Santa Cruz Zen Center is an active community with events throughout the year. There are workshops to bring art into our practice, visiting authors and speakers, social gatherings where we build connections that bring vitality to our practice, and outreach projects to help the people in the city around us. And meditating - lots of meditating.
The greatest gift of this life is that we get to live in a world where there is a lot to discover. Since we are curious people, we invite teachers to the temple to offer their experience and knowledge. Topics can range from studying the basics of Zen, deeper dives into the sutras, and the means by which we can bring the mind of mediation into our everyday life.
Every Wednesday evening, as well as during sesshin meditation retreats, there is a Dharma talk by one of the Santa Cruz Zen Center teachers, or visiting teacher, on various themes of Zen practice and understanding. This includes time for asking questions, and is followed on Wednesday evenings by an informal tea, where discussion can continue.
Sesshin means to collect the heart/mind. As Dogen Zenji says “to study the Buddha Way is to study the self; to study the self is to forget the self.” Putting ourselves in a tight container which is sesshin, we have the opportunity to really study ourselves.
Continuing the tradition of studying the sutras, there are a few study groups led by teachers that take a deep dive into ancient teachings through the lense of contemporary authors. As a Zen Center in an urban location we often discuss how these teachings apply to our everyday busy lives.