zen Meditation is an introductory series of talks offered each week.

Introduction to Zen Meditation takes place on Sunday mornings and Tuesday evenings. Each session includes meditation instruction and teaching on how meditation and Zen relate to daily life.
More information


Learn the Basic Zen Forms and Etiquette

Zen Forms and Etiquette 2018

Would you like to become familiar with the basics of traditional Zen forms: bows, entries and exits, walking meditation, etc? This offering is designed for the newcomer who'd like an overview of forms to help them be more familiar and comfortable joining us for morning zazen or one of our sesshins. It's a good opportunity to become familiar with the forms, stay in practice, or brush up after some time away. The same information is covered each time.
More information and dates


Foundations of Practice 2018

Creativity and Zen: How do we express our practice?
with Ben Connelly
Wednesdays, January 17 – February 21
7:15 – 8:45 pm
Cost: $110 members; $135 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.
Register

Free and develop your creative capacity and find the creative in your daily way of being. Zen is an art of living compassion. It is an art of realizing our inherent creative capacity. It is a path of spontaneity and discipline in the service of living for everyone and everything. It has shown its creative form in visual art, writing, ritual, dance, theater, and work that transcends category. This class is for everyone from working artists, to those who think they have no creativity at all. Jump in.

Zen Ritual and Liturgy: What is at the heart of bowing and chanting?
with Bussho Lahn
Wednesdays, May 2 – June 6, 7:15 – 8:45 pm
Cost: $110 members; $135 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.
Register

Ritual is a basic component of our traditional style practice at MZMC and has been central to Buddhist and Zen practice for thousands of years. This class is an investigation of both how and why we do ritual: bowing, chanting, tending altars and others. We'll also study the meaning and purpose for some of the chants we sing at our center.

Original Zen: What were the first Zen teachings?
with Bussho Lahn
Wednesdays, August 22 – September 26, 7:15 – 8:45 pm
Cost: $110 members; $135 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.
Register

1500 years ago in China Buddhism took a new and dynamic form that still thrives to this day, Zen. Direct knowledge beyond words, spontaneity, harmony with nature and bare attention to just this moment are hallmarks of this tradition. We'll study some of the earliest and most influential Zen teachers, each with a unique and beautiful expression of every person's ability to awaken now.


Practice Periods 2018

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.

Spring Practice Period: The Light That Shines Through Infinity: Zen and the Energy of Life
with Wanda Isle and Susan Nelson
Wednesday evenings, March 7 – April 25, 7:15 – 8:45 p.m.
(There is also a morning option for those who cannot attend Wednesday evenings: Thursdays, March 8 – April 26, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.)
Cost: $145 members; $180 nonmembers
Register

This spring, we will study the teachings of Katagiri-roshi, using as our guide his latest book, The Light That Shines Through Infinity: Zen and the Energy of Life, edited by Andrea Martin. With Katagiri's gentle direction and quick, easy humor, we will delve into and below the surface of the Buddhist teachings contained within, connecting with the energies of life itself; which include those of realization, of unity, of emptiness, and finally, of harmony and a peaceful heart. Please join us as we walk together on this path of ever-deepening practice and inquiry.

Fall Practice Period
with Tim Burkett and Ted O'Toole
Wednesday evenings, October 3 – November 21, 7:15 – 8:45 p.m.
(There is also a morning option for those who cannot attend Wednesday evenings: Thursday mornings October 4 – November 22, 7:30 – 9:00 a.m.)
Cost: $145 members; $180 nonmembers
Register
Please register five days in advance.

Topic to be announced.


Advanced Studies 2018

Zen Poetry: How is the inexpressible expressed? Zen Master Ryokan (aka Great Fool)
with Tim Burkett
Thursdays, January 18 – February 22
7:15 – 8:45 pm
Cost: $110 members; $135 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.
Register

This class will focus on the poetry of Zen Master Ryokan (aka Great Fool). Many of the greatest expressions of Zen wisdom have come in the form of poetry, often focusing on encouragement for practice and appreciation of nature. Many great teachers of our past have used poetry as one of their principle means of revealing their way and their wisdom. This class will allow you to wade into one of the world's great bodies of spiritual literature.

Zen koans: How do we live in not-knowing?
with Susan Nelson
Wednesdays, June 20 – August 1 (no class July 4)
7:15 – 8:45 pm
Cost: $110 members; $135 nonmembers
Please register five days in advance.
Register

Koans, brief paradoxical Zen stories and questions, are one of the most unique aspects of our tradition. They pose an impossible barrier to our conventional minds to encourage us to break through to a new and vibrant way of being. This class is an invitation to encounter Zen thought in it's most spontaneous and dynamic form.


Spring and Fall Morning Study Groups 2017

These are advanced study groups open to those who have been in a previous study group at MZMC or by permission of the teachers.

Spring Morning Study Group
with Tim Burkett
Tuesday mornings, May 1 – June 5 (meeting weekly)
7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Cost: $110 members; $135 nonmembers
Register

Topic to be announced.

Fall Morning Study Group
with Ben Connelly
Every other Tuesday morning September 4 – November 13
7:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Cost: $110 members; $135 nonmembers
Register
Please register five days in advance.

Topic to be announced.


One-to-one Meetings (Dokusan and Practice Meetings)

Do you have questions about Zen? Do you want advice about establishing or maintaining a meditation practice? Does sitting present you with physical challenges? Are you struggling to apply your practice in your daily life? Do you wonder if you're really ready to do a retreat?

Zen Center offers meetings with experienced Zen teachers to address these kinds of questions. Teachers at Zen Center very much enjoy getting to know other Zen practitioners and encouraging others in their practice.

Two kinds of meetings are offered.

  • Dokusan is a meeting with Guiding Teacher Tim Burkett, or a Senior Teacher (dharma heir) (Ben Connelly, Guy Gibbon, Wanda Isle, Bussho Lahn, Rosemary Taylor, Susan Nelson and Ted O'Toole). Tim meets in dokusan only with Zen Center members; the Senior Teachers meet with both members and non-members.
  • Practice Meetings are opportunities to meet with the Center's other teachers, all of whom have been ordained by Tim. Anyone, members or non-members, can sign up for practice meetings.

Both types of meetings are simply opportunities for conversation. Topics might include zazen instruction, appropriate sitting posture, ritual, Zen Center programs, applying practice to daily life, or finding ways in which the practice can be helpful in difficult situations. It's also perfectly appropriate to sign up for a meeting just to get to know a teacher better. Repeat visits, to the same teacher or another teacher, are welcome. All matters disclosed in dokusan and practice meetings are kept confidential.

If you would like to meet with a teacher, check the sign-up sheets on the front bulletin board at MZMC. If none of the designated times work for you, contact the office to arrange another time. You may ask for a specific teacher or have one assigned to you. info@mnzencenter.org

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.