Ordinary Mind Zen

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At Ordinary Mind Zen Sacramento we cultivate a path that is down-to-earth, centered in the heart of our daily life. We develop our enlightened nature by learning how to bring mindful clarity, intelligence, and love to our homes, our workplaces, our intimate relationships and our community.

We are committed to developing a non-hierarchical sangha. All sangha members are commoners - we hold the Dharma in common with each other. As lay people our practice is to return, again and again, to our original true home without clinging
to anything or pushing anything away.

We value our ancestors, recognize the importance of teachers, and celebrate the open minds of beginners. Any member willing to undergo the necessary training is eligible to fulfill all practice positions. We offer the Buddhist precepts to anyone who is willing to commit to a year-long study and practice program.
Our style of meditation is based in shikantaza, "just sitting." We do not try to stop thoughts or feelings or perceptions; we do not try to control them but we also do not let them control us. We just make room for everything. We bring our whole body and mind to each moment not to learn concentration, but to open the gateways of ease and joy.

When we let go of self-centered views and stop worrying about our rights and your wrongs, our set views of good and bad, everything and everyone becomes a teacher re-minding us of our true self. We practice responding to all with a clear heart and a gentle smile.

A note about our forms of practice

The Awakened Way is universal but the medium and methods vary. We need a form to provide a container for practice. Here at Ordinary Mind, we are attempting to integrate several lineages of Zen Buddhism - especially those of Shunryu Suzuki and Charlotte Joko Beck - with the teachings of Taoism and Mindfulness.

We are open to teachings from other wisdom traditions and welcome beginners and experienced practitioners and people of all backgrounds. Everyone is welcome.

Practice Principles

Practice with heart
practice with beyond heart
practice even with half a heart.

You attain the marrow
and are invariably transmitted dharma
through your utmost sincerity
and trusting heart.
        - Eihei Dogen

Caught in a self-centered dream
- only suffering
Holding to self-centered thoughts
- exactly the dream
Each moment, life as it is
- the only teacher.
Being just this moment
- compassion's way.
        - Joko Beck

OMZ Guidelines