The Zen Garland Way

Cultivating the “Ever Intimate”(Shinzo)
Reclaiming the World as Sacred

The Zen Garland Way cultivates the human capacity to connect intimately with each living moment in experience, in relationship, in interactive co-creation with our situation. Dogen Zenji calls this shinzo, “the ever intimate.” Human nature is this intimate, unified inter-relatedness of all creation. The place of wholeness, salvation, and liberation is this intimate connection with life, moment by lived moment, which we describe as “reclaiming the world.”

The Zen Garland Order is a cooperative affiliation of formally empowered, lineage-bearing Zen Teachers.  We hold in common an ethical code and standards for empowerments and teach a shared curriculum for Core Practices and Training Paths. Each Zen Garland Teacher has their own talents, creativity, and specializations.  They carry on their work with students in their own style and offer unique personal approaches to Zen training.

We aspire to provide open, welcoming communities for spiritual development, accessible to people with varying goals and at different stages of development. Our teachers value respect for each practitioner and offer skillful and caring guidance in a safe, structured, and supportive environment. We treat each practitioner as an individual, helping you develop a personal spiritual practice appropriate to your needs, the context of your life and talents, and shaped by your aspirations. We are part of the Engaged Buddhism Movement and encourage envisioning life as service in our own personal and particular forms of engagement.

The Zen Path depends on personal experiences, insights and effortful emergence from habitual and harmful patterns of behavior. This path leads to experiences of the unity of life. Zen training goes far beyond that, liberating us to be fully human, alive and awake in the interactive, co-creative multiverse present right here now.

Our practice is designed specifically for people engaged in the demanding discipline of worldly life – responsibilities, ethical values and commitments, relationships, raising children, handling finances, career, recreation, and community involvements. Zen practice must address the tasks, motivations, emotions and actions that moment by moment make up our daily lives. In our vision, the hallmark of Zen accomplishment is not the hermitage or monastery, but rather mindful, skillful, and whole-hearted living right here and now in the spaces of our day-to-day life.

Zen practice should advance human development. We do not separate human development and spiritual development, nor divide secular from sacred. Life itself is the zendo and the universe of enlightenment. Zen helps us to bring a flexible, compassionate, and open HeartMind to our lifeworld. We discover that our lives moment by moment present the best opportunities for development, meaning, and fulfillment

Practice paths include:

Awakening, a graduated training for spiritual experience;
Taking the Zen Garland Vows, a lay commitment to the Zen Garland Way;
Ordination as a Zen Priest;
Zen Teacher Development.

The Zen Garland Order has centers worldwide that offer morning and evening Zen meditation, and both in-person and online private instruction with a residential Zen teacher, classes, workshops and retreats. We introduce interested beginners in a gentle way and help them to ease into a regular Zen practice.

Other Useful Information

Locations and contact information

Starting Practice
Useful information on getting started with a Zen practice

Coursework designed to support and grow your practice

Core Practices
Information on Zen Garland's seven Core Practices

Contact Us
Reach out to hear from one of our teachers