This profile was last updated in 2006
The Madison Zen Center was organized in 1974, in affiliation with the Rochester Zen Center in New York. After attending a teaching given by Roshi Kapleau in early 1970s Madison, a group of Zen practitioners purchased the old house on Jefferson Street, where the Madison Zen Center still resides. The group receives annual visits from Roshi Bodin, one of Kapleau’s students, and has maintained its connection to the Rochester Zen Center and the teachings of Roshi Philip Kapleau.
Activities and Schedule
The group focuses its activity around sitting meditation and “teisho,” or dharma lessons, usually recordings of Roshi Bodin’s instruction. Members meet on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings to meditate, chant, and/or listen to teachings. Additionally, “sesshins” are held six or seven times annually. The Madison Zen Center sesshins are meditation retreats that last from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. On these occasions, practitioners follow a regimented schedule of sitting meditation interrupted by meals and meetings with a teacher.
Members of the Madison Zen Center currently pay monthly dues of thirty-three dollars. While membership generally falls within a range of twenty to twenty-five people, the core group of about ten members has remained intact through the arrival and departure of less permanent members. Interested parties are encouraged to visit the center on the first Monday of the month to receive an introduction to Zen practice.
Sunday sittings and teisho are at 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. (seasonal). Monday and Wednesday sittings are at 7:30-9:00 p.m. and Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday sittings from 6:00-7:00 a.m. Sesshins are held six to seven times annually.