Meditation Instruction

Louisville Zen Center offers different types of meditation instruction: private and public, individual and group, formal and informal. Zen has always been a mentor-based tradition. We suggest seeking instruction periodically to stay on track in your practice.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Introduction to Zen Meditation

For those new to Zen meditation, wanting a refresher, or new to practicing with Louisville Zen Center or Rochester Zen Center. We cover the 'whats','whys', and 'hows' of Zen meditation including meditation posture, types and use of meditation equipment, breathing, concentration, walking meditation, integrating Zen practice with daily life, and finding and working with a teacher or other spiritual friend. 

Louisville Zen Center offers in-person Introduction to Zen on occasional Sundays at 5:30 - 8:15 p.m. (Eastern). See our Sittings  page for dates. Contact us to sign up. Here is the handout we'll reference during the workshop. Instruction starts promptly at 5:30 p.m. so please arrive early. Out of respect for participants' time and the evening schedule, latecomers may be turned away. We take a short break at 6:15, practice with others 6:30 - 8:00, then wrap up with tea and final questions until 8:15 pm. ​​We suggest non-members give a donation $10 - $30 via PayPal when attending Louisville Zen Center's Introduction to Zen but any contribution, large or small, is much appreciated.  

Rochester Zen Center and Louisville Zen Center frequently collaborate to offer online Introduction to Zen on occasional Saturdays at 10 a.m.~ 2:30 p.m. (Eastern). A donation of $10 – $30 to Rochester Zen Center is suggested, however, if any amount would be a hardship, you can request to omit the donation and still attend. Click here for more information and to register for a Rochester Zen Center Online Introduction to Zen workshop.

Finding Your Seat

​Finding Your Seat (FYS) is a friendly, informal, group discussion of matters like posture, breath and first-koan practices, Center procedures, maintaining a habit of daily sitting, and keeping your Zen practice moving along. FYS facilitators answer questions, offer advice and encouragement, and lead a short round of sitting. Our group leader facilitates FYS on occasional Saturdays at 11 am - noon in one of Rochester Zen Center's Zoom rooms. See our Sittings page for dates. Email for Zoom access.

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Group Instruction

Those who have attended the Introduction to Zen Meditation workshop (or equivalent) are welcome to attend Group Instruction, individualized instruction and guidance in a group setting.

Unlike Finding Your Seat, Group Instruction is not a group discussion period; attendees are not talking to each other. Discussion occurs between the individual questioner and the group instructor. Because it can be so helpful to hear others' questions and responses, participants are urged to maintain confidentiality and to avoid discussing what occurred during Group Instruction.

​To participate, at the appropriate time, go to the designated room and sit facing the group instructor. Participants ask questions and receive responses one person at a time. You may ask anything at all - about the Zen Center, meditation posture, breath practice, first-koan practice, mindfulness in everyday affairs, even personal matters are o.k. Others in the group remain silent until their turn to speak. Instruction can even be given to a single individual if Group Instruction is announced and only one person attends. Currently, hybrid (in-person and Zoom) Group Instruction is offered about once monthly on Sunday evenings. See our Sittings page for dates.

Private Instruction 

Private Instruction (daisan) is a one-to-one teaching encounter in private given by our group leader. Parameters for what is discussed in Private Instruction are quite broad. It may cover points about posture, breathing, and other instruction in Zen practice, or it may get into counseling-like territory. Our group leader regularly offers daisan during Rochester Zen Center Zoom sittings at 7-8 p.m. most Fridays. See our Sittings page for dates and further instructions. Email for Zoom access.


​​Advising is a one-to-one interaction with our group leader to address matters that may be too complex, time-consuming, or personal for formal sittings or for group settings. You may bring up anything at all during advising, and confidentiality shall be respected unless required to do otherwise by law. Because, this type of individualized instruction and guidance is informal and unstructured – sometimes simply a check-in over tea - it is scheduled outside of sittings. 

Advising may be conducted in-person, on Zoom, or by phone. Those who have attended the Introduction to Zen (or equivalent), Group Instruction, and Private Instruction may participate. Contact Jissai to schedule an appointment.