NEW YORK PRAYS: on being zen

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The Zen Center of New York City, at 500 State Street in Brooklyn, is one of the few residential Buddhist training centers in the city and represents the metropolitan branch of the Mountains and Rivers Order located upstate NY.  

The vitality of Zen training relies on the integration of spiritual practice with daily life and the ZCNYC is a model for how a lay center can meet the needs of urban practitioners. Within the Order, students, residents and retreat participants engage the Eight Gates of Zen, a training matrix rooted in Japan.  

The cornerstone of Zen training is zazen, the formal practice of seated meditation. Za means “sitting”, zen means meditation. In its beginning stages, zazen is a practice of concentration, with a focus on following or counting the breath. But more than just meditation, zazen is a powerful tool of self-inquiry, boundless in its purpose to reveal the basis of reality.  

This series was shot in 2011. 

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