About Still Mind Zendo

Photos by SMZ senior student Bruce Sengan Kennedy

Still Mind Zendo, a Zen meditation center in New York City formed in 1994, is in the lineage of Zen Master Taizan Maezumi Roshi and the White Plum Asanga. We are fortunate to have three teachers in our sangha. Our founder and guiding teacher, Roshi Janet Jiryu Abels, is a dharma successor to Roshi Robert Jinsen Kennedy, while Sensei Marisa Cespedes and Sensei Jean Gallagher are dharma successors to Roshi Janet. Roshi Gregory Hosho Abels, another successor to Roshi Kennedy, recently retired from Still Mind.

Still Mind Zendo emphasizes the practice of zazen (sitting meditation) above all else, recognizing it as a way for people to deepen their insight and realization of their essential self, which is nothing other than the realization of their lives. And because essential self, or essential nature, is not bound by the limitations of any religion or gender or path in life -- not bound, in fact, by anything -- we welcome people from all walks of life and from all religious or non-religious backgrounds to sit with us, practicing the development of a still mind as the necessary path to awakening.

Our singular commitment to zazen practice makes our sangha (community) a simple one. Apart from upholding the tradition of the basic Zen chants, we hold no services or other rituals, and we do not wear robes. We are, however, deeply committed to the teachings of the ancestors; to the discipline of the Way; to the attention to posture and detail; to the practice of being in the moment; and to the extension of that practice into every facet of our lives. Because the teachers sit with us on a full-time basis, weekly Dharma talks are given, and daisan (face-to-face teaching) is available. Daisan offers guidance in both zazen (just sitting) and koan study. Understanding that Zen can be daunting to beginners, we offer simple, practical, accessible instruction.

Understanding how difficult is the continuation of practice, we offer strong challenge within a nurturing atmosphere. Understanding how fractured and out of control our lives can be at times, we offer a solid structure and the support of caring and like-minded people to help us re-orient ourselves to the reality of our essential self, and so take charge of our lives.

Zendo Location

37 West 17th St. (between 5th and 6th Aves.), 6th floor.

Still Mind Zendo is located in the Greenwich Village/Chelsea area of Manhattan, near all major subway lines and the New Jersey PATH train. The zendo accommodates up to 50 people for zazen and has a large common room, a private bathroom, and a kitchen. It is open for private sitting for SMZ members.

Our building on 17th St. has a buzzer system for entrance. Please scroll down on the keypad next to the double doors. When 'Still Mind Zendo' appears on the screen, it will instruct you to press 600 on the keypad. After you do, you will hear the telephone ring and a member of SMZ will answer. Please let them know who you are and they will buzz you right up.

Pittsburgh Affiliate

Plum Blossom Zendo, a Zen meditation center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an affiliate of Still Mind Zendo. Its members study under Roshi Janet Jiryu Abels and Roshi Gregory Hosho Abels.

PBZ was formed in 2005, in the Soto-Rinzai lineage of Zen Master Taizan Maezumi Roshi and the White Plum Asanga. Experienced and new Zen practitioners are welcome, as are visitors to Pittsburgh who practice Zen. Still Mind Zendo members are welcome to go to Pittsburgh to participate in PBZ's weekend retreats.

Please call 412-371-9493 for information on joining Plum Blossom Zendo for a meditation session.