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Zen practice is about getting in touch with your own values…

…whether those came from a spiritual tradition or another source that you hold close to your heart. As we find our way through these uncertain times, we hope you are receiving some comfort in our meditations, podcasts and dharma talks. We certainly feel held by being together and sharing our practice with you.

Becoming a Formal
Zen Student

Practicing under the guidance of a teacher has been the traditional path for seekers of the Way since the beginning of Zen, in China, more than 1,500 years ago. This teacher-student relationship is one of the key aspects of a Zen meditation practice.



If you wish to make an ongoing commitment to Zen training and enter into a teacher/student relationship with either Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison or Sensei Chodo Robert Campbell, you can become a Formal Zen Student at New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.

Zen Student FAQ

Entering into the teacher/student relationship is a serious commitment and should be given careful consideration.


Deep personal reflection is encouraged.


The teacher/student relationship at the Zen Center is a spiritual friend model. Spiritual friendship is the practice itself; we give and we receive. It is an intimate relationship that can last a lifetime.

Attend Monday, Wednesday and/or Sunday morning practice regularly. Two Half Day Sits are also required.

Meet with Koshin or Chodo in dokusan (a private face to face meeting) and request to formally become a student and enter into a formal training relationship. After establishing a regular practice with NYZC and completing two half day sits, you may reach out to info@zencare.org to request dokusan.

Sit Tangaryo (a day long Zazen) and participate in the student initiation ceremonies that follow. Tangaryo is offered twice a year.

Attend an in person four day or week-long intensive silent meditation retreat(sesshin).

Become a 108 or 216 Member to fulfill formal student dues.

Both local and nonlocal students are invited to study with us.

  • Attend at least one Sesshin (silent meditation retreat) a year.
  • Learn the Zen forms of the Zen Center.

  • Attend at least six-half day retreats a year.

  • Weekly or bi-weekly dokusan (one-on-one meetings with a guiding teacher).

  • Engage in the Sutra study classes & Zen History.

  • Participate in Catch Your Mind & Precepts Study as an ongoing expression of practice.

  • Participate in both Practice Periods (90-day training intensives) each year.

  • Help maintain and support the Zen Center through service.

zen training resources

recommended reading
Deepen your understanding with the tradition of meditation
Learn more
zen terms
Knowledge leads to enlightenment
Learn more
Practice of Sutra chanting, for the benefit of all beings.

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