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.

Find us on Instagram and Facebook for more content.

Meditation in Bakersfield. Bakersfield meditation. Meditate Bakersfield 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

No Special Situation Required

Don’t let what might seem a less-than-optimal situation keep you from doing zazen. No special situation is required, nor does it even exist: there will always be a crow cawing in the distance, a clock ticking on the wall, a refrigerator humming, a dog barking, or a kid playing with LEGO in the corner. These are only distractions if we allow our minds to be occupied with them. When we let them come and go like the clouds in the sky, what were once distractions become part of the topography of zazen. (Photo: Buddha in the Gaitan, New Orleans Zen Temple, by @gsenns)

Closed Through July

It’s true—the Dust Bowl Dojo is closed through July.

Through this simmering summer month, we encourage you to continue your zazen practice wherever you find yourself.

The ZFB will continue to post content to Instagram, Facebook, and Insight Timer group (Zen Fellowship of Bakersfield), so check in, like things, and feel free to reach out for continued support.

We will begin again August 4.

A thousand gasshos!

Mushotoku Heart-Mind

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Sesshin - A Zen Retreat - 16-17 February 2018


In Zen, the sesshin is 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
  • Saturday breakfast and lunch
Those without prior experience are welcome! However, 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, February 16: 6-9 p.m.
Saturday, February 17: 6-5 p.m.

One-day Saturday attendees are welcome (same cost)


Payable by cash, check, or card the day of the event.
  • Standard Registration: $60
  • Fellowship Member in Good Standing: $55
  • High School/College Student: $35


To register and reserve your spot, send an email to the ZFB Director. Use "Sesshin Registration" as your subject line. In your message, include the following information:
  1. Name
  2. Telephone
  3. City/State
  4. How you heard about the retreat
  5. Brief description of meditation experience
We look forward to practicing with you!