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 

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