Focus One Point
Welcome to the Pop-Up Zendo
Pop Up Zendo is a form that manifests in places where maybe you didn't think that a zen temple was going to be and is a container for things you might not have thought a zen temple contains. If the entire world is a sacred place, then the point of a pop up zendo is simply to point out that what we think we are looking for is already here. It's a kind of mirage that shows up in the midst of everyday life, in our homes, in a disused storefront, in conference room 5. It provides a simple foundation where people can sit together, learn meditation, learn the basics of personal practice, and to reimagine the way in which we might live in this world.
The Pop Up Zendo is ethereal. Most of the time it appears to be a collection of duffel bags inside a room in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In reality, it is mostly something that is carried inside the hearts of people trying to bring the very best of themselves to the things right in front of them, practicing something we like to call mindfulness, trying to learn from two worlds, and making their best effort to act in accord with the world around them.
How to Find Us
Discover who, what, and where we are.
Refining Strong Emotions
When: Fridays 6:30-8:00
Why: A six-week workshop to build emotional skillfulness
Passion, our energetic connection to this world and this life, is the source of our most inspired creativity and our noblest actions. From this wellspring flows the energy of our life and in our deepest clearest moments, we can access our finest moments. But as we see in the flow of water, our passion, when constricted, often becomes ...
When: Fridays 12:30-1:30pm
Where: Palo Alto
Why:To build community
The purpose of this group is meditation, appropriate for those who have been sitting for years and those who have never meditated. The form is Zen, meaning that we will take off our shoes and line them up neatly, bow as we enter, join the slow walking line, and when the bell rings, bow to our cushions, and sit (cushion or chair provided). If this appeals to you...
When: Mondays 7:30-9pm
Where: Mountain View
Why: To Explore Creativity in Practice
Practical Zen is a peer-led discussion group that explores ways of integrating Zen practice into everyday life. We also deepen our understanding of Buddhist concepts such as: ego, attachment, duality, emptiness, the formless, by putting them into the context of real, everyday life situations.
One of the sweetest and most sincere people I have ever crossed paths with on this journey returned home from Jikoji a few months ago to discover that he has stage 4 cancer. His response thus far has been to keep a smile to lighten our path and an all out dive into practice hand in hand with our young priest Andy Acker. Feel free to help these dharma brothers on the path to see the Great Matter. I'll be right there with them and I hope that you will be too.
How to Sit Zazen
Zen is about cultivating mindfulness in all of our activity. What's mindfulness? According to science, and the sutras agree, it's what spontaneously arises whenever you do three things;
- Pay Attention
- Focus that attention on the here and now
- Stay Curious
This is all you need to do to become a Zen Master. Thank you for visiting this page.
Still here? Then you've probably noticed that this exquisitely simple practice exists rather precariously in the midst of our human lives. Fortunately, if we practice cultivating these three little skills, we can alter the mind just like exercise alters the body. How habitual thinking changes as neurons form new connections and organic changes occur in the structure of the brain. Somehow, something called mind arises from this world and the way we function begins to feel different.
Science knows just enough about how to create mindfulness to call it intriguing. So, to develop a practice that revitalizes the mind, we are going to have to turn to an ancient way, which, in this form we call zazen - which is a Japanese word meaning seating meditation. In this practice, we use the body to teach the mind what it already knows.
So why not start this path where Zazen as we know it begins, with the first thing Dogen wrote when he returned from China, the essay that forms the classical gateway to zen.
Or you could just watch this video...
Real World Zen
While refuge can always be found in a mountain temple, it can be challenging to determine how these ancient ways fit into the modern world. And it's not just any world they need to fit but these ways need to fit the world we live in, each one of our worlds. The neuroscientists tell us mindfulness, just like excercise, can change the structure of your brain and rewire habitual thinking - they just don't quite know how it works. This 'discovery' makes your average buddhist monk smile because they've been at this for millenia - they just never tried to practice this outside the monastery walls. To figure out what Zen is in this so called 'real world' means that we are going to have to take a brand new science and an ancient art and craft a practice from the both of them. Fortunately, there are resources; proven meditation techniques, deep archives of texts, and the experience of a hundred and 117 generations of practitioners. And in building this new home for a new kind of practice, the best place to build it is on-site.
And so we teach and practice in the midst of where you'll be practicing, amongst the people who you will be practicing with. Leaving the walls of the monastery behind, we bring the spirit and training to where we live, work, and gather.
Since there are teachings, classes can be an excellent way to gain an understanding of the study and practice of mindfulness, be it from a Buddhist perspective, Zen, or MBSR. All of these roads to the same place. Occasional classes are offered covering a variety of topics
It helps to develop new skills. We offer workshops to open up and explore useful topics, learn the practices the Buddha was getting at when he talked about skillfulness, and to offer techniques to guide up back to the present moment and reveal choices that were previously unimagined.
No matter what they're called, sesshins, retreats, zazenkais, neurobiology tells us that the most effective way to build mindfulness is to sit with a group of people and meditate. There is a one day sit on the first of each month at Jikoji and we hold one day retreats in the Silicon Valley.
Zen at Work
Teamwork has always been a core training in zen practice. Since the greatest part of our day is spent at work, and zen considers our everyday activity to be the place where zen is most alive, our work is our greatest opportunity for practice. We welcome the opportunity to sit down with any group of people and help them reimagine what their work, and their team, can be.
Zen at Home
As it turns out in zen, the spiritual journey does not take place in a faraway land, it is the things we do in our everyday world. Being a Zen Temple, the Pop Up Zendo is a good place to connect with teacher and with ceremonies to mark the rites of passage in our lives. This is Zen and we have no deities, so we're just here to help you recognize that the whole was sacred all along.