A useful definition of Zen is the practice of being present, of experiencing fully. The Zen Community of Baltimore/Clare Sangha offers opportunities for people to learn about and practice Zen. Offerings include days of silence, seasonal retreats, "Zen 108" and other training including orientation workshops and Zen precept study.

Some useful links you may click on:
- Basic written instruction in Zen meditation practice.
- Basic video instruction in the Fundamentals and Fruits of Zen practice .
- Recommended Readings .

Introductory Days are offered for orientation to Zen training and practice, and as an entry point for newcomers wishing to learn about ZCB/Clare Sangha.

To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between oneself and others. -- Dogen, Manifestation of the Koan, ca. 1238

These simple but profound words of Zen Master Dogen summarize the spiritual path first demonstrated in the realization experience and life of Shakyamuni-Buddha 2,500 years ago. It is a joyful fact of life that this Way is available to us today.

Our emphasis in Zen training and practice is on bare attention -- simple, direct, non-interfering awareness, non-judging awareness. Students who establish a Zen practice find it opens the Way for them amid their own circumstances and conditions. Practice then becomes its own reward and brings power for guidance.

To encourage practice, ZCB holds a bead ceremony honoring those who do zazen an hour or more for 108 consecutive days. The aim of "Zen 108" is to help members establish a strong home practice; and develop the settling power of concentrated mind (joriki). The encouraging experience of joriki connects with a principal benefit of Zen, the centering of one's being.

Learning to center one's being in the present moment leads onward to the other main benefits of a Zen life. These include awakening to the Way of wisdom and compassion (forgetting the self), then embodying the Way in one's daily life -- a progressive and life-long undertaking. The ZCB intention is to help students have their own direct experience of these benefits.



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