Zen Meditation in the heart of Santa Cruz
Everyday Dharma Zen Center is a Buddhist community dedicated to cultivating compassion and wisdom. Our effort is directed toward reducing suffering, both our own and that of others. We train ourselves in the meditation practices of mindfulness, of stillness, and of loving-kindness, making an effort to bring these qualities into our everyday lives.
Our experience is that we suffer less if we can learn to notice our thoughts, reactions, and emotions as quickly as possible. Such mindful awareness expands our freedom, allowing us to make more skillful choices that create less suffering for ourselves and others. By cultivating stillness, we can begin to erode our negative habits, and respond more openly in our everyday lives. And developing a sense of universal friendliness helps us to recognize and act upon our many connections within our world.
Our practice together is also an act of co-creation. The experience of support within our sangha—the community of practitioners—is especially important in helping us live our lives.
Everyday Dharma started in 2002. We have a number of programs and events, but the core of our householder practice is our weekly Sunday morning meditation and dharma talk. Sitting meditation begins at 9:30 AM and lasts for about 40 minutes; this is frequently a Guided Meditation. Carolyn Atkinson, our Head Teacher, gives a Dharma Talk on the first Sunday of each month. This is followed by a discussion of the dharma talk.
On the second and third Sundays of the month, sitting meditation is followed by discussions, Way Seeking Mind talks, or other presentations. After the meditation on the fourth Wednesday of the month, there is generally a private meeting for the Dedicated Practitioners. Please note that this schedule may vary.
Weekly meetings provide our sangha with opportunities for regular meditation practice, as well as talks and discussions which apply Buddhist principles to our everyday lives.
Our Head Teacher, Carolyn Atkinson (Eiko Joshin) is a Dharma Heir and Lineage Holder of the late Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi, in the Soto Zen tradition. She has also trained in the Vipassana tradition. Her first book, Quiet Mind Open Heart, provides instruction in using mindfulness and Stillness Abiding meditation to increase our compassion and equanimity. Carolyn's latest book, A Light in the Mind, explores the practice of embracing self-acceptance.