There is a reality even prior to heaven and earth;
Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
Eyes fail to see it;
it has no voice or ears to detect;
To call it mind or Buddha violates its nature,
For it then becomes like a visionary flower in the air;
It is not Mind, nor Buddha;
absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way.
Dai O Kokushi

Sacramento Zendo is a forming Zen practice community with a focus on awakening to and manifesting this Buddha Heart/Mind that is the root of our lives. We meet each Monday evening, to sit zazen together, to study together, and to share in this practice together.

Zazen or sitting zen meditation is at the heart of what we offer and ongoing instruction in sussokan or breath zazen and koan practice is available. We all begin with sussokan practice giving ourselves completely to the breath, senses wide open, breathing from this deep ground, quieting the chattering mind and learning to rest in just one breath. In time this sustained yet relaxed awareness naturally extends into our daily activities and we discover what it is to rest in each moment of this vast life as it effortlessy arises.

Once a student has developed some stability of mind and concentration through sussokan, they are encouraged to take up a practice that cultivates deep insight into their awakened Buddha-nature, such as formal koan practice, or working with their own naturally arising life question.

When I, a student of the Way
look at the real form of the universe,
all is the never-failing manifestation
of the mysterious truth of the Tathagata…
Torei Zenji

Along with our practice of zazen, we see the conscious practice of the precepts as an important part of our training. So we are encouraged to take them up as a daily life practice, as guidelines, as ways of reflecting upon how we relate to each and everything in the world. When we engage with these precepts on an ongoing basis we begin to see that they are kaleidoscopic in depth and the more time we spend with them the more they open our hearts and reveal this Buddha-nature that we are.

The Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts

I take refuge in Buddha
I take refuge in Dharma
I take refuge in Sangha

Not creating Evil
Practicing Good
Actualizing Good for Others

Affirm life; Do not kill
Be giving; Do not steal
Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality
Manifest truth; Do not lie
Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind
See the perfection; Do not speak of others errors and faults
Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame others
Give generously; Do not be withholding
Actualize harmony; Do not be angry
Experience the intimacy of things; Do not separate the Three Treasures

The teacher at Sacramento Zendo is Desmond Gando Gilna. Desmond is a Zen priest and began his Zen practice over 30 years ago. He spent 14 years in residential Zen monastic training in Japan and the US, studying with Harada Tangen Roshi at Bukkoku-ji and John Daido Loori Roshi at Zen Mountain Monastery. He completed his formal koan training with James Myoun Ford Roshi and in 2013 was authorized to work with students through the complete Harada-Yasutani koan curriculum. In 2017 he received Denkai transmission from Ford Roshi.

If it is your very first time coming to a Zen group and you are unfamiliar with Zen meditation/zazen please contact us so we can arrange for you to have an introduction to zazen. All who are interested in learning more about Zen Buddhist practice are welcome.