What is Zen?

Zen employs several simple techniques of formal practice and meditation that help direct the student towards a central question: “What am I?” Although this question seems shapeless, Zen has developed, over many centuries, a  practical and clearly defined means of approaching it. Meditation, communal activity, and student-teacher dialogue are common to all Zen traditions. If there is an element of faith in Zen, it is faith that steadfast concentration on the question of self-nature will bring clarity and energy to everyday life as well as a faith that, ultimately, Zen practice will not focus on an isolated “I” but on the whole real world.

The Chogye International Zen Center of New York was founded in 1975 by Zen Master Seung Sahn who is the first Korean Zen Master to live and teach in the West. Addressed by his students as Dae Soen Sa Nim, he arrived in the United States in 1972 and established Zen Centers in the U.S. as well as Europe and Korea. These centers are linked together through the Kwan Um School of Zen.

The Zen Center offers daily practice which includes chanting, bowing, and sitting meditation, an extended sitting practice on Wednesday nights, monthly talks on Zen, and an Introduction to Zen class. The Center also offers frequent retreats, workshops and one-day sitting intensives.


ZM Bon ShinUpcoming summer retreat with special guest teacher
Zen Master Bon Shim (Aleksandra Porter)

Jun 19-21 (Fri-Sun): 2-Day YMJJ Retreat with
special guest teacher Zen Master Bon Shim (Aleksandra Porter)
Note this is a change in the schedule for this month’s retreat.

Zen Master Bon Shim (Aleksandra Porter) met Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1978 and started practicing under his guidance. She moved to Warsaw Zen Centre in 1988 and served as abbot there for many years. She received inka in 1992 from Zen Master Seung Sahn and transmission in 2006 from Zen Master Wu Bong. She is the Guiding Teacher of many KUSZ centers and groups in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Spain, and travels and teaches extensively in Europe, the USA, and recently also in Korea.


What is Zen? from Sana Lime.