Practice Opportunities

Daily Zazen and Dharma Talks

We offer morning and evening zazen (sitting meditation), Tuesday through Thursday. Sunday mornings, zazen is followed by a dharma talk or discussion, tea and a short work period. Please see daily schedule for details. Donations are welcome; there is no fee. 

Introduction to Zazen

The Zen Center offers an introduction to Zen Buddhism and zazen. This includes a talk about Zen, zazen instruction, a short period of zazen and an opportunity for questions. These are held at 7:30pm on the third Wednesday of each month at the Zen Center. Please see calendar of events for specific dates. Donations are welcome; there is no fee.

Zen Practice and Tradition

This four-session course provides an opportunity to begin practicing zazen (Zen meditation) and to discover something about Buddha’s life and his teaching. Participants learn and practice zazen and they examine the concepts of egolessness, emptiness, and effort, looking at how to live these in the midst of our lives. Each class will consist of zazen, a talk, and discussion of daily life problems and opportunities in practicing the Buddha way. Many of our members have taken this course as an entry into regular practice.

Four classess – 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday evenings. Please see calendar of events for specific dates

The cost is $50, or $25 for students and fixed-income people. E-mail or call us to register.

Monday Night Dharma

Would you like to spend time studying dharma informally with others? Then you might enjoy our Monday evening discussion group. We meet at 6:30 p.m. every Monday evening and begin with thirty minutes of zazen. Then we adjourn for an hour of discussion of the reading. We usually read only five or ten pages at a time ofthe book we are discussing and examine the material closely, using the discussion both as a chance to learn from each other and to think about our own practice and get encouragement and ideas. Tea (or coffee) and cookies are involved.

If you’re interested, email the Center.


A sesshin is a silent zazen retreat, a chance to sink more deeply into Zen practice. The daily schedule includes zazen, sutra chanting (service), a dharma talk, and work. Meals are eaten silently in the formal style using oryoki bowls. In chanting, zazen, eating, and work we turn our lights inwardly, illuminating and investigating our egoistic habit of thought. The silence and attention to detail of sesshin point us away from self and toward the ground of being. To do sesshin, even for a morning or an evening, is to renew limitless mind. We ask that you call ahead of time to let us know when you plan to attend so that we can reserve a space for you, especially for meal times. Those who wish to stay overnight may sleep at the Zen center. Fee: $25 per day; $15 per 1/2 day. See calendar of events for specific dates. A typical sesshin schedule is available here.

All-Day Sitting

All-day sittings are less formal and less intensive than sesshins, consisting of eight periods of zazen. This is a chance for beginners to experience more intensive practice, and for all sangha members to get acquainted with others who practice. Participants are invited to sit all or part of the day. Meals are informal; all are encouraged to bring some vegetables or a dish to share. Those who wish to stay overnight may sleep at the Zen center. Donations are welcome; there is no fee. See calendar of events for specific dates. A typical all-day sitting schedule is available here.

Sangha Meeting

Sangha means “community.” Sangha meetings are primarily organizational, dealing with the day-to-day business of the Zen center. A typical meeting might include discussion of upcoming newsletters, mailings, short- and long-term planning, the budget, etc. All are welcome to attend.

Annual Board Meeting

The board of the Cedar Rapids Zen Center meets once a year. During the board meeting we will be discussing our group’s overall direction, its financial health, upcoming house maintenance projects and other expenses, and the group’s future direction. Although sangha members are unable to vote during the board meeting itself (only the board members are allowed to vote), membership input is welcome and your ideas are useful to the decision making process. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Buddha Birthday Celebration

Once a year the Cedar Rapids Zen Center holds a celebration for the Buddha’s birthday. This is a time to honor the baby Buddha and all children. It is also a time to express gratitude for the Buddha’s teaching and to honor his dedication to the welfare of all beings.

The schedule for the event is as follows:

8:40-8:50 Arrival for zazen
9:00-9:40 Zazen
9:40-10:00 Arrival time for those attending the celebration but who are not sitting zazen
10:00-10:30 Special ceremony
10:30 – ? Tea and cake

Children are especially welcome to attend!

Work Day

Work day is a chance to do the Buddha’s practice of work and to take care of the center at the same time.  We can develop friendship and community by working together with others who follow the path, making our practice and theirs both stronger.  And we can enjoy ourselves. We do lots of different things, both outside and inside.  There is always something for everyone, no matter what  what your needs are.  You can also develop your own work if you see something  that needs to be done. Just bring your enthusiasm and attention. There is usually veggie pizza from Zoey’s – made from scratch with fresh ingredients.  Come, add your effort and have a good time.  Even an hour or two is a great help.