Depending on what day you visit, you can expect to be warmly welcomed, and then instructed on how we sit and practice. A very relaxed and informal way to start is to attend the beginners orientation class which is the 1st Monday of the month (6:30PM) at the zen center.
By attending the class you will learn about what zen teaching is and the meditation techniques that we use here, as well as a general introduction to the zen center. Of course, if you cannot come to the beginner’s practice, any other day will do. Please feel free to join us for the Sunday or Thursday practice, as you are always welcome.
We humbly ask that new attendees submit a nominal donation of only $10 upon arrival. All contributions go directly to servicing the needs of the greater Las Vegas community. For more information, visit the Donations page.
To more fully realize what Zen is, who we are, and how to help other people, we practice. Practice is the heart of Zen, and in the Kwan Um School, the ways we practice include sitting meditation, walking meditation, chanting, and bowing. These form a path to attaining a clear, compassionate mind that moment-to-moment is able to help all beings.
The practice of Zen is both very simple and very rich. We usually do sitting meditation for only 20 minutes at a time, so it is not difficult. We sit cross-legged on a cushion. If you have problems sitting that way, we also have chairs available.
You should be comfortable. It is said that Zen requires great faith, great doubt, and great courage. Zen Master Seung Sahn often said, “Just do it.” This applies to practice as well as life. Whether doing the dishes, brushing your teeth, or working on your Doctoral dissertation; by giving everything in this world your meticulous attention you will discover your true self, and discover what you can do for this world.
Of course! Zen practice is for everyone, young and old. We are a friendly group of people of diverse ages and backgrounds who come together to practice Zen as taught by Zen Master Seung Sahn, the 78th Patriarch in the Korean Chogye order, and the first Korean Zen Master to live and teach in the West.
We support each other in the practice of Zen and work to make Zen teaching and group practice available to all who are interested. Some of us are long-time practitioners, while others are fairly new to Zen practice. Everyone is welcome!
- Meditation instruction
- Introduction to Zen Practice (1st Monday of the month)
- One-day and three-day Zen meditation retreats
- Public talks by visiting Zen teachers
- Interviews with our Guiding Teacher
Loose, comfortable clothing is best – sweat pants, T-shirt, clean socks. Please, no bare feet in the Dharma Room.
For the first time attendee, please email us and let us know you are coming to the beginners orientation which once again is the 1st Monday of every month. Once you have attended the beginners orientation, then just show up for any practice time. QUESTIONS? Send us an e-mail addressed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Then please feel free to arrive at any other scheduled sitting time. Drop us an email and let us know, and then just show up.
Address: 7925 S Virtue Ct, Las Vegas, NV 89113 (on the property of the Chaiya Meditation Monastery.)
Private consultations with the abbot are available by appointment. Please call (702) 293-4222 as the Abbott monitors this phone directly. All inquiries are kept strictly confidential.
The Zen center does have a systematic way of doing things, and they are pretty simple once you see it a few times. Beginner’s Night (always the first Monday of the month at 6:00pm) is made for covering the basics of why we practice, how to sit, what to notice, why we chant, and then a brief 5 minute sitting period followed by a brief Dharma talk by the teacher.
If you are unable to attend a Beginner’s Night, you may attend any regular practice time, just send us an email and let us know ahead of time. If you do attend a regular practice time, just follow along as best as you can. The guide is below.
Correct Zen meditation helps to remove our ignorance, attachment and “I, my, me” mindset and to practice a correct life path. Additionally, we should strive to help all sentient beings to be free from suffering and gain happiness.
Zen represents a simple and pure approach to life. In the 21st century, our lives are becoming more and more complicated both mentally and physically. Zen practice helps our minds to return to peace, tranquility, and freedom.
The founding teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen, the great Zen Master Seung Sahn Soen Sa was once asked by a student: Why do you chant? Isn’t sitting enough?”
“Everybody has different karma. So all people have different situations, different conditions, and different opinions. One person is a monk, another is a student, another works in a factory; one person always keeps a clear mind, another is often troubled or dissatisfied; one person likes the women’s movement, another doesn’t.
But everybody thinks, ‘My opinion is correct!’ Even Zen Masters are like this. Ten Zen Masters will have ten different ways of teaching, and each Zen Master will think that his way is the best. Americans have an American opinion; Orientals have an Oriental opinion. Different opinions result in different actions, which make different karma.
So when you hold on to your own opinions, it is very difficult to control your karma, and your life will remain difficult. Your wrong opinions continue, so your bad karma continues. But at our Zen Centers, we live together and practice together, and all of us abide by the Temple Rules. People come to us with many strong likes and dislikes, and gradually cut them all off.
Everybody bows together 108 times at five-thirty in the morning, everybody sits together, everybody eats together, everybody works together. Sometimes you don’t feel like bowing; but this is a temple rule so you bow. Sometimes you don’t want to chant, to sleep; but you chant. Sometimes you are tired and want to but you know that if you don’t come to sitting, people will wonder why; so you sit.
So we live together and act together. Acting together means cutting off my opinions, cutting off my condition, cutting off my situation. Then we become empty mind. We return to white paper. Then our true opinion, our true condition, our true situation will appear.
When we bow together and chant together and eat together, our minds become one mind. It is like on the sea. When the wind comes, there are many waves. When the wind dies down, the waves become smaller. When the wind stops, the water becomes a mirror, in which everything is reflected-mountains, trees, clouds. Our mind is the same.
When we have many desires and many opinions, there are many big waves. But after we sit Zen and act together for some time, our opinions and desires disappear. The waves become smaller and smaller. Then our mind is like a clear mirror, and everything we see or hear or smell or taste or touch or think is the truth. Then it is very easy to understand other people’s minds. Their minds are reflected in my mind.
So chanting is very important. At first you won’t understand. But after you chant regularly, you will understand.”
Most of our students are ordinary people just like you. Sitting meditation is a wonderful practice for everyone, it is also called “mind sitting”.
Everyone is full of opinions, judgements, and ideas. These thoughts mean that our minds are always moving, shifting here and there, projecting meanings, creating desire, and generally leaving us unhappy and dissatisfied. Mind-sitting means keeping a not-moving mind. How do you keep not-moving mind? In each moment, every moment, don’t cling to your opinion, condition and situation. When you are doing something, just do it 100%. This is everyday Zen.
We focus on the teaching of great love, great compassion, and the Great Bodhisattva Way. To attain that, to attain a non-moving mind, we utilize Zen Practice, which allows us to see clearly what is right in front of us. It allows us to find our true life direction, so our correct situation, our correct function, and our correct relationship appear.