Bisbee Lotus Sangha

Zen Meditation

Zen in an old mining town in southeastern Arizona

Bisbee Lotus Sangha is a Zen sitting meditation group that combines the teachings of both the Soto and Rinzai lineages of Zen Buddhism. Zen traces its history back through Japan to China where the Indian master Bodhidharma brought Zen in about the year 500. We practice a modern form of Zen that tries to incorporate Zen practice into ordinary life. Our Bisbee sitting group was founded in 2003 by Joel and Suzanne Carp.  We are loosely affiliated with the Diamond Sangha but we function without a teacher and depend on Zazen practice to do its work. Zazen is sitting meditation and it is our primary practice. Everyone is welcome to join us in Zazen.

Zen practice events:

Sunday Service: 9:00 am ;  two 25 minute sits + chanting + walking meditation

Monday Sit: 7:30 pm;  two 25 minute sits

Zen Discussion Group: 6:30 pm, 3rd & 4th Thursdays

We provide sitting cushions for your use. All events are free to the public. No prior meditation experience needed.

Zazen, or Sitting Meditation, is the primary practice in Zen.


"Principles of Zazen"   (Shobogenzo zazengi)

by Zen Master, Eihei Dogen, year 1243

Studying Zen (sanzen) is zazen. For zazen, one should have a quiet place.  Spread a thick sitting mat.  Do not let in drafts or vapors, do not admit rain or dew. You should secure and maintain the spot where you place yourself. There are traces from the past of those who sat on a vajra (seat) or sat on a rock; they all spread a thick layer of grass to sit on.  The place where you sit should be bright; it should not be dark either day or night. The technique is to keep it warm in winter and cool in summer.

Cast aside all involvements and discontinue the myriad affairs.  Good is not thought of, evil is not thought of.  It is not mind, intellect or consciousness; it is not thoughts, ideas or perceptions.

Do not figure to make a buddha, slough off sitting or reclining. You should be moderate in food and drink. Hold dear the passing days and nights, and take to zazen as though brushing a fire from your head. The Fifth Ancestor on Mt. Huangmei worked only at zazen, without any other occupation.

During zazen, you should wear the kesa (robe or rakusu). Put down a cushion. The cushion is not placed completely under the crossed legs but only under the rear half, so that the mat is beneath the legs and the cushion beneath the spine. This is the way that all the buddhas and ancestors have sat during zazen.

Sit in either the semi-cross-legged or fully cross-legged position. For the fully cross-legged position, place your right foot on your left thigh and your left foot on your right thigh. The toes should be even with the thighs, not out of alignment. For the semi-cross-legged position, simply place your left foot on your right thigh. Loosen your robe and underwaist, and arrange them properly. Place your right hand on your left foot and your left hand on your right hand. Put the tips of your thumbs together. With your hands in this position, place them against your body, so that the joined thumb tips are aligned with your navel.

Straighten your body and sit erect. Do not lean to the left or right; do not bend forward or back. The ears should always be aligned with the shoulders, and the nose aligned with the navel. The tongue should be placed against the front of the palate. The breath should pass through the nose. The lips and teeth should be closed. The eyes should be open, neither too widely nor too narrowly.

Having thus regulated body and mind, take a breath and exhale fully.  Sitting fixedly, think of not thinking. How do you think of not thinking? Nonthinking.

This is the art of zazen. Zazen is not the practice of dhyana. It is the dharma gate of great ease and joy. It is undefiled practice and verification.

Translated by Carl Bielefeldt


Contact us:

Our Zendo is located in the Warren section of Bisbee at 319 Arizona Street in the "Room to Move" studio. The studio is just south of the intersection with Congdon Avenue.

The Google map on the right should show this location and it can be zoomed out for a larger perspective.
Email us at: info@bisbeelotussangha.org