We are the Seattle chapter of the Kwan Um School of Zen, an international organization of Zen centers and groups founded under the direction of Zen Master Seung Sahn. We offer training in Zen meditation through meditation instruction, weekly group practice, public talks, teaching interviews, retreats, and workshops. Our programs are open to anyone regardless of previous experience.
Our purpose is to make Zen practice as accessible as possible. It is our wish to help human beings find their true direction and to help this world.
Traditionally, in China and Korea, only monastics engaged in Zen meditation, usually spending at least six months each year in formal practice at a Temple. Today, most Zen practitioners are ordinary men and women with jobs, families, and community obligations. Because few lay practitioners can dedicate themselves to full-time Zen meditation, modern Zen teaches the importance of mind sitting.
Mind sitting means keeping a not-moving mind in our everyday life situation. What are you doing right now? In each moment, just let go of your opinion, condition and situation. Then you become clear. When you are doing something, just do it. This is everyday Zen.
When we return to clarity in this moment, we can help ourselves and others. In the Kwan Um School of Zen, we call that great love, great compassion and the Great Bodhisattva Way. For all of us, the teaching of great love, great compassion and the Great Bodhisattva Way is very important.
By practicing Zen meditation to become clear, we can from moment to moment see clearly our situation, our relationship, and then act accordingly for the benefit of ourselves and all beings.
Our Four Great Vows
Sentient beings are numberless - we vow to save them all
Delusions are endless - we vow to cut though them all
The teachings are infinite - we vow to learn them all
The Buddha Way is inconceivable - we vow to attain it
A word about Zen meditation.
We tend to see body, breath, and mind separately, but in meditation they become one. The first thing we pay attention to is the body position during sitting. How you position your body has a lot to do with what happens with your mind and your breath.
As our School comes from an Asian tradition, the basic meditation posture is to sit on a mat and cushion on the floor. However, our School allows for many variations to help Western students find a stable and sustainable posture. What is most important in our tradition is mind sitting.
To learn more, contact us so we can arrange a time to provide some instruction and answer any questions you may have.