Morning Star Zendo

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Morning Star Zendo is a center for zen meditation practice in Jersey City, NJ. Our founding teacher, Robert Kennedy, is a Catholic Jesuit priest (ordained 1965) as well as a Zen Buddhist teacher (sensei 1991, roshi 1997). Roshi Kennedy has devoted his career to inter-religious understanding and dialogue, and he welcomes people of all faiths and spiritual practices to Morning Star Zendo.

The spirit at the zendo reflects and builds upon Kennedy's deep respect for and knowledge of Buddhism. It carries out the principles laid out in the Jesuit statement on mission and inter-religious dialogue, which demands that Jesuits be not only familiar with the thought of men and women of other religious traditions, but be immersed with them in theological exchange and in a dialogue of life, action, and religious experience.

What is the practice of Zen meditation?

Zazen is the practice of stilling the mind through wholehearted attentiveness to the breath. This steady attentiveness, coupled with the stillness of the body, frees the mind from its ordinary activities of thinking, daydreaming, or speculating on the nature of life. Zen demands discipline and effort. The support of group sitting is a strong encouragement to practice.

The attraction to Zen

In Zen Gifts to Christians, Roshi Kennedy suggests that people, leaning toward a deeper form of prayer, are often attracted to studying Zen. It is not because they wish to become Buddhists but because they seek a more contemplative prayer life. He writes:

"Zen gives us a method to put contemplation into practice. Zen training does not allow us to analyze or theorize about prayer or life. Instead, it plunges us at the outset into the contemplative act in which there is no subject or object."

Zen Insight

When practiced attentively, Zen offers an ever-deepening insight into the oneness of life. This insight reveals to us our own human potential and calls us to use this potential in the service of others, and brings us to the present moment, clarifying and supporting our readiness to meet the ever-changing circumstances of daily life.

New to Zen?

Before first coming to the zendo, located at 50 Glenwood Avenue, Jersey City, it is a good idea to let us know you are coming so we can make sure someone is here to meet you and orient you. Please email if you plan to come. Brief beginner instruction is offered during the 9 a.m. sitting on Saturday, and you should plan to arrive by 8:30 a.m. on your first visit.

Morning Star Zendo is affiliated with the White Plum Asanga and Zen Peacemakers: