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Does Empty Field Zendo have a Zen teacher?

Empty Field is a sister zendo of Empty Bowl Zendo, located in New Jersey. The sensei (teacher) at Empty Bowl is Ray Ruzan Cicetti, dharma heir to Roshi Robert Jinsen Kennedy of Morning Star Zendo in the White Plum lineage. Sensei Cicetti leads the sesshins (meditation retreats) hosted by Empty Field; please check the Retreats page for scheduled retreats.

Empty Field is facilitated by Sandra Jizan Moore, a dharma holder of Sensei Ray’s. The community focuses on meditation practice and augments its meetings with encouragement talks given by the dharma holder as well as readings from well-respected Zen or Buddhist literature. For example, the sangha (community) is currently reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki.

What kind of meditation does the zendo do?

We practice zazen, formal seated meditation. It is the practice of sitting still and silent in the proper posture and is done in community with others in a zendo (meditation hall).

If you have never meditated in a group setting before (or at all), we encourage you to come a little early to receive some basic instruction and ask questions.

If you have a zabuton (mat) and zafu (cushion) of your own, feel free to bring them. If you prefer to sit in a chair, you can do that instead.

Are you silent the entire time?

The sangha (community) meditates in silence. However, we chant together, listen to encouragement talks that can include a question and answer period, and on Tuesday evenings have a book study that includes reading aloud and discussion time.

I’ve never attended a zendo before. What should I do?

Arrive 15 minutes early in order to meet the members and receive some basic sitting and zendo etiquette instruction. We observe and honor the forms of the zendo, but also understand that embracing the forms needs a little getting used to.

You can also read Your First Visit on this web site for more information.

Do I have to be a Buddhist to participate?

Empty Field is open to people of all faiths, or none, who are interested in furthering their spiritual growth through silent meditation. We read from Buddhist or Zen literature after the Tuesday evening meditation, with the intent of furthering our understanding of the value of being present to our lives and awakening to our true nature.