Does Empty Field Zendo have a Zen teacher?
Empty Field is affiliated with Empty Bowl Zendo, located in New Jersey. The resident 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, which is facilitated by a senior student of Sensei Ray’s, focuses on meditation practice and augments its meetings with readings from well-respected Zen or Buddhist literature. For example, the sangha (community) is currently reading Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice, by Kosho Uchiyama.
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 attend Beginner Instruction held on the last Sunday of each month.
If you have a zabuton (mat) and zafu (cushion) of your own, feel free to bring them. If you prefer to simply sit in a chair, you can do that instead.
Are you silent the entire time?
The sangha (community) is silent from beginning of the meditation time until the reading begins. General discussion begins after the reading is completed.
I’ve never attended a zendo before. What should I do?
We strongly recommend that you register for and attend the free Beginner Instruction held the last Sunday of the month. This introductory session will acquaint you with Zen, Empty Field, and zendo etiquette, as well as provide practical instruction on sitting posture. In addition, you will have the opportunity to ask questions in a relaxed and friendly setting, and to sit for short periods prior to joining the larger group for a full 25-minute sitting period.
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 meditation period, with the intent of furthering our understanding of the value of “being present” and awakening to our true natures.