Why meditate?

To see clearly, not fooling yourself or others.

How is this done?

By sitting in quiet, fully with others, with a mind that does not know and is open to whatever arises.

What arises through regular meditation practice?

By getting out of your own way, calmness and clarity may ripen in your life, offering greater awareness and equanimity.

Kinhin at Mt. Equity Jiho-ji

The Mt. Equity Sangha offers meditation and the seamless practice of mindfulness, providing opportunities at our practice locations for both beginners and seasoned practitioners to engage and develop within the Soto Zen tradition. There are evening periods of zazen (seated meditation), kinhin (walking meditation) and discussion, as well as retreats lasting from one to three days.  The longer retreats involve zazen, sutra recitation, kinhin, shared meals, Dharma talks and work practice. During some events, a Soto Zen service is offered.

Sesshin, held for three days in silence at Moon-on-the-Lake Zendo, deepens our zen meditation more than any other form of retreat. The word “sesshin” literally means “touching the heart/mind.” To make profound changes in our mind and in our everyday world, sesshin is essential. Practicing together with a teacher and community brings mutual understanding to our life.

Whether brief or extended, these forms of Zen practice provide the opportunity to deepen the qualities of calmness and clarity so that we may live with greater awareness, equanimity and in better balance with relationships, work, school and family.

Events are led by Reverend Patricia Dai-En Bennage Roshi, lay teachers Barbara Tokuen Gray, Marcy Daijun Brenner, and Nancy Nanshin White or senior precepted students. Please see the About Us and Events pages for information about the locations where we practice together.

In Preparation for Practice

Please contact an event’s lead teacher before attending. Contact information for each practice location can be found on the About Us page.

For meditation, dress comfortably in loose-fitting, modest attire in solid or subdued colors; no shorts, leggings, sleeveless garments or perfume. If you have a zafu (cushion) or seiza bench, please bring it. If you don’t, one can be made available but please inform the teacher about your need when you register. 

At all locations, please enter mindfully as you would into any sacred place of practice, leaving digital devices in your car and shoes at the door.

Donation or “dana” is a sacred aspect of the practice, always made according to one’s means. The suggested donation for each event varies.

Detailed instruction for sesshin at Moon-on-the-Lake Zendo will be provided after receiving permission for attendance from one of the lay teachers. These instructions will include what to bring, expected behavior and driving directions.

Practice within Our Community:  The Five Precepts

The following Five Precepts, adapted from the teaching of Thich Nhat Hanh, promote harmony and well being for ourselves and others and are integral to all practice within the Mt. Equity community:

  • The first training is to protect life and to decrease violence in one’s self, family and in society.
  • The second training is to practice social justice, generosity, and to refrain from stealing and exploiting other living beings.
  • The third training is the practice of responsible sexual behavior in order to protect individuals, couples, families and children.
  • The fourth training is the practice of deep listening and loving speech to foster communication and reconciliation.
  • The fifth training is mindful consumption, to refrain from bringing toxins and poisons into our body or mind. Such poisons can include not only food and drink but also conversations, digital and social media material, and news.