Meditation in the soto zen tradition

About corkzen

We are a group of practitioners, who come together to practise zazen, seated meditation. Our aim is to provide an open, peaceful atmosphere to support zen practice in Cork.

Occasionally we organise full or half day zen days and sesshins (intensive retreats), with invited guest teachers. One of our regular visitors is Ingen Breen. Follow the link for his schedule.

All are welcome, but if you are new to zen meditation, we ask that you complete a short introduction. Please email corkzen@gmail.com to arrange.

Sad to say that we have left our little room on North Main Street which has housed us well for 21 years! We are continuing to sit on Thursdays via zoom and in connection with one of our visiting teachers Ryūmon H Baldoquín Sensei of Two Streams Zen . A small group of us will also sit in a private residence. Email if you would like to join us via zoom or know of a beautiful light filled warm clean private room available for a long term lease for us in Cork City Centre, preferably free or for a peppercorn rent!


Thursday 7pm

Please email corkzen@gmail.com if you would like to sit in person, or to get an invitation to sit via zoom.

If you haven't any experience of sitting in a zen dojo, please contact us to arrange an introduction.

Past Events

Sunday January 24th 2019

We welcomed James Moyne back to the Cork Zen dojo.

February 2019

Zen day with Ryumon


European Zen (History):

In 1967 a Japanese monk, Taisen Deshimaru, came to Paris to establish the first Zen dojo in Europe. He was in the lineage of the great Soto Zen master, Dogen Zenji; and so the seeds of the Buddha Dharma were transmitted into Europe as the practice of "Zazen Shikantaza" (just sitting). Deshimaru taught for 15 years, during which dojos were established throughout Europe, as well as the first Zen temple, la Gendronne, in Blois. The Sangha became known as "The Deshimaru Sangha" until his death in 1982 later becoming known as "AZI" (Association Zen International)

Zen in Ireland

In the early 1990’s one of Deshimaru's disciple’s, Alain Leibman came to Ireland and opened the first Zen dojo in Galway. Later a dojo in Dublin and Cork were started. Alain transmitted the practice as taught by Deshimaru, which was based on the Zen monastic tradition in Japan. Dojos usually had someone, either ordained as a monk or nun, or alternatively, an experienced practitioner, in charge. People were encouraged to wear traditional black kimono's - whether ordained or not.

Practice comprised 2 sitting periods (40/45 mins.); a walking period ( 8/10min ) and finally a ceremony with the chanting of the. "Hannah Shingyo" (The Great Wisdom Sutra - also known as the "Heart Sutra") chanted in sino-Japanese .

As well as regular Zen days in the different dojos, Alain also held Zen weekends in Connemara every 2 months and there was an annual "sesshin " (residential retreat) in Innis Mor, Aran Isles, for three wks., attended by, not only people from the Irish Shangha, but from France and Germany also .

Cork Zen Dojo’s history 2008-current

Bram Barrett had been involve in the Deshinaru Sangha in England for 5 yrs. and also lived in Kanshoji Zen Monastery, in the Dordogne, France, for 3 yrs. as a senior monk. He had attended sesshin with Alain and the Irish sangha in France and Ireland . He spoke with Alain pre 2008 regarding wanting to live and practice in Ireland, Alain suggested he take over the responsibility of the Cork dojo as the person in charge was leaving and there had been some upheaval there. When he arrived in Cork in 2008, it quickly became obvious that most of those practicing in the dojo had either left or where about to leave until finally there was only one person attending each week (Rob Miller).

Both from a financial and practical perspective, the dojo was no longer tenable. Bram considered to just tell Alain he was closing the place and moving the practice to his house in Cobh. After some discussion with Rob, he decided to give a series of introductory talks on Zen practice in the dojo, hoping to attract some interest and some revenue, so the Dojo could continue. The "Zen course", as people kept calling it, was 3 consecutive Monday evenings to familiarise people with Zazen practice in the dojo at a cost of 30 euros. Over a three year period about 100 people came and experienced a bit of "Zen talk", and short sitting periods. In the end it was definitely worth doing, because it meant the dojo would not have to close. Sittings continued with 2 morning and 2 evening periods, and monthly Zen days were held at the house in Cobh.

Bram announced to Alain and the Sangha that he would be leaving at the end of 2012, at this time was no one prepared to assume responsibility for the Cork group. It was obvious that Cork Zen dojo would have to make its own way in the future if it was to survive. Bram discussed with the group that the best way was for them to continue was on the basis of "shared responsibility", where there would be no longer any single person in charge overall and that individuals would have to support each other in deciding who to invite to give teaching.

From 2012 - 2020 a core group of practicioners has assumed shared responsibility for the running of the dojo and Zazen practice is still happening in Cork. Sitting occurs every week and zen teachers are invited to teach on a regular basis

Contact us

Please email us for more information, or to arrange an introduction.