Chapel Hill Zen Center
What is Zen? Reading List Teacher. Event Calendar. Zen Links. Talks on Practice.
Need a Group? Meditation Schedule. Membership. Mondo Dharma. Where & When; History of the Group

Zen Means "meditation"

Zen is the school of Buddhism which emphasizes the religious practice of meditation. The Buddha taught that Ignorance, created by our greed, hate, and delusion, prevents us from realizing that we are all enlightened. Zen Buddhism teaches that the practice of sitting in meditation (Jap.: zazen) directly manifests our inborn enlightenment, our Buddha Nature. In Zen practice, seated meditation and enlightenment are one. No preliminary training or long preparation is necessary to realize the Way.

Zen Founder Cutting Bamboo

Zen Sixth Patriarch
Cutting Bamboo
(Ryankai, 13th century)

The Soto school of Japanese Zen practice was founded in the 13th century by the Zen Master Eihei Dogen. In his instructions on how to meditate, Dogen writes,

"You should...cease from practice based on intellectual understanding...and learn the backward step that turns your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and mind of themselves will drop away, and your original face will be manifest....The zazen I speak of is not learning meditation. It is simply the...gate of repose and bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality."

Zen also stresses that the world of enlightenment is the everyday world we all know. "Carrying water and chopping wood are the activities of the Buddha," and "The everyday mind is Buddha," are two of the most well known Zen sayings. Zen realization shows us that we are directly connected to, and dependent on, all living beings and everything that exists. Compassionate concern for the welfare of others and for the environment flow naturally from this insight.

Affirmation of Welcome Embracing diversity, the Chapel Hill Zen Center expresses the fundamental connection of all beings by welcoming everyone to the practice of zazen. May all beings realize their true nature.
Information or Question: (919) 967-0861;
Recovery Group
Tuesday evenings, 7:30 to 8:30 PM (919) 265-7600 (Recovery Group contact only),
People of Color Meditation Group
Wednesday evenings, 6 to 7:30 PM,
Sangha Blog
Childrens' Program
Library Catalog

Brief History
of the Center

The Chapel Hill Zen Group came into existence in 1981. It was formed by a small group of friends who took turns meditating in each other's homes in the Durham-Chapel Hill area in North Carolina. In December, 1997, the Board of Directors voted to change the group's legal name to the Chapel Hill Zen Center to reflect the group's growing membership and more established status. Several members of the original group practiced at the San Francisco Zen Center, and the Center is now formally affiliated with SFZC. The S.F. Zen Center was founded by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. Before he died in 1971, Suzuki also founded the first Zen monastery in America, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, near Carmel, California. His teaching has been continued by his American disciples.

Where & When
We Meet

The Chapel Hill Zen Center now has a permanent meeting place at 5322 NC Highway 86, Chapel Hill, 27514 (2.5 miles north of I-40 Exit 266). All meetings are open to the public and everyone is welcome to attend. (The building has wheelchair access.) See the schedule posted below for times. Zen meditation instruction and orientation can be given on Tuesday evenings or Sunday mornings. Please call (919) 967-0861 for information and to make an appointment before coming for instruction. The Calendar has the dates and times of lectures and other events. Click here for a map. E-mail contact for general questions:

DONATE to the Temple or the Building Fund

Guidelines for Dress Please wear loose fitting, comfortable clothes. Pants, or skirts that come below the knee, are appropriate. It is also alright to wear longer shorts that come to the knee, and short sleeved shirts, but not tank tops or halter tops. It is traditional to go barefoot in the meditation hall, but it is alright to wear socks, particularly in cool weather.
Meditation Schedule


Adverse Weather
As a general rule, if driving may be risky, don�t do it. When it is snowing or sleeting, or if either snow or sleet is predicted to occur before or during zazen, you can assume that the zendo will be closed, particularly for 6:00 a.m. zazen.

Mornings Mon to Fri  
6:00 Zazen (zen meditation)
6:50 Zazen
Tuesday Evening  
7:00 Zazen (zen meditation)
7:40 Kinhin (walking meditation)
7:50 Zazen
8:20 Sutra Chanting
6:00 Zazen (evening)
Sunday Morning (Children's Program starts at 9:00 see Events page)
9:00 Zazen (zen meditation)
9:40 Kinhin (walking meditation)
9:50 Zazen
10:20 Kinhin
10:30 Lecture (once a month) or
Sutra Chanting Service
(when there is no lecture)
Other Zen Meditation Groups in North Carolina

Charlotte Zen Meditation Society
Meeting Place
Harmony House, 726 East Boulevard, Charlotte, NC

Gate City Zen Group
Contact Person
Denise (336) 324-9970

Great Tree Zen Temple
679 Lower Flat Creek Road
Alexander, NC 28701
(828) 645-2085
Teijo Munnich, Head Priest

North Carolina Zen Center
Brooks Branch Zendo
390 Ironwood Road
Pittsboro, NC 27312
(919) 542-7411

Raleigh Zen Group
Raleigh, NC
Contact Person 
Bob Shuman (919) 833-6200

Wilmington Zen Group
Unitarian Universal Fellowship
4313 Lake Avenue
Wilmington, NC
Contact Person
Elizabeth Darrow,

Zazen in Winston-Salem
Monday mornings from 7:30 to 8:20

Zen Center of Asheville
Meeting Place
5 Ravenscroft Drive
Mailing Address

P O Box 17274, Asheville, NC 28816
(828) 398-4212
Rev. Teijo Munnich

Friends of the
Chapel Hill Zen Center
Richmond Zen Group
Richmond, Virginia
Contact Person
Kevin (804) 366-5546 for more information.

What is Zen | Teacher | Zen Links
Reading List | Event Calendar | Talks on Zen Practice
Need a Group? | Membership | Where & When We Meet
Meditation Schedule | Mondo Dharma | History of the Group