What is Zen?

There are several ways of answering this question. From the point of view of training and practice, we can say that Zen is a spiritual discipline to realize one’s true self. Zen accomplishes this through silencing the body and the mind using a basic tool: zazen – sitting contemplation centered on the breath. The more one perseveres in Zen, the more one discovers that contemplation can be practiced in all circumstances – whether it is washing dishes, changing a diaper or coping with rush hour traffic. 

Practicing Zen


One of the pillars of Zen practice is zazenkai or group meditation. Although everyone can practice Zen meditation individually, it is easier to practice zazen meditation with a community of sitters known as sangha. At Zen Center Philippines, we hold hybrid Zazenkai twice a month. 


Another pillar of Zen practice is the sesshin or Zen retreat. The main activities in sesshin are zazen (sitting meditation), teisho (public teaching) and dokusan (private interview with the Teacher). These activities are supported by vegetarian meals, physical exercise, and short periods of light physical work. Zen Center Philippines holds sesshin around four times each year. The length of sesshin varies from two and a half to five days. 

Benefits of Meditation

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years and it has been shown to offer many benefits such as reducing stress and restoring your calm and inner peace. A regular meditation practice also brings focused attention and heightened awareness that turns everyday life around in positive ways.

Learn more about the Fundamentals of Zazen