Zen Practice in San Luis Obispo

The San Luis Obispo Zen Circle (SLOZC) 
meets weekly on Thursday evenings to practice Zen together. The group has been together for over ten years.  

We are affiliated with the Zen Center of Los Angeles (ZCLA), a Buddhist training center founded by Maezumi Roshi in 1967 in the Soto Zen lineage. Our meditation practice is zazen (sitting meditation) and kinhin (walking meditation).

New members and visitors are encouraged to make an appointment for an orientation session. Held at 6:15 p.m., an hour before our regular sitting, the session covers the basics of zazen and our zendo procedures in order to help new participants feel comfortable with the program.

Everyone is welcome and no prior experience is required. There is no cost to attend, but dana (a small donation) is welcome. 

Our Practicing Together page covers procedures in our zendo, including bowing, service, zazen (sitting meditation), and kinhin (walking meditation). Zen procedures may seem a bit daunting at first, but don't be put off. We are a relaxed group, and it’s easy to pick up the routine over time and by watching others.

If you have your own zafu (meditation cushion), feel free to bring it. Otherwise, zafus, seiza benches, and chairs are available, as well as plenty of zabutons (the floor mats under the cushions).

Our doors open at 7:00 p.m., and we begin at 7:15 p.m. with a short service, followed by two thirty minute periods of zazen (sitting meditation), with five minutes of kinhin (walking meditation) in between.  After the meditation periods there is a break for tea (and sometimes cookies), followed by time for a group check-in, discussion, book study, listening to a pre-recorded talk, or sutra copying. 

In the past we have studied such works as Kosho Uchiyama Roshi's Opening the Hand of Thought, Yoel Hoffmann's Japanese Death Poems and Pema Chodron's No Time to Lose, her commentary on Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva. We also used Stephen Levine's A Year to Live as a workbook for living a hypothetical final year of life. 

More recently we studied the Heart Sutra, an essential text of Zen Buddhism, and enjoyed Norman Fischer's Training in Compassion: Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong. We are currently studying Red Pine's translation of the Tao Te Ching

Schedule   Thursday evenings at Crows End Retreat:

7:00 Doors open
7:15 - 7:25 Service
7:25 - 7:55 Zazen
7:55 - 8:00 Kinhin
8:00 - 8:30 Zazen
8:30 - 8:45 Tea & Cookies
8:45 - 9:30 Discussion, Study or Talk

Contact Us   New participants are encouraged to arrange an introduction to Zen practice with Rev. Shōgen, the coordinator of our group, prior to attending a Thursday night meeting:

Rev. Mark Shōgen Bloodgood
SLO Zen Circle Coordinator & Priest