Welcome to Ocean Light Zen Center. We are a small, sincere community of Zen practitioners in West Seattle. Please join us any Sunday morning for meditation in good company.

Ocean Light Zen Center is the Seattle chapter of the Kwan Um School of Zen, a tradition that originated in China more than 1500 years ago, travelled to Korea and was brought to the US by Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1972. Our school now has more than 100 Zen centers around the world, all practicing the same ancient and beautiful meditation forms.

Ocean Light Zen Center has been operating in the Seattle area since 1980. Our tradition includes three main forms of Zen practice: bowing, chanting, and silent sitting or walking meditation. The practice forms are very simple, and once you’ve seen them, it is easy to follow along.

Traditionally, in China and Korea, only monastics engaged in Zen meditation – often spending at least six months each year in retreat. But in the West, nearly all Zen practitioners are men and women with jobs, families, and community obligations. Few lay practitioners can dedicate themselves to full-time Zen meditation. So our school teaches the importance of daily practice.

Daily practice means keeping a not-moving mind in every life situation. How do you keep a not-moving mind? In each moment, let go of your opinions, fears, or wants. Only pay attention with an open heart and open mind. When you are doing something – then do it authentically. This is how you keep a not-moving mind.

In that practice, we ask an open question – what is this? With a not-moving mind and an open question, then moment-to-moment you perceive each situation clearly; you can perceive your relationship in that situation, and then your true function as a human being appears effortlessly.

Zen practice runs every Sunday morning 9am – 11am at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse – 9131 California Ave SW in West Seattle.

If you have no prior experience with meditation, we will happily provide you instruction, answer your questions, and welcome you on the journey. Just email us and let us know you are coming. On the other hand, if you have prior experience with Zen meditation – just show up any Sunday at 9am, we will have an extra cushion ready for you!


2016 Annual Calendar at a Glance

Weekly Zen Practice

Every Sunday – Regular practice at 9:00 am

Kong-an interviews with guiding teacher Tim Lerch JPDSN on the 2nd & 4th Sunday of every month

Weekly practice is always at the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse 9131 California Ave SW in West Seattle

Compass of Zen Discussion Group

Second Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Locations rotate. Please join our email list to find out where we meet each month. Simply send an email to the link at the top of this web page and ask to be added to our mailing list.

  • Jan 13 Introducing the Compass of Zen Handbook
  • Feb 10 History of Kwan Um Zen
  • Mar 9 Heart Sutra
  • Apr 13 Four Noble Truths
  • May 11 Three Insights of Hinayana Buddhism
  • Jun 8 Diamond Sutra
  • Jul 13 The Zen Circle
  • Aug 10 What is Karma?
  • Sep 14 Open discussion about practice
  • Oct 12 Four Great Vows
  • Nov 9 The Human Route
  • Dec 14 Great Doubt, Faith, and Courage

Zen Meditation Retreats

  • June 25  One day retreat – 7 am to 3 pm
  • Oct 21-22 Two-day retreat – 7 am Saturday to 3 pm Sunday

Annual Ceremonies

  • Apr 23  Buddha’s birthday –10 am following regular practice
  • Dec 3  Buddha’s enlightenment –10 am following regular practice