Morning Star Zendo

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Zoom Sitting

The COVID-19 virus continues to spread. We need to continue to observe social distancing and solidarity. While we cannot physically sit together at Glenwood Avenue in the morning, we invite you to join Morning Star’s online zendo, a silent space for joining others in the practice of seated meditation or zazen.

We have updated and changed the security of our zoom meetings. To prevent Zoom spam, we require a very quick and one time easy initial registration. Please email for instructions.

Zoom schedule:

Monday through Friday at 7:00-7:45am. We will sit for 25 minutes, followed by chants on M/W/F, or by a short talk on T/Th.

Saturday mornings at 9:00-10:00am. We will sit for 25 minutes, followed by a dharma talk, followed by sitting and open discussion.

How does it work?

The online zendo uses a video conferencing application called Zoom. Participants are welcome to join for the entire session or any part that they are able to attend.

Before participating in the online zendo, you must first download the Zoom application to your local computer, laptop or smart phone.

Please join the session a few minutes before the scheduled time, so as to be seated and settled in place before the period of zazen begins. Please remember to mute the microphone on your device when you join to reduce background noise for others. Ear phones help to reduce background noise for the others and also help you hear the talk more clearly.

We need each other’s mutual support and hope to see you online and sit together and continue to cultivate our practice during this time.

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.

As peacemakers at Morning Star, we believe that our differences are enriching and seek the common ground in which all beings can co-exist in peace. Therefore, we commit not to turn away from the reality of discrimination and the brutality of racism, even our own. We seek to change that reality by listening carefully, living generously, and working to manifest the shared values of justice, compassion and opportunity.

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.

April 28, 2020

From Songs of Here and Now Susan KōDō Efird, Sensei, Sky Above Zen, Washington, DC

By day the sun bringing light

and by night the cloud-singed moon.

Do we see more clearly

in the dark, our eyes adjusting

to what cannot be known?

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