Albuquerque Zen Center

A quiet place in a noisy, anxious world. Teaching meditation since 1989.

The Albuquerque Zen Center offers daily practice and study opportunities to anyone interested in exploring Rinzai Zen Buddhism. It is an urban practice center, with a diverse lay sangha (community) drawn from many walks of life.

Please help if you can.

We are excited to let you know that we are—thanks to the generosity of several people—now up to $11,550 towards our goal of $30,000 to be able to set up a solar hot water heating system to cut way down on our enormous propane gas bills! ONLY $18,450 left to go! 🙏🏽

And of course its snowing again today, and with the snowflakes we can see (well, visualize) 100-dollar bills flying away with the cold. PS We've swept the snow off the top of the tank many, many times so the delivery person can read the gauge.

If you'd like to help us reach our goal, here's one way to donate:!/donation/checkout
#DoingGood #PTSD #WomenVeterans #Mindfulness

Buddhism Plain and Simple: a one-month introduction to Buddhist teachings

The Albuquerque Zen Center will offer an introductory class on Buddhism from February 17 through March 14. The class is intended to study Buddhism through practicing Buddhism.

Students who wish to attend should register with the AZC office and begin reading Steve Hagen’s book “Buddhism Plain and Simple.” We will study the Buddha’s basic teaching as we incorporate daily zazen (meditation) into our everyday routine.

Participants are expected to read and be prepared to discuss the book at weekly discussions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6 – 7 pm. Additionally, participants are expected to come daily for morning or evening zazen practice, and participate in the Saturday mid-morning work and zazen. On Sunday mornings during the class there will be an optional silent sunrise walk from 7 – 8 am.

Participants can meet with Seiju individually to discuss practice questions during “office hours” which will be available on Wednesday and Thursday, noon until 1 pm, during the class.

A donation to the Center is requested, but not required. If there are conflicts in your schedule, you can discuss the situation with Seiju beforehand.

This is an opportunity to study Buddhism through practicing the three treasures: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. Please contact the office at [email protected] if you have any questions.

The book, “Buddhism Plain & Simple” is readily and cheaply available on the used book market via or Amazon.

The Albuquerque Zen Center

Here's a link to an excellent article on the Context of Impermanence by Andrew Olendzki. There is quite a bit to unpack in this one. I hope you enjoy this and that the information makes a deep impact upon your life and your practice.

Donate to Campaign for Solar Heating

Mitra Bishop, Roshi, our friend and a great supporter of the Albuquerque Zen Center Sangha asks for our help. As you know, Roshi frequently comes to the Albuquerque Zen Center to hold quarterly Zazenakai/Day Sits with us.
Roshi founded the Mountain Gate Sanmon-ji in Ojo Sarco New Mexico where she runs a Buddhist lay and monastic practice community. She asks for our help.

Although the main building at Mountain Gate is super-insulated and has a high-efficiency heating system, they have been facing extremely high (though competitive) propane bills. If they can take advantage of the plentiful and intense, high altitude sun in the northern New Mexico mountains, using solar water or glycol collectors to heat the water that keeps the floors warm and hot water available at the faucets, they can heat the building for almost nothing once a solar system is paid for. This would make it much easier to offer her programs, including the free, nonsectarian, Regaining Balance Retreats for Women Veterans with PTSD, as well as ongoing opportunities for people interested in Zen meditation and meditation retreats.

Their bills are so high that an investment of $30,000 for a solar setup would be paid back in just 5-6 years. This investment depends on your help. Please consider making a vital donation!

You can make a BIG difference!

If you can, please support Mountain Gate and their programs by clicking on the link below, or, if you need additional information, please contact her at:, or

For donations go to click on the link below.

Thank you for your assistance and support. Although our main building here at Mountain Gate is super-insulated and has a high-efficiency heating system, we have been facing extremely high (though competitive) propane bills.  If we can take advantage of the plentiful and intense, high altitude sun in these northern New Mexico mountains, usin...

The Albuquerque Zen Center

Treatise on Sitting Meditation
Daikaku (1213-1279)
Question: The essence of sitting meditation is the nonproduction of a single thought; trying to stop thought by thought is like washing blood with blood—what should we do?

Daikaku: The nonproduction of a single thought is what is known as the original essence of the mind. It is not stopping thought, yet it is also not not stopping thought; it is just the nonproduction of a single thought. If you merge with this original essence, this is called the realization of thusness of the reality of things. Thus, even sitting meditation is no use here—there is no illusion, no enlightenment, so how could there be thoughts?

If you do not know this original essence, you cannot help but produce thoughts; even if you suppress them so they don't arise, this is all still ignorance. It is like a rock lying on the grass; before long the grass will grow again. You should work on meditation most meticulously and carefully; don't take it easy.

Question: Some say we should turn to the point where not a single thought is born; what about this?

Daikaku: The nonproduction of a single thought is an expression referring to complete absence of any signs of birth, extinction, going, or coming. Birth and death come from the mind: if you don't know where thoughts come from, you cannot know the root of birth and death. Sentient beings are constantly afflicted by lustful, angry, foolish thoughts which compel them, making them turn away from their inherent nature.

If the clouds of delusive thought clear, the moon of the nature of mind appears; the thoughts you hated before then become knowledge and wisdom, and you can use these thoughts to talk about reality and teach sentient beings. An ancient said, "You people are used by the twenty four hours; I make use of the twenty four hours."

Question: You say that when sitting in meditation, it is wrong when thoughts arise, yet wrong to stop them—so then what?

Daikaku: Before you have seen reality, creating and stopping thoughts are both wrong. It says in the Buddhist scriptures sometimes not to create false ideas, and sometimes it says not to cease and pass away. These are words to let us know of the fundamental reality. If you know fundamental reality, then cultivation of practice is not necessary. When the disease of illusion and delusion is removed, then there is no more use for cures. Even so, when the disease of delusive feelings arise, then you need the cure of cultivation of practice. Thoughts arising is the disease; not continuing is the medicine.

Question: Even if thoughts arise, they have no reality of their own; what is wrong?

Daikaku: Even though they have no reality of their own, as soon as they arise you go wrong. It's like things in a dream—when you awaken you realize they were unreal; were you not mistaken? That which makes mistakes and produces dreams is sentient beings' false views. One day if they hear a teaching of enlightenment and are inspired with faith, this is much better. Even so, those who do not have a really genuine aspiration for enlightenment do not realize the errors of their minds because their application of effort is not careful.

Even though from time to time they suppress small thoughts, they are not aware of the big thoughts. If you do not cut off the root source, even if you have some affinity with the way, it will be impossible to escape birth and death.

Question: The sixth patriarch said: "Do not think any good or bad at all." To have no thoughts about good or bad surely is the essential point of sitting meditation; what are little thoughts and big thoughts?

Daikaku: "Do not think any good or bad at all" are words that cut through directly; not only in sitting meditation are they to be applied. If you reach this state, walking, standing, sitting, and lying down are all meditation; no need to cling to the form of sitting.

A patriarch said, "Walking is also meditation; sitting is also meditation; speaking, silent, active or still, the body is peaceful." One of the Buddha's discourses says we are always in it, walking around, sitting, lying down.

Little thoughts are thoughts that suddenly arise about what is before you. Big thoughts are throughts of things like greed, hatred, folly, false views, conceit, jealousy, name and fame, profit, and support. When sitting in meditation, those whose wills are weak may keep back little thoughts, but such evil thoughts as these big ones will remain unawares in their minds. These are called big thoughts.

Giving up these big bad thoughts is called directly cutting off the root source; afflictions become enlightenment, folly becomes wisdom, the three poisons become the three bodies of pure discipline, ignorance becomes the objective reality of great knowledge—need we speak of little thoughts?

Buddha said, "If you can transform things, you are the same as those who realize thusness." That's what this means. If you can transform things, don't be transformed by things.

Question: "If you can transform things, you are the same as those who realize thusness"--what are things, what is transformation?

Daikaku: Things are everything; transformation is complete liberation. Transforming things means that your mind is immutable in the midst of all things, turning back to fundamental nature, objects do not hinder the mind. Heavenly demons, ghosts and spirits, afflictions, birth and death cannot overcome you. This is call transforming things.

The essential point to watch is not to shift your mind onto things. Even views of Buddha nd Dharma should be cut off, to say nothing of false thoughts; although the cutting mind seems like the thinking mind, this is right thought, and right thought is called wise thought. This is the knowledge and wisdom which enters into right seeing.

Question: It is clear that afflictions and enlightenment come from the mind, but just where do they begin?

Daikaku: Seeing forms, hearing sounds, smelling odors, tasting flavors, sensing feelings, cognizing phenomena, are the functions of the powers of the six faculties; among these sense fields, that which distinguishes good and bad, discriminates false and true, is wisdom. Herein to set up others and self, producing love and hate, all are wrong views; development of attachment to forms based on these wrong views is called delusion, and from this delusion arise matter, sensation, perception, coordination, and consciousness—the five clusters—this is called affliction.

Because sentient beings' physical bodies are built of afflictions, they indulge in murder, theft, adultery, falsehood, and other evil actions, and eventually degenerate into evil paths. All this comes from wrong thoughts; as soon as these wrong thoughts arise, if you can turn them right around toward fundamental reality, then you can attain mindlessness. Once you rest in no mind, then the five clusters become the five-element body of reality of those who come to realize thusness. This is called "abiding nowhere, yet activating the mind." Using your mind in this way is the great function of cultivation of practice.

Question: Someone who has long developed accomplishment at sitting meditation and whose work is pure and mature should not have any afflictions or delusion in his mind; how can those who are just beginning to cultivate practice put an end to afflictions?

Daikaku: Don't despise afflictions, just purify your mind. An ancient said "To study the way you must be made of iron; lay hold of the mind and it's settled. Directly approaching unexcelled enlightenment, don't worry about any right or wrong." Laying hold of the mind means judging if the mind is in a proper state or not; those who know their minds' errors are wise ones, and those with wisdom should not be deluded.

It is like taking a lamp into a dark cave where sunlight or moonlight has never come in; the old darkness doesn't go outside, but suddenly it becomes light inside. With the light of wisdom, the darkness of ignorance and affliction don't have to go away to be gone. At night the sky is dark, but when the sunlight comes out, the sky becomes daylight. The mind is also like this; illusion is darkness, enlightenment is light—when the light of wisdom shines, the darkness of affliction suddenly turns light. Enlightenment is not something separate.

Daikaku (1213-1279)

Excerpted from The Original Face: An Anthology of Rinzai Zen-trans and ed by Thomas Cleary 1987


If someone asks me what Buddhism is, I tell them that it's seeing the world upside-down.

Although many people around the world harm others in their quest to build a self-centered existence, Buddhism is the opposite:

It's the process of eliminating the concept of a separate self and living for others. And to conventional society, that's seeing the world upside-down.

The Albuquerque Zen Center

Albuquerque Zen Center

Albuquerque Zen Center's cover photo

The Albuquerque Zen Center
"A Quiet Place in a Noisy World"

"When one devotes oneself to meditation, mental burdens, unnecessary worries, and wandering thoughts drop off one by one; life seems to run smoothly and pleasantly. A student may now depend on intuition to make decisions. As one acts on intuition, second thought, with its dualism, doubt and hesitation, does not arise."


Celebrating 30 Years
The Albuquerque Zen Center
"A Quiet Place in a Noisy World"

"We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away"


Walk with Peace in Every Step today and every day.

With Love and Respect,
The Albuquerque Zen Center

Here's a link to Thich Nhat Hanh's book, "Peace is Every Step".

The Albuquerque Zen Center
51. Reconcile unhappiness with sincerity, affirmation, and decisiveness, rather than hesitation, passivity, and vacillation.
52. Worldly matters are never easy; but approach them with confidence and patience, and achievement will surely follow.
53. Live the present with no regret about the past and no regard for the future.
54. Reduce stress by diminishing the mind of gain and loss and increasing the mind of appreciation.
55. No resentment or regret about the past; active, positive preparation for the future with stability in every step.
56. Don't talk gratitude; act it.
57. Have no worry as you pass through the day. Find the right person; use the right method; the right moment will arise.
58. Abandon concern for gain and loss; an all-embracing wisdom appears before you.
59. Give your disease to the doctor and your life to the bodhisattva, then you'll be a healthy person with nothing to worry about.
60. A lack of self-understanding increases vexation.

From “The 108 Adages of Wisdom”
Venerable Sheng Yen

You can download an unrestricted copy of the full Adages from here –

This is a marvelous practice exercise for looking into the nature of "mind". Work with this exercise. Observe carefully. And look deeper. If my mind is not this, what is it?

I urge you to try this, not just once but several times.

Come and sit with us and explore these concepts and the nature of mind even further.

The Albuquerque Zen Center

To understand how delusion arises, practice watching your mind. Begin by simply letting it relax. Without thinking of the past or the future, without feeling hope or fear about this thing or that, let it rest comfortably, open and natural. In this space of the mind, there is no problem, no suffering. Then something catches your attention - an image, a sound, a smell. Your mind splits into inner and outer, self and other, subject and object. In simply perceiving the object, there is still no problem. But when you zero in on it, you notice that it's big or small, white or black, square or circular; and then you make a judgment - for example, whether it's pretty or ugly. Having made that judgment, you react to it: you decide you like it or don't like it. That's when the problem starts, because "I like it" leads to "I want it." We want to possess what we perceive to be desirable. Similarly, "I don't like it" leads to "I don't want it." If we like something, want it, and can't have it, we suffer. If we don't want it, but can't keep it away, again we suffer. Our suffering seems to occur because of the object of our desire or aversion, but that's not really so - it happens because the mind splits into object-subject duality and becomes involved in wanting or not wanting something.

***from the book "Gates to Buddhist Practice: Essential Teachings of a Tibetan Master"

A Quiet Place in a Noisy World

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2019, the Albuquerque Zen Center was founded in 1989 and offers daily practice and study opportunities to anyone interested in exploring Zen Buddhism. It is an urban practice center, with a diverse lay sangha (community) drawn from many walks of life. In addition to a robust daily sitting schedule, AZC activities and events include weekly dharma discussions, monthly beginner’s instruction, community work practice (samu), family zendo, full moon sits, guest teacher visits, Forest Bathing wilderness excursions, and jodo training.

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2300 Garfield Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM

Opening Hours

Monday 05:30 - 07:30
Tuesday 17:30 - 19:00
Tuesday 05:30 - 07:30
Wednesday 17:30 - 19:00
Wednesday 05:30 - 08:30
Thursday 17:30 - 19:00
Thursday 05:30 - 07:30
Friday 05:30 - 07:30
Saturday 05:30 - 14:00
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