An Introduction to Zen Meditation and Practice

What is the practice of Zen meditation?

Zazen is the practice of stilling the mind through wholehearted attentiveness to the breath. This steady attentiveness, coupled with the stillness of the body, frees the mind from its ordinary activities of thinking, daydreaming, or speculating on the nature of life. Zen demands discipline and effort. The support of group sitting is a strong encouragement to practice. When practiced attentively, Zen offers an ever-deepening insight into the oneness of life. This insight reveals to us our own human potential and calls us to use this potential in the service of others, and brings us to the present moment, clarifying and supporting our readiness to meet the ever-changing circumstances of daily life.

For basic introductory meditation instructions click here.

An Introduction to Zen Practice and to One Heart Sangha is available at morning and evening sitting periods, and all-day Saturday sittings. To help us prepare for your coming, please email us at


The 20-minute introduction will focus on the heart of Zen practice: zazen, or sitting meditation, and will include instruction on posture, attention to the breath, and ways of dealing with thoughts. Instruction on kinhin (walking meditation) will also be given. Those participating in the introduction will then join the group in sitting for the remainder of the session. After the introduction session, you can meet with a teacher throughout the year to further your practice instruction.

There are many postures for seated meditation, and we offer cushions, benches, and chairs. You can also see this short video on different sitting meditation postures.

We also practice with chants, bowing, bells, and other means to express zen’s “dropping away of body and mind” and realizing our true nature.

Recommended Texts

Appreciate Your Life; and On Zen Practice, by Taizan Maezumi Roshi and Bernie Glassman

Healing Zen; Waking Up Together; and Selfless Love, by Roshi Ellen Birx

Nothing Special; and Everyday Zen, by Charlotte Joko Beck

Zen Mind, Beginners Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki

You Have to Say Something, by Dainin Katagiri

The Art of Just Sitting, edited by John Daido Loori

Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit, by Roshi Robert Kennedy

Bearing Witness, by Bernie Glassman

Taking the Path of Zen, by Robert Aitken


Zen Sitting Groups

Silver Spring Zendo is associated with these groups in the White Plum lineage:


White Plum Asanga - Silver Spring Zendo's Zen lineage in the tradition of Taizan Maezumi Roshi


Zen Peacemakers International - The Silver Spring Zendo is a member of the Zen Peacemakers International (ZP). The ZP is an association of groups founded by or led by seniors empowered by Bernie Glassman or groups who practice Zen and socially engaged Zen.


Sky Above Great Wind Zendo - Susan Kodo Efird, Tuesday sitting near Dupont metro at 6:45 p.m.

Zen Community of Baltimore/Clare Sangha - Affiliated Zen organization in the Greater Baltimore area.


Morning Star Zendo - Roshi Robert Kennedy's Zendo in Jersey City, NJ

Flowing River Zendo - Sensei Barbara Craig, near Scranton, PA

New River Zen Community- Roshis Charles and Ellen Birx, VA