Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Rohatsu Zen Retreat - December 7-8, 2018

Registration is Now Open

Register on the Event Registration page:

Event Registration


Rohatsu, or Bodhi Day, is celebrated every year around the world on December 8 to commemorate the day that Siddhartha Gautama experienced enlightenment.

In Zen, we celebrate during sesshin, a retreat offering intensive practice of zazen (sitting concentration), kinhin (walking concentration), and samu (work practice).

Sesshin literally means "touch the mind." This retreat is an excellent opportunity to experience true Zen practice, whether you are a long-time practitioner or just beginning.

We will  meet in the Center for Spiritual Living, housed in a beautiful and historic old brownstone in downtown Bakersfield.

Included with Your Registration

  • Zen introduction for beginners
  • Intensive Zen meditation
  • Mondo question and answer
  • Qi gong led by an experienced practitioner
  • Friday introduction dinner
  • Saturday breakfast and lunch
Those without prior experience are welcome! Note, however, that some beginners may find the rigors of Zen practice intense. For this reason, if you are new to practice, we ask that you email the director from the Contact page to inquire further. Also consider attending one of our regularly scheduled morning sessions to experience zazen before the sesshin.

Date, Time, Location

Center for Spiritual Living
Bakersfield, California (map provided to registrants)
Friday, December 7: 6 pm - 9 pm
Saturday, December 9: 6 am - 5 pm

Registration Options

Now - Nov. 30 Online Earlybird: Standard $50; Member: $45 Student: $40. Contact us with your registration request, and we will email you the easy PayPal invoice.

Dec. 1 - 6 General: Standard $55; Member $50; Student $45. Contact us with your registration request, and we will email you the easy PayPal invoice.

Dec. 7 or 8 Day-Of: There may still be space! Contact us beforehand to confirm. Cash, check, or card: Standard $60; Member $55; Student $50. One-day Saturday attendees are welcome (same cost)
    We look forward to practicing with you!

    Friday, October 5, 2018

    Abandoning the Ego

    “Abandoning the ego is not sacrifice. Abandoning the ego means: receive everything. It is gain for the self and total gift for others. The two things remain inseparable.” - Master Taisen Deshimaru

    The Way of True Zen. American Zen Association, 2002. (Available from the Dust Bowl Dojo Shop. Message to inquire about purchase.)
    Close-up of Mokugyo by @zentokujoshin.

    Contact us if you would like to benefit from meditation class instruction in Bakersfield.

    Wednesday, October 3, 2018


    “We concentrate on only posture and breathing. We don’t have to figure out or think about Zen. Quiet the mind, and then things will come if we don’t run or grasp. Just sit quietly.” - Robert Livingston Roshi

    Kusen: Oral Teaching, volume 2. American Zen Association, 1997.
    Zafu and Rakusu by @zentokujoshin.

    All are welcome for meditation class at the Dust Bowl Dojo. See our "Contact" page for details, and let us know if you plan on attending.

    Tuesday, October 2, 2018

    Interfaith Gathering

    Thank you to Bakersfield Interfaith for organizing Saturday’s 21st Annual Bakersfield Interfaith Conference at CSUB, a tribute to Mahatma Ghandi celebrating his 150th birthday. The morning’s topic was, “Who is God? Is your God the same as my God?” What’s a Zen practitioner say to that?! I came up with something.
    Discussing and sharing leads to more understanding. (L-R Dr. Shana Huq, Gary Enns of Zen Fellowship, Dr. Anil Mehta, Msgr. Perry Kavookjian, Dr. Bharati Shah.)

    Join Zen Fellowship any Saturday for zazen (Zen meditation) instruction and practice in Bakersfield, California.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2018

    Kusen by Robert Livingston

    Some editing time. Kusen by Robert Livingston Roshi.

    Bakersfield residents, join us for Zen meditation any Saturday morning. See our Contact page for times, directions, and other matters. To meditate in the Zen tradition is not difficult, but neither is it easy. It takes effort. One must experience it. The Zen Fellowship has created a space for Bakersfield locals to experience and practice Zen meditation.

    Sunday, September 23, 2018

    Your Own Mind Is the Buddha

    “As long as you look for a buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the buddha.” - Bodhidharma
    “Bloodstream Sermon.” The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma. Translated by Red Pine. North Point Press, 1987.
    Photo and layout by @zentokujoshin.

    All Bakersfield and Kern County residents are welcome to come learn to meditate in the Zen tradition. (Bakersfield Meditation, Meditate Bakersfield, Meditation Bakersfield, Zen Bakersfield)

    Friday, September 21, 2018

    Great Doubt

    “At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. When you doubt fully, you awaken fully.” - Hakuin

    Bakersfield Meditation
    Meditate Bakersfield
    Meditation Bakersfield 
    Zen Bakersfield

    Monday, September 17, 2018

    Zen Practice Family Day - 6 October 2018

    We could all use some Zen in our lives—kids included! Bring family and friends to the Dust Bowl Dojo to learn Zen practice together. The morning includes
    • Introduction to the dojo and zazen meditation
    • Kids (5+ years) breakout session with lessons and crafts
    • Child care (4- years) available with advance notice
    • Adult session for additional meditation practice
    • Heart Sutra ceremony with kids and adults together
    • Refreshments – tea, cookies
    Cost: free to public, donations accepted. All proceeds support the Zen Fellowship in its mission to promote Zen practice in the community.
    Please let us know in advance if your child is in the 4-or-under age group to allow us time to schedule our child care provider.
    Message with any questions. We look forward to practicing with you.

    Meditation in Bakersfield
    Bakersfield Meditation
    Meditate Bakersfield
    Zen Bakersfield

    Wednesday, July 25, 2018

    Welcome Back to Practice - August 4

    Welcome back to practice, August 4, 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the Dust Bowl Dojo.
    Did you ever leave? It’s okay if you did, as we are all new beginners, and beginners are always welcome.
    If you are new to practice and would like to attend, we recommend contacting us first and then planning on arriving twenty minutes early for a brief introduction to dojo practice.
    Service consists of 25 min. zazen meditation, 5 min. kinhin walking meditation, 25 min. zazen, and chanting of the Heart Sutra. There is no cost, but donations are appreciated.
    For your comfort during meditation, We we advise loose, comfortable clothing such as sweats or yoga pants. Black, dark gray, or brown color choices help to maintain the harmony of the dojo experience.
    To reach the Forum at St. Paul’s, park in front of the church, walk through the courtyard, and enter the double doors to the right. Walk straight and take the first hallway to the right. The Forum will be to your left.
    Message us with any questions, and RSVP on our Facebook event. We look forward to practicing with you.

    Meditation in Bakersfield. Bakersfield meditation. Meditate Bakersfield 

    Tuesday, July 24, 2018

    This Is All We Have

    The absence of much else other than sitting, facing the wall, and breathing can be a little surprising to some who try zazen for the first time. No dogma, no need to believe or disbelieve in anything specific. Just a simple leap into presence.

    For me—and maybe for others who have grown up in a future-oriented religious tradition and have now integrated Zen practice into our lives—this simplicity takes time to sink in. I try to just let it sink in naturally as it will, coming back to zazen, to being present outside the dojo with family, with work, with leisure. No expectations, no looking to some better place practice is supposed to lead to.

    “This is all we have, here and now. This is the way of Zen. This is the way of the Cosmos. This is the way of all existences” (Robert Livingston Roshi).

    I appreciate that Zen cuts away everything that is not essential. Simple practice, here and now. Simplicity of life.


    Livingston, Robert. Kusen: Oral Teaching No. 2. American Zen Association and New Orleans Zen Temple, 1997.

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    Meditation in Bakersfield. Bakersfield meditation. Meditate Bakersfield