Getting Started

Getting started at One Heart Zen

What is Zen?

Zen is the second largest form of Buddhism practiced in Japan. The word “Zen” is the Japanese transliteration of the Chinese “Chan”, which is itself a transliteration of the Sanskrit “dhyana”, meaning meditation. Thus the word Zen itself carries with it the history of this spiritual practice and religion.

One Heart Zen practices in the Soto Zen tradition as transmitted to America by the Japanese Zen teacher Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, founder of San Francisco Zen Center, in the late 1950s (Wikipedia article on Suzuki roshi). The tradition was modified somewhat over 30 years of practice at San Francisco Zen’s three practice centers (City Center, Green Gulch Farm, and Tassajara Zen Monastery), and has been further adjusted and simplified by his student, Zoketsu Norman Fischer (Norman’s Everyday Zen Foundation, Wikipedia article on Norman). It has been further modified by Norman’s student and our teacher, Kotatsu John Bailes. Zen practice is both dynamic and rooted in tradition, changing form as it integrates with American culture.

Why Practice?

A regular meditation practice (zazen) helps one to develop the capacity to experience life, with all of its ups and downs, while staying rooted in a place of stillness. Over time this can lead to more acceptance and less fear and clinging around the ever changing process of life. As our insight into the workings of our own mind deepens, wisdom and compassion naturally arise.

Orientation to One Heart Zen

Newcomers are always welcome. In this time of Covid, all our meetings are online on Zoom. For instance, our online zendo opens at 8:45 am any Saturday morning. Our morning practice is 9:00 am to noon each Saturday. The morning typically includes sitting and walking meditation and a chanting and bowing ritual.

See the Calendar page for more details on our regular schedule.

There is no fee for joining us for practice but donations (Dana) are always welcome. If you determine that Zen practice and the availability in Monmouth County NJ  is meaningful to you, we invite you to become a Member.

Classes & Retreats

Classes, workshops, and retreats are offered throughout the year. We have several retreats lasting three days annually. These are also listed on the Calendar page.

Private Interviews

One-on-one interviews with our Teacher, Kotatsu John Bailes, are available during multi-day Sesshins. See the Calendar page. To learn more about private interviews, see the Going Further page. To learn more about our teacher see our Teachers and Leaders page.

Then What?

Already started and want to know what’s next?
Please see the Going Further page.