Winchester Zen Community was set up in 2018 to provide a space and a supportive context for meditators to come and practice together. Me meet once a month and our community is open to people from all Contemplative traditions (or none) but particularly those interested or practicing in the Zen tradition as well as comparative non-duality traditions. In this light it may be noted that many people from different religious traditions practice or have an interest in Zen meditation. Therefore it enables the Community to have a non-sectarian approach which may also include those drawn to ‘secular’ mindfulness practice or from other spiritual traditions. Our focus on Zen enables the group, as it evolves, to give full attention to meditation as well as to study themes drawn from the rich traditions of Chan, Zen and Son and their related culture, including art, poetry and literature.
We have links to all the main Zen groups in the region (as well as some Buddhist and Christian meditation groups) and our overall aim is to provide a local context for meditation and study and to promote the activities of Zen and non-duality in the UK overall (of whatever denomination).
Why, and what, is Zen?
Zen is a special transmission outside the scriptures,
With no reliance on words and letters.
A direct pointing to the human mind,
And the realization of enlightenment
And that’s it really! Nothing more to say. No reliance on words or letters, a direct pointing to the mind. Consequently Zen has placed much emphasis on meditation and the word itself comes from the Chinese C’han, which itself comes from the Indian Sanskrit word for meditation, Dhyana. That being said, however, there is a still large body of literature, poems, koans, rules and sutras (religious books) from both the Chan and Zen traditions. But we can perhaps see these as proverbial fingers pointing to the moon. Or to paraphrase the Buddha, rafts to carry across the stream to the other side, which once on dry land we can discard. Ultimately…
To study the Way, study the self
To study the self, forget the self.
To forget the self, be awakened by the myriad things.
To be awakened by the myriad things, drop away
body and mind of self and other.
Let all traces of awakening drop away.
Then life with traceless awakening continues forever.
From the Genjokoan, 1233 by Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253)