Practice paths

Membership and community

One of the jewels of practice is community. Practicing together with a group and teacher keeps us motivated and enables us to learn from others and share our own experience. Practicing with others allows a reflection of our own ideas and a creates a forum for exploring what it is to be human and connected.

We encourage anyone who is interested in being involved on a regular basis to consider membership. Members commit to a small financial contribution, receive discounts on activities and become part of creating a vibrant dharma practice in Wellington. Members also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with Shinko, Roshi to establish a formal practice path.
Green Mountain Zen Buddhist Sangha
Meditating Buddha

Training paths

Our experience of life is always immediate. It is always here and always now. Yet to really realise this basic truth and open up to the intimacy and joy of life requires commitment and practice. Zen Buddhism provides a training path that gradually settles the mind – developing in us wisdom and compassion in equal measure. As we practice together with other people and in the midst of a society of many beings, cultures, challenges and emergencies we also need to develop a wise response to the joys and pains of the universe.

Zen is an ancient tradition, but it’s practiced right here in 21st century New Zealand. So we use both the time-honoured methods and our Kiwi wisdom to craft a meaningful journey into this mystery. As we travel along this path, we encounter countless practices help us to appreciate our basic wholeness.
The core elements include:

Meditation: Learning breath concentration; walking, koan practice, pure awareness, retreats

Ceremony: chanting, bowing, commitment

Community: Membership, sharing, responsibility, taking on service positions, social and environmental action

Ethics: Receiving the precepts, studying cause and effect

Lineage: working with the teacher, leadership roles, rites of passage, authorisation
meditation retreat practice in the kitchen
Pathway in Wanaka

Movement along the path

It is very helpful to have a sense of movement along a practice path. Also as a lineage tradition we move from being a beginner in practice to more senior and taking on leadership roles. These are markers on the path that act both as encouragement and recognition of commitment and service. 
The main steps include:

Membership – commitment to practicing with GMZ and entering into a teacher/student relationship

Jukai – receiving the Buddhist precepts – formally entering into the Zen lineage
and vowing to maintain the moral and ethical Buddhist teachings

Shuso – becoming a senior student

Dharma Holder: completion of formal koan study or equivalent

Priestly ordination – formally taking on a life of service

Dharma transmission – full authorisation as an independent teacher

Inka – final transmission after 10 years as an authorised teacher.
Japanese temple bodhisattva
Zen is an ancient and vibrant tradition here in Wellington, New Zealand. We encourage everyone regardless of background to join us in this vital practice. Letting go of our most cherished thoughts and notions, beliefs and descriptions gains us the whole world.

Schedule of events



Every Thursday at 7:30pm

Quaker Centre

Chanting, two 25 minute rounds of zazen, talk/discussion

Every Tuesday at 6:30am

Email for link

Online – one 40-minute period of zazen

Last Sunday of the month

9am – midday

Breaker Bay Hall 

Chanting, four 25 minute rounds of zazen, talk/discussion and lunch


April 17-21 2024
September 4-8 2024

Strathean Retreat

Otaki: 4-day silent retreat

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    A Soto Zen Community
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