Transmission of zazen is the whole truth of the Buddha’s Dharma

“Transmission of zazen is the whole truth of the Buddha-Dharma”

Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)

Sit with us at the Dojo

You are welcome to join us at the Dojo at the following times, provided you’ve previously attended an introductory session**

Our regular pattern

  • 07:00-08:00 Tuesday zazen
  • 18:00-19:30 Wednesday zazen
  • 18:00-19:30 Friday zazen
  • 08:30-10:30 Sunday zazen
  • 11:30-13:00 Monthly Zen Half Day

On Zen Half Days, usually the first Sunday each month (but see Planned Schedule), we have a formal breakfast (genmai), a work period (samu) and further ‘sits’ following normal Sunday zazen

** Please contact us to arrange an introductory session. These are usually held, by prior arrangement, at 17:30 on most Wednesday evenings at 5.30pm but do check the calendar below. Other times are possible if arranged in advance

Internet-Radio Broadcasts

See also details of ‘online’ sits, including Saturday morning Tenborin Zoom Relays, on the Dojo-Live page

Our planned schedule


What happens at the Dojo


Our main activity is to sit shikantaza – that is to say, we just sit in silence, facing the wall, trying to remain alert and present rather than being distracted by thoughts about the past or future or giving way to sleepiness. This takes energy and concentration, though we try to keep the body itself relaxed.


‘Sits’ are generally either 25 or 40 minutes long, perhaps interspersed with a few minutes of kinhin – slow walking meditation – during which we aim to maintain the same upright alertness, the same zazen mind.


Ceremony is a halfway-house between seated zazen and busy life in the everyday world – in which we have to cope with many distractions. Through chanting and bowing together, we learn to concentrate our minds and awareness while taking action in the world.

We often chant the Heart Sutra and the Four Bodhisattva Vows in Sino-Japanese. This is a common language whether we’re practising alongside British, European or Japanese teachers.

Teaching at Bristol Zen Dojo

We offer teaching in the dojo by senior practitioners – both resident and visitors – during sits (Kusen), as talks (Teisho) and question/response sessions (Mondo). Questions from remote attendees are welcome, through the WhatsApp channel or in advance over email.

We are sorry we are not able to provide guidance to those with a home practice who do not also practice with us (in person or online). The reason is that the essence of Zen teaching is ‘Not Always So’: there is no single abstract answer independent of your personal situation. For us to advise you on your practice, we need to have some relationship with you and develop an intuitive appreciation of who you are.

Dojo-Live Broadcasts

You can join us for zazen & ceremony while you sit in your own space. We run regular Dojo-Live broadcasts from the Dojo, using internet radio. We also relay and translate into English the Tenborin Zoom transmissions on Saturday mornings.

The past week’s broadcasts are available on the Showreel page. Advice is available on Zazen at Home, and practising with us online.

If you sit with us regularly online, please let us know. If you choose, you can join the WhatsApp group of online sitters.

Zen Days

We continue to offer occasional Zen Days at the Dojo, led by visiting teachers or by our own senior monks, nuns and practitioners. Here Zen beginners and practitioners can engage in more intensive sitting, and ask questions to clarify & deepen their practice.

This page will routinely contain a link to any forthcoming sesshin, giving details of registration and payment.

Keeping in Touch

For news about talks, mondos, informal meals, events, half-days, Zen weekends and Sesshin (retreats), please:

  • send an email to asking to join our mailing list
  • follow us on social media using the links at the bottom of the page

Sitting in a time of COVID

The Dojo encourages the wearing of masks for continued protection against Covid-19 infection. We open our doors 10 minutes before sits begin.

It’s no longer necessary to book a place in advance, though we may reinstate booking if widespread Covid infections re-emerge. When numbers exceed a dozen, we use the adjacent gaitan sitting area to help keep people safe.

Soto Zen Foundations Course

During Autumn 2022 we ran an introductory course for people new to Zen. We may consider repeating this course (delivered over six Wednesday evenings) in other years. Please contact us at to register your interest, or to request further information.

Sutra Study

Once a month, Dojo members meet together online to discuss texts relevant to Zen. We’ve examined well-known Mahayana sutras and related teachings using software similar to Zoom. Email the organiser if you’d like to know more about what’s involved.