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.

In Ordinary Mind Zen, we don't need to be a home-leaver (monk) to practice. 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 are committed to developing a non-hierarchical sangha. We recognize the importance of teachers, but 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.
When we meditate in the shikantaza practice of Soto Zen, 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. Bringing our whole body and mind to each moment is not a matter of learning concentration: it is the gateway to great ease and joy.

When you let go of self-centered views and stop worrying about your rights and your wrongs, your set views of good and bad, everything and everyone becomes a teacher re-minding you of your true self. Then you can respond 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

Caught in a self-centered dream
- only suffering
Clinging, rejecting
- exactly the dream
Just this as It is
- everyone's teacher.
Each meeting point
- compassion's way.
        - Robert Rosenbaum

OMZ Guidelines