Soto Zen Buddhist Meditation in Chicago

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is a community of practitioners committed to Soto Zen Buddhist meditation practice in Chicago. Please join us on the path of beneficial compassion and wisdom inspired by Shakyamuni Buddha.

Our guiding teacher is Taigen Dan Leighton, author, scholar, and Dharma teacher in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki. We invite you to read his teachings or listen to audio recordings of Dharma talks by Taigen and others.

Under the guidance of Dharma Teacher Taigen Dan Leighton, Ancient Dragon Zen Gate evolved from a small meditation group that began meeting once weekly in 2003 and now, we offer many meditation and Zen practice opportunities.

On Sunday mornings, we welcome brand new visitors to our temple for orientation and to learn meditation.

We are located at 1922 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago, Illinois. You are welcome to join us for weekly meditation.



Featured News

Sounds of Valley Streams, Forms of Mountains
April 5–May 31, 2020

Registration is now open! Our non-residential practice commitment period is an opportunity to integrate and develop sustainable practice in our everyday lives and echo the ancient Buddhist tradition of intentional community practice.  To support deepening practice, participants design individualized programs including three key aspects of Zen training: meditation, study, and community life.  Please see Taigen to register and for more detailed information, click here.


RENEW & RECONNECT QIGONG & MEDITATION RETREAT – Saturday, February 29, 2020 @ 9:30 AM – 3:00 PM

Retreat is a combination of Qigong and Sitting & Walking Meditation. No technology. There are scheduled breaks. Email to register.


Brook ZiporynTALK BY GUEST SPEAKER BROOK ZIPORYN – Monday, March 2, 2020 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Brook Ziporyn is a scholar of ancient and medieval Chinese religion and philosophy, expositor and translator of the most complex philosophical texts and concepts of the Chinese religious traditions, and a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Topic of the talk to be announced.


ZEN MEDITATION AND DHARMA TALK BY REIRIN GUMBEL – Monday, March 16, 2020 @ 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM 

Dharma Talk by Guest Teacher Reirin Gumbel, resident priest at Milwaukee Zen Center, on “Awakened Action in a Disturbing World.” Reirin received Dharma Transmission from Taigen’s Dharma sister Furyu Schroeder, Abbess of Green Gulch Zen Center.




Thurs 3/26/20    5:45p-6:45p (before zazen)
Mon 3/30/20      6-7pm (before zazen)

All our welcome to fold a crane for peace!

We are supporting the memory of the 120,000 Japanese American Buddhists who were interned during WWII and addressing the current suffering of migrants and refugees in our country through participating in a national peace crane folding project,   We are meeting monthly in the kitchen at ADZG to work together folding origami cranes to support efforts of Japanese-American Buddhists and American Buddhists to bear witness to the current internment of migrant and refugee children and families and promote humane and fair treatment of migrants crossing at our southern border. Our hope is to fold 10,000 paper cranes and create crane banners that will travel to an action in Washington DC in June 2020.



On Saturday August 3rd, 2019, Ancient Dragon Dharma Teacher Taigen Shizan Leighton completed Dharma transmission ceremonies for his heirs, Nyozan Eric Shutt and Eishin Nancy Easton, and authorized them as Dharma teachers. Shosan Victoria Austin from San Francisco Zen Center served as Preceptor for the ceremony.  As part of the ceremony, Eishin and Nyozan received new brown okesas and ceremonial implements.



Upcoming Events

Thu 27

Beginner’s Mind Program: Zazen and Discussion of Suzuki Roshi Teachings

Thursday February 27, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Sat 29

Renew & Reconnect Qigong & Meditation Retreat

Saturday February 29, 2020 @ 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Mar 03

Meditation and Recovery

Tuesday March 3, 2020 @ 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm

Latest Dharma Podcast Episodes

Nirvana Day: The Death and Present Life of Buddha

ADZG 787 ADZG Sunday Morning Dharma Talk by Rev. Taigen Dan Leighton

Featured Podcasts: Buddhism in Kamakura Japan

Click here to learn more about some recent dharma talks given by our guiding teacher, Taigen Dan Leighton, about key buddhist figures in Kamakura-era Japan.

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