Bozeman Zen Group (2006)
Soto Zen (Buddhism)
In February 1999 the Bozeman Vipassana Sangha hosted a weekend retreat with Reb Anderson, senior dharma teacher at the San Francisco Zen Center. At the time there was no Zen group in Bozeman. Anderson came to Bozeman at Wendy Roberts' invitation after she spent two months at Green Gulch Zen Center in 1998 attending a practice period with him.
In October 1999 Roberts had a potluck at her house and invited the 10 or so people in Bozeman who might be interested in Zen practice. She asked if there was any interest in starting a Zen sitting group. They said "yes" and began sitting together on Monday evenings in the basement of Roberts' home. Initially there were times when only two or three people would attend. An evening program of sitting, chanting, and dharma discussion eventually evolved out of the basement-meetings.
Since then things have gradually expanded. Reb Anderson returned to Bozeman in September 2003 for the fifth year. The Bozeman Zen Group has hosted weekend retreats with Layla Smith of the San Francisco Zen Center and a day sit with Gus Adams, a Zen priest from Missoula. They have hosted 'all Buddhist' picnics in Bozeman, a yoga workshop for sitters, a New Year's Eve sit in a Mongolian yurt, and a trip to Missoula to sit with Genki Roshi. The Bozeman Zen Group has also given a talk on Buddhism to seventh graders at Sacajewea Middle School. In April 2003 the website
The sangha has slowly grown. The mailing list for retreats contains almost 400 people and the email list of locals is about 25 people. As many as 10 people sit on weekdays and the retreats attract 15 to 40 people.
Activities and Schedule
Monday evening sitting
The group gathers at 6:45 p.m. and practices zazen from 7:00 until 7:40 p.m., which is followed by tea and discussion. The session closes at 8:30 p.m.
Thursday morning sitting
The group meets at 6:00 a.m. for refuge, followed by 40 minute zazen, and concluded with vows.
Monthly Instruction on Meditation
Through the generosity of a member of the Vipassana Insight Meditation Community, the Bozeman Zen Group is sharing a home zendo.
Call Jenny McCune at (406) 586-7044 or Joan Montagne at (406) 587-2406 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for the address.
Outreach and Intersangha Work
Many members of the Zen Group are activists in environmental, humanitarian, and peace efforts. As a sangha they have taken on a few projects including a food drive for the Gallatin County Food Bank and a book drive for Full Circle Sangha, a sangha of incarcerated men.
The Bozeman Zen Group helps lead the Full Circle Sangha at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge. The Zen Group also works with Open Circle Sangha of Helena and the Open Gate Community of Missoula (a non profit corporation dedicated to prison outreach that grew out of the Open Way Sangha of Missoula.) Full Circle meets regularly on Sunday evenings for seated meditation and dharma discussion. They occasionally are allowed to have weekend retreats.
The Bozeman Zen Group sometimes partners with the Open Circle Sangha in Helena to host retreats. The Zen Group currently shares sitting space with the Vipassana Insight Meditation Community of Bozeman. They are currently involved in negotiations and have long term plans to aquire a public building of their own, or to share with other like-minded groups.