​Other Activities - Dharma Discussions, Public Talks, Residential Training, Volunteering

Dharma Discussions

Since most of us practicing Zen in the U.S. weren't born Indian, Chinese, Japanese, or Buddhist, we haven't naturally absorbed  Buddhist concepts from being steeped in a Buddhist culture.  Westerners generally have little context with which to appreciate the Buddhadharma.  Dharma discussions are held to better understand fundamental Buddhist ideas and to encourage greater intimacy with our own Self-nature through listening and sharing direct, personal experience in a safe, nonjudgmental setting. 

The evening begins with zazen.  During tea we lay the groundwork for the discussion by hearing a recorded Zen commentary.  Because the commentary functions as a launching point for discussion, we forego the usual teisho-listening formalities. Here's the usual schedule:

6:00 - 6:30 - Arrival at Heart of Perfect Wisdom Zendo (HPWZ) & informal sitting (optional)
6:30 - 7:00 - Zazen
7:00 - 8:00 - Tea & Zen commentary
8:00 - 8:30 - Discussion

Upcoming Dharma Discussion: Family Karma, Tuesday, August 27, at HPWZ.  In his book The Zen of Living and Dying, Roshi Philip Kapleau says, "...we all ask to be born and are born through parents whom we seek because of a karmic affinity going back before conception."  Not only parents.  Brothers and sisters grow up with each other because their karma brought them together.  If this is true why do you think you chose your parents - and by extension, family?  Are there thoughts, speech, and actions you experienced in childhood (your own and others, both skillful and unskillful) that have have conditioned your adult life?  How have you been shaped by family karma?  Let's discuss it.  Why delve into this territory?  Because as Roshi P.K. says, "The more we understand the interconnectedness of all life, the better we understand the motivations behind our actions and the consequences of our behavior.  In the end, others as well as we are the beneficiaries."

​​​​Upcoming ​​Dharma Discussion: Subject to be announced, Tuesday, September 24, at HPWZ. 

Public Talks
A representative from the Center is available to give a public talk on Zen Buddhism, meditation and mindfulness, or to conduct the Introduction to Zen Meditation workshop at your school, church, club, work place, etc. 

Residential Zen Training

Louisville Zen Center sangha may participate in residential training at Rochester Zen Center (RZC).  Under the guidance of Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede and his senior students, residential training is an opportunity to immerse oneself in the disciplined atmosphere of Zen training - which includes meditation, group and individual instructions as well as other guidance, Zen talks, chanting, and work practice - for a shorter or longer period of time.  


​Louisville Zen Center operates as much as possible on the Buddhist principle of dana (or giving).  The organization is run entirely by volunteers.  Our Group Leader, zendo monitors, Board of Directors, and other workers and advisors, both at home and abroad, freely give their services to Louisville Zen Center. Volunteering is a great way to contribute to the functioning of the Center, refine one's meditation practice, and feel more connected to the sangha (community).  ​

​Some jobs, like bringing a reading or treats to share during tea, organizing social events, and suggesting Dharma films or Rochester Zen Center teishos (or subject matter for teisho) can be done by anyone in the sangha. Other volunteer opportunities, like zendo work practice, promote greater familiarity with Louisville Zen Center forms and customs while encouraging a thorough-going solidity in one's own meditation practice.