Loyola University Maryland

The Heart of Zen Meditation Group

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Heart of Zen

Heart of Zen GroupThe profound benefits of meditation are well known, from stress reduction and peace of mind to an increase in concentration, mental agility, creativity, and kindness. 

Our group is dedicated to the core of Zen, namely its practice of meditation.  While this practice is traditionally understood as a means of awakening and cultivating the twin Buddhist virtues of wisdom and compassion, participants are more than welcome to interpret the practice and these virtues in terms of their own faith or worldview.

During the Spring Semester the group generally meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm in Fava Chapel, located in Hammerman House near the library.  During the Summer and Fall terms the group usually meets each week on one of these days.
 
We meditate in silence, generally with two 25 minute sitting periods and a short walking meditation in between.  At the end of each meeting we take a few minutes for questions and discussion. Meditation cushions and benches are provided.  Instruction in various sitting postures and in the Zen method of meditation is offered.

Heart of Zen MeditationThe Group is led by Dr. Bret W. Davis, Associate Professor of Philosophy, who studied and practiced Zen in Japan for 13 years, mostly at Shokokuji, one of the main Rinzai Zen monasteries in Kyoto.  The Group hosts annual visits by Zen master Kobayashi Gentoku Roshi, the abbot of Shokokuji, who has conferred upon Dr. Davis the title of Docho-Sensei, or teacher and head of a Zen center.

The Group is co-sponsored by Campus Ministry and the Philosophy Department of Loyola University Maryland.  Its establishment in 2005 was inspired by the late Father Greg Hartley and the Zen meditation group he led for many years at Loyola.

Professors at Loyola are welcome to consider using The Heart of Zen Meditation Group as a vehicle for class-related experiential education.  Dr. Drew Leder and Dr. Davis offer the Meditation Group as an option within their spring semester Asian philosophy courses (PL 216).

General orientation sessions are given at the beginning of each semester. Newcomers are also welcome to join the group at any time, provided they make an appointment to receive a brief orientation prior to their first day of sitting.

If you are interested in participating in The Heart of Zen Meditation Group, please contact Dr. Davis at bwdavis@loyola.edu.