Zen Meditation and Study

Click here for information on Zazenkai one-day retreat, October 5. Information coming soon for December 2019 Rohatsu commuter sesshin.

Zen Meditation & Study is offered every Friday from 10 a.m. – Noon. You do not have to be a Zen practitioner, a Buddhist, an experienced meditator, or a Unitarian Universalist (UU) to attend. Drop-in attendance is welcome. Come when you can! There is no charge to participate.

While the church building is undergoing major remodeling, we are meeting in a temporary location.

Currently we meet in the conference room of the interim church office, 5508 -35th Ave NE, Suite 100. Enter the Seattle Sunshine Coffee shop, and go through the door straight ahead. The church office will be immediately to your left.

We will use modified practice forms in this space. During the first period (about a half hour), we’ll begin with a short sutra recitation followed by silent seated meditation (zazen). In the second period, we’ll take up solitary walking meditation (kinhin) in the neighborhood (weather permitting) or a short stretch break before returning to zazen. The remainder of our time together will include tea, chocolate, study, and shared reflection.

Fall Study: Our book will be Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love and Liberation, by co-authors Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmin Saydullah, Ph.D.


We use a shared reading model to engage the book’s teachings during our study time. No assignments to read ahead. Bring the book if you have it; we’ll have a copy on hand to read from.

General Information about this meditation and study group:

The purpose of this spiritual practice group is to provide a convenient and supportive environment to meditate and learn with others. You’ll encounter regular participants who have an established practice in Zen or another tradition, and you’ll also meet first-time or occasional attendees, some of whom are just beginning a meditation practice. Most attendees are UU, some are not. All are invited.

Evening Zen practice setting at UUC – Rohatsu 2017

Each meeting of the group includes brief opening and closing chanting services, two periods of silent sitting, walking meditation, refreshment, and teaching. Most often, the group engages a shared reading practice to explore a book – no need to read anything in advance. Sometimes there may be a dharma talk or other discussion.

Dress comfortably. Most participants sit on chairs, which are provided. Some floor sitting supplies are available, or bring your own cushions or meditation bench. Arrive 5-10 minutes early if possible. Choose your seat and settle into your posture. If you arrive after the sitting period has begun, please enter quietly and take any available seat.

Sitting still, just pay attention to what is going on around you and within you. Notice your breathing or other sensations in the body. Allow curiosity to arise in its own time. Be gentle with yourself. Just start again when the mind wanders.

This group, along with the practice group at the Woodinville Unitarian Universalist Church, sits as Bright Cloud Zen, an affiliate of the Empty Moon Zen Network and a member sangha of the UU Buddhist Fellowship. Bright Cloud Zen practice groups are supported by Janine Larsen, a Senior Dharma Teacher with Empty Moon. Janine is preparing for ordination as a Zen priest and is also UUC’s Director of Ministries. She is a student of James Myoun Ford, Roshi, a Soto Zen Priest and Guiding Teacher of Empty Moon Zen Network. James is also a UU minister, currently serving the Unitarian Universalist Church in Anaheim, CA.

The group regularly offers precept study for those who wish to receive the first five precepts (sewing the Wagessa and vowing to live ethically), or  Jukai (sewing the Rakusu and committing to the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts). Talk to a teacher to learn more and discern readiness.

Bright Cloud Zen students and teachers after May 2019 retreat

Sesshin, May 2019

Opportunities to sit with Bright Cloud Zen Sangha

  • Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to Noon, Woodinville UU Church, Sanctuary. Janine offers one-on-one practice interviews the first meeting of each month.
  • Fridays, 10 a.m. to Noon, Seattle. See information at the top of the page for temporary location.
  • Saturday Zazenkai: October 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Woodinville UU Church, Sanctuary. Drop-in attendance; no charge. An offering bowl will be available.
  • Rohatsu Commuter Sesshin: December 5-8, 2019, at UUC. Details and registration coming soon.

Please review the links below for additional information about Bright Cloud Zen and other practice opportunities.

Still have questions, or want to join the email list-serve for group communications? Email Janine or call her at UUC, (206) 454-7711.

Click below for:

Retreats & Events:

  • Rohatsu Commuter Sesshin with James Ford, Roshi, hosted by Bright Cloud Zen practice groups at University Unitarian Church, Seattle – December 5-8, 2019. Details and link to registration will be posted soon. This sesshin will include the ordination of Janine Seitetsu Larsen as a Zen Priest, on the evening of Saturday, December 7.
  • We also recommend teaching and residential retreats (sesshin) at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, OR. See their schedule here. The “Beginner’s Mind” introductory retreat is offered monthly. Practitioners over age 60 may wish to inquire about “Silver Dragons” retreat options.