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.


LGBTQ+ DHARMA GROUP – Friday, February 21, 2020 @ 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

This monthly program begins with 30 minutes of group zazen followed by tea, snacks, and discussion of a previously circulated Buddhist text or article relevant to the concerns of the LGBTQ+ community and their intersection with Buddhist practice. For more information, email


DAYLONG MEDITATION RETREAT WITH DOUGLAS FLOYD – Sunday, February 23, 2020 @ 7:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Douglas Floyd will give the Dharma Talk and will be available for dokusan, individual practice discussion. Oryoki-style lunch is included. Please register by February 18th with Douglas at 


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.




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

Sat 22

Extinction Rebellion

Saturday February 22, 2020 @ 4:00 pm
Sun 23

Daylong Meditation Retreat with Douglas Floyd

Sunday February 23, 2020 @ 7:30 am - 5:30 pm
Mon 24

Zen Meditation and Dharma Talk by Taigen Dan Leighton

Monday February 24, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tue 25

Meditation and Recovery

Tuesday February 25, 2020 @ 7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
Wed 26

Wednesday Morning Zazen

Wednesday February 26, 2020 @ 7:00 am - 8:00 am

Latest Dharma Podcast Episodes

Martin Luther King Jr., U.S. Military Policy and Loving your Enemies

ADZG 782 ADZG Monday Night 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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