The mission of the Zen Center of Syracuse is to offer the profound yet simple practice of meditation to people from all walks of life, thereby making our community a more compassionate and caring place.
The Zen Center provides a wide range of opportunities for the cultivation of mindfulness, including beginners' classes, daily meditation, dokusan (private interviews for students of Shinge Roshi), three, five and seven day sesshin (intensive retreats) four times a year, Dharma study meetings, ceremonies, and Tibetan Buddhist practice.
The center also holds workshops and courses in Zen and the arts with such guest artists as Kazuaki Tanahashi for brushwork and grand master Nyogetsu Ronnie Seldin for shakuhachi (bamboo flute); Dharma Kids gatherings; Buddhist studies; family celebrations such as weddings, baby welcomings, dedications, funerals, and memorial services; and special events and conferences.
Courses such as Deep Presence and Conscious Stress Reduction are offered with the understanding that meditation contributes to wellness and confers lasting health benefits. The Zen Center's authentic approach blends well with other wellness methods, and is compatible with and respectful of the world's great religious traditions.
The Zen Center offers many community service programs. Members lead meditation several times a week at Syracuse University's Hendricks Chapel and at Hamilton College. They also work with at-risk youth at Faith Hope Community Center and at Elmcrest Children's Center. Weekly meditation sessions are held at Auburn Prison and the Onondaga County Justice Center. The Zen Center provides workshops at area schools and for recovery groups, organizations, hospitals, and corporations.
In partnership with H.O.M.E., INC. (Humanitarian Organization for Multicultural Experiences, Inc.), the Zen Center teaches meditation to people with developmental disabilities and brain injuries.