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Soto Zen Buddhist Meditation in Chicago

Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is a community of practitioners committed to Soto Zen Buddhist meditation practice in Chicago, and now online to many distant practitioners. 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 many others. Sunday mornings we welcome brand new visitors to attend our Lincoln Square Zendo in person, or in our Online Zendo via Zoom to learn meditation before our regular program. Click our “New to Zen?” button above for more information. Click here to read our updated COVID policy for attending in-person events.

Click the Online Zendo button above to enter our online zendo via ZOOM. Please bow to the camera when entering or becoming visible on Zoom, but then do not face the screen directly during zazen.

Please refer to our calendar for a complete schedule of services and events in our online zendo. As well, please refer to our Online Zendo page for instructions on accessing the room.

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.

Latest Dharma Podcast Episodes

8137: An Exercise in Beginner’s Mind

ADZG 1162 ADZG Monday Night Dharma Talk by Dylan Toropov


Featured Events

BODHISATTVA PRECEPT REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY – Monday, February 26, 2024 @ 7:15 PM – 9:00 PM

Monthly Bodhisattva Precept Remembrance Ceremony, near the occasion of the full moon. This month’s offering will be held hybrid in-person in our Lincoln Square Zendo as well as in our Online Zendo, in lieu of our normal Monday evening dharma talk.

FLOWER ORNAMENT SUTRA READING GROUP – Friday, March 1, 2024 @ 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

This reading group, open to all, will be reading aloud together the classic expansive and psychedelic Mahayana Buddhist text, Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Ornament Sutra). Participants are not expected to purchase this text and are welcome to drop in for any reading group gathering. Participants will also be invited to sit for optional seated meditation at each gathering. There is no registration or fee to attend, but donations are welcome.

paula araiZAZEN AND DHARMA TALK BY PAULA ARAI – Sunday, March 17, 2024 @ 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Dharma talk online by Paula Arai, a prominent Zen scholar. Dr. Arai heads the Soto Zen program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies; among her books are works on Soto Zen women practitioners. Sunday Morning Public Program at Lincoln Square Zendo and in our online Zendo via ZOOM.


Featured News

ANCIENT DRAGON SPRING PRACTICE COMMITMENT PERIOD

As winter continues on, we start to look forward and anticipate spring. Here at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, a big part of our spring includes our yearly Spring Practice Commitment Period. This year’s PCP will take place from March 24 through May 19, beginning with a one-day sitting on March 24 followed by a three-day sesshin from May 17-19 to end the period. During this year’s PCP, led by our guiding teacher Taigen Dan Leighton, we will explore the illuminating, evocative practice instructions from the Chinese Soto master Hongzhi from the book Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi, translated with introduction by Taigen. Hongzhi was the primary Soto teacher in China in the century before Japanese Soto founder Dogen, and strongly influenced Dogen. All practitioners are welcome to register; participants in the practice commitment period are required to make a commitment to meditation, study, and community. Our non-residential Practice Commitment Period (PCP) is an opportunity to integrate and develop sustainable practice in our everyday lives in intentional community practice. In our post-pandemic, non-residential situation, all are welcome to join in-person or online, or in some combination. Please see our Spring Practice Period page to learn more, as well as for information on how to register.

ARCHIVAL TALKS

As Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is now hybrid with in-person events along with an active online sangha, we will be providing selections of podcasts to all on a periodic basis to provide dharma steadily. Please refer to our Archival Talks page for past collections and commentary on the collections of talks, including the current collection which highlights upcoming guest speakers over the next few months.
Peter Coyote (11/9/2014) – Is Our Spiritual Practice Only Personal?
Florence Caplow (11/4/2019) – Ferocious Grandmothers
Hakusho Ostlund (7/18/2016) – I Sit Therefore I Sit
Taigen Leighton (9/28/2014) – Inner Dynamics of Zazen and the Home Village
Hogetsu Laurie Belzer (3/27/2022) – The Hands and Eyes of Shikan Taza

Upcoming Events

Click the Online Zendo button above to enter our online zendo via ZOOM. Please bow to the camera when entering or becoming visible on Zoom, but then do not face the screen directly during zazen.

Please refer to our calendar for a complete schedule of services and events in our online zendo. As well, please refer to our Online Zendo page for instructions on accessing the room.

Latest Dharma Podcast Episodes

Anxiety, Thought Loops, and Zazen

ADZG 1160 ADZG Monday Night Dharma Talk by Sophia DeVita

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.


Featured Events

BODHISATTVA PRECEPT REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY – Monday, February 26, 2024 @ 7:15 PM – 9:00 PM

Monthly Bodhisattva Precept Remembrance Ceremony, near the occasion of the full moon. This month’s offering will be held hybrid in-person in our Lincoln Square Zendo as well as in our Online Zendo, in lieu of our normal Monday evening dharma talk.

FLOWER ORNAMENT SUTRA READING GROUP – Friday, March 1, 2024 @ 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

This reading group, open to all, will be reading aloud together the classic expansive and psychedelic Mahayana Buddhist text, Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Ornament Sutra). Participants are not expected to purchase this text and are welcome to drop in for any reading group gathering. Participants will also be invited to sit for optional seated meditation at each gathering. There is no registration or fee to attend, but donations are welcome.

paula araiZAZEN AND DHARMA TALK BY PAULA ARAI – Sunday, March 17, 2024 @ 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM

Dharma talk online by Paula Arai, a prominent Zen scholar. Dr. Arai heads the Soto Zen program at the Institute of Buddhist Studies; among her books are works on Soto Zen women practitioners. Sunday Morning Public Program at Lincoln Square Zendo and in our online Zendo via ZOOM.


Featured News

ANCIENT DRAGON SPRING PRACTICE COMMITMENT PERIOD

As winter continues on, we start to look forward and anticipate spring. Here at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate, a big part of our spring includes our yearly Spring Practice Commitment Period. This year’s PCP will take place from March 24 through May 19, beginning with a one-day sitting on March 24 followed by a three-day sesshin from May 17-19 to end the period. During this year’s PCP, led by our guiding teacher Taigen Dan Leighton, we will explore the illuminating, evocative practice instructions from the Chinese Soto master Hongzhi from the book Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi, translated with introduction by Taigen. Hongzhi was the primary Soto teacher in China in the century before Japanese Soto founder Dogen, and strongly influenced Dogen. All practitioners are welcome to register; participants in the practice commitment period are required to make a commitment to meditation, study, and community. Our non-residential Practice Commitment Period (PCP) is an opportunity to integrate and develop sustainable practice in our everyday lives in intentional community practice. In our post-pandemic, non-residential situation, all are welcome to join in-person or online, or in some combination. Please see our Spring Practice Period page to learn more, as well as for information on how to register.

Upcoming Events

ARCHIVAL TALKS

As Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is now hybrid with in-person events along with an active online sangha, we will be providing selections of podcasts to all on a periodic basis to provide dharma steadily. Please refer to our Archival Talks page for past collections and commentary on the collections of talks, including the current collection which highlights upcoming guest speakers over the next few months.
 
Peter Coyote (11/9/2014) – Is Our Spiritual Practice Only Personal?
Florence Caplow (11/4/2019) – Ferocious Grandmothers
Hakusho Ostlund (7/18/2016) – I Sit Therefore I Sit
Taigen Leighton (9/28/2014) – Inner Dynamics of Zazen and the Home Village
Hogetsu Laurie Belzer (3/27/2022) – The Hands and Eyes of Shikan Taza