Welcome to our Kansas City-based Zen Center. Our formal Soto Zen Buddhist practice is open to the public. Our practice consists of simply sitting. Simply sitting in the posture Buddha adopted when he experienced awakening, without following any thought, any goal. This is the heart of the practice in our school, pure and undecorated meditation in the tradition of zen monk, Philippe Coupey.
What is Zen?
The essence of Zen Buddhism is the practice of zazen: seated meditation. Simply sitting in the posture Buddha adopted when he experienced awakening, without following any thoughts, without any object. This is the heart of the practice in our school, pure and undecorated meditation. We "cast aside the old man" and open ourselves to the reality of here and now. This is not a knowledge to grasp by the mind, but a practice, a living experience.
The Posture of Zazen
"The most important thing in taking the zazen posture is to keep your spine straight. Your ears and your shoulders should be on one line. Relax your shoulders and push up towards the ceiling with the back of your head. And you should pull your chin in. If your chin is tilted up, you have no strength in your posture, you are probably dreaming. Also to gain strength in your posture, press your diaphragm down towards your lower abdomen. This will help you to maintain your physical and mental balance. Your hands should form the cosmic "mudra". If you put your left hand on top of your right hand, middle joints of your middle fingers together, and touch your thumbs lightly together (as if you held a piece of paper between them), your hand will make a beautiful oval. Your hands should be held against your body, your thumbs at the height of your navel. Hold your arms freely and easily, and slightly away from your body, as if you held an egg under each arm without breaking it. You should not be tilted sideways, backwards or forwards. You should be sitting straight up as if you were supporting the sky with your head. This is not just form or breathing. It expresses the key point of Buddhism. It is a perfect expression of your Buddha nature. If you want true understanding of Buddhism, you should practice this way."