Dharma Zen Center was founded by Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1974 as a place where monks and lay people from all countries can practice Zen together and find their true selves. We have formal meditation practice — bowing, chanting, and sitting Zen — in the mornings and evenings for both our resident Zen students and outside members. During the day, our lay residents go out to their jobs or to school. Visitors as well as our outside members are welcome to come for daily practice and join in our monthly Zen meditation retreats, Dharma talks, and other activities.

Dharma Zen Center is a branch of the Kwan Um School of Zen, head temple, the Providence Zen Center, located in Cumberland, RI. The School sponsors 90-day winter Zen meditation retreats (Kyol Che) at the Providence Zen Center, at Hwa Gye Sa Temple in Seoul, Korea, and at Kye Ryong Sahn International Zen Center in Chunchong Nam Do, Korea; as well as a month-long summer Kyol Che at Providence Zen Center and 90-day summer Kyol Che's at Hwa Gye Sa and Kye Ryong Sahn International Zen Center. The School also publishes a quarterly journal, Primary Point.


Zen Master Seung Sahn has encouraged his students to live together in Zen Centers where they can derive strength and support from each other's continuing practice. The regular schedule of practicing and working together acts as a backdrop for seeing our karma appear and disappear. We use the analogy of washing potatoes together in a big pot of water. As the potatoes bump into one another, they clean each other more quickly and efficiently than if each potato was cleaned individually.

In the Zen Center, we can see clearly how our opinions create problems, by coming between us and the situation that we find ourselves in. When we let go of these opinions, it is possible to live our every day lives with clarity and harmony. As we learn to cooperate, to see clearly and to accept people and situations as they really are, our minds become strong and wide. Then it becomes possible to act harmoniously and help other people with no trace of ourselves.

The forms and temple rules we use are designed to help us see our opinions and our inattentive minds in each situation. When we use these forms and rules as a mirror to see our minds clearly, we see the cause our suffering and our hindrances. With sincere effort and patience, we can also find the way to get relief from our suffering and overcome our hindrances. In our Zen Center, this is the work we are all doing together.

If you are interested in residential training and would like to learn more, please contact us.