Open Mind Zen Louisville
1013 Bardstown Rd., alley entrance
through orange door
Open Mind Zen Louisville (OMZL) offers meditation instruction, dharma talks and sitting practice three days a week. Zen training is also available, and ongoing.
Sign up for the weekly newsletter with the practice schedule, the week's dharma study theme, and OMZL news here. Cancellations are announced via this OMZL newsletter email list. You may email to be manually added to the mailing list: email@example.com
Anyone is welcome to attend our sits for free. It's appreciated but not required that attendees drop a contribution in the "dana" (donation) bowl.
online group dharma study and discussion (via email)
practice meetings (virtual and in person)
improv theatre (improv as a Zen artform)
individualized sutra study
individualized koan study
group koan study
study (and sewing of a rakusu) in preparation for receiving the Precepts
Training includes showing up to sit and listen, along with other modalities. It's perhaps a thing to undertake when looking for depth, or change, or to address the big spiritual questions... what Zen refers to as "The Great Matter of Birth and Death."
Not every one of the ways to train listed above is suitable for every student, for many reasons. Still, one or a combination of several might be helpful. Our situations, needs and capacities change over time; how we practice and train should change too.
By long tradition, Zen training is kept as affordable as possible. Regular Zen students in training at OMZL are asked to commit to some monthly amount of support, so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a budget in planning for zendo upgrades, acquiring zendo equipment, and otherwise maintaining the space. $125/month is a suggestion, but students must adjust that amount for their circumstances.
Meditation practice (with a dharma talk) is available on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 to 12:30. The door is open 15 minutes before each sitting begins. It's fine to arrive late or leave early. Cancelled sits and schedule changes are announced via the newsletter.
Online group dharma study via email assignments and discussion takes place with your own schedule. Readings and assignments are generally offered weekly.
Improv theatre happens Friday evenings, 6-8 pm. If you are interested, please ask to be put on the weekly improv announcement list. firstname.lastname@example.org
Individualized sutra and/or koan study, practice meetings, and Precepts preparation are by arrangement with the teacher. Most students in training do well with weekly meetings of a half hour, but needs vary.
Workshops and retreats are announced in the OMZL weekly newsletter.
OMZL is located in a former warehouse space—converted to an art gallery—called garner LARGE (art) at 1013 Bardstown Rd., alley entrance. Search "garner LARGE" with a mapping program. Google Maps
There are 3-4 parking spaces by the orange door and garage bay door that you are welcome to use. Don't park at Jack Fry's.
WHAT (to know, bring, or expect)
Chairs with wedge cushions, a few floor cushions, and a seiza bench are provided.
The format may vary (see WHY), but the practice time will begin Thursday and Friday at noon, Saturday at 11am, with optional tea and discussion after. Directions are given as needed after the beginning bell. If you arrive late and miss directions, simply follow along.
Always be invited to adjust your posture or do moving meditation—and any other self-care—during the hour of practice. Moving meditation includes regular or slow walking, seated or standing bows, gently raising and lowering the knees while remaining seated, and movement at whatever pace via use of any kind of mobility device.
WHY (AND HOW)
OMZL is a lay-focused Zen tradition, about training to live well "in the marketplace" meaning while immersed in daily life—with full responsibility for self, family and community. We train where we live with ever-changing physical, emotional, and mental realities and circumstances. Lay life provides endless opportunity to deepen one's practice.
People meditate in many ways. You are welcome to use whatever (quiet) techniques you already know during OMZL sits. Experienced meditators or intrepid beginners can simply show up for a practice and follow along. Very brief directions are given at the beginning of each sit, along with remarks on the week's theme.
Some students might like an orientation to zen practice, help in finding a comfortable and stable sitting posture, and/or zendo (practice hall) etiquette. Please make an appointment for that—usually time can be made available right before a scheduled sit, with notice. email@example.com or text (502) 303-7259
All Zen students need to stay ready to meditate in different postures, not just one. Bodies and minds change, and this is a practice for the long haul.
Meditation is often taught with an expectation of bodily stillness. That expectation itself can cause suffering, and create a barrier to practice which may harden over time into outright aversion. Practitioners are encouraged to set aside the goal of stillness and work instead on sensitivity and compassion for their own particular experience. By prioritizing comfort and stability, and making ready use of movement meditation (ex. when the body is stiff or restless, legs get numb or the mind agitated), students generally relax and settle. Stillness finds the practitioner.
Neurodiverse people (for instance, students with ADHD, MS, or anxiety) may especially benefit from setting aside stillness as a goal. It is not disruptive when a practitioner quietly walks, stims, adjusts their posture, or fidgets.
In OMZL practices and special events, students are expected to move at will and need, and to take good care of themselves. This can be a difficult practice in the beginning!
Kinhin is understood as "moving meditation" to include whatever movements are available to students, at whatever pace. Students may remain entirely seated, or use mobility devices.
Some OMZL students meditate in a chair plus an angled chair cushion, which brings the spine into alignment without muscular gripping. These are provided. Our wedge cushions have gotten good reviews from most students.
If you prefer to sit or lay on the floor, posture supports are available but limited. Check in beforehand or bring your own yoga mat, cushion (zafu + zabuton, bolster), meditation bench, or whatever works for your body.
There is a small step to enter the front door, and a small step to enter the bathroom. The warehouse bay door opens, which allows for wheelchair access via a small but steep ramp. Chair users will likely need an assist up and down the ramp, and this assistance is available. Text in advance if possible (502) 303-7259, beep car horn on arrival, or knock on the orange door.
Front door step: 8"
Bathroom door step: 7"
The community level of Covid-19 in Jefferson County is low based on cases and hospitalizations, according to the most recent update from the C.D.C. (Learn more about this rating here. ) OMZL currently does not require masking or self-testing for regular practices. If you wish to mask within the zendo, that choice is affirmed and supported. The teacher will gladly mask on request for sitting and in one-on-one practice meetings.