Dear Friends, in support of the efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, DVZC will continue to hold practice online. If you wish to attend the online practice send an email to and request to be added to the weekly practice invitation list. ”

Statement Regarding 

Racial Justice and Equality

The Kwan Um School of Zen, an international community of Zen Buddhists, condemns police violence targeted at African-Americans and the larger, systemic racism that engenders this violence. As Buddhists, we are called to wake up to the reality of our world and to be of service to all beings. We support the goal of racial equality and affirm that we will work within our own organization and with others everywhere to create a more just and egalitarian nation and world. 

Our school is named for the Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion, Kwan Se Um Bosal, whose name means “one who hears the cries of the world.” It is time for all of us to listen more closely to the voices the victims of racism and state violence. For those of us born to white privilege, it is time to recognize that much of the “progress” our country has made toward racial and economic equality has been a delusion. 

In listening, let our actions be led by those whose cries have gone unheard and unheeded for centuries. Our enlightenment is the world’s enlightenment, and it must shine everywhere. The Australian activist Lilla Watson said “If you have come to help me, you’re wasting your time; but if you recognize that your liberation and mine are bound up together, we can walk together.”

One action is worth a thousand words. That one action of a white police officer murdering with impunity, a black man, George Floyd, by placing his knee on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty seconds is just the tip of the iceberg. Can our practice lead us to compassionate engagement with our communities? Can it help us to step out of our comfortable white social bubble and see that we have been complicit and added to racial injustice just by not seeing or hearing the cries of our brothers and sisters?

Without quoting the Buddha or the Bodhisattvas, what is our path? How do we open up to our innate compassion and wisdom? How do we stop all thoughts of self and other and enter into JUST THIS? The only true way we can be in a clear relationship with this planet and all of its many manifestations is to be willing to break the wall of self and other, and see things just as they are. Let us use our sadness and confusion as fuel and take a deeper look at our responsibility to each other. There’s never been a better time than right now!

In the dharma,

Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Bobby Rhodes)
Zen Master Wu Kwang (Richard Shrobe)
Zen Master Jok Um (Ken Kessel)
Kwan Haeng Sunim
Garret Condon


Kwan Um School Teaching Piece:

Keeping Your Center In A Turbulent World

Zen practice, and the freedom it brings, begins by unconditionally accepting our life, our situation and events without superimposing our desires or some attachment to a particular outcome. The marriage of traditional Buddhism with Taoism in China in the fifth century gave birth to Zen. The Taoist phrase “wu wei” is allowing things to happen naturally. Our insistence that events adhere to some ego based concept of our life is the root cause of our suffering. Zen says, follow the flow of the river and let life live through you. Learn to recognize and utilize the energy born out of nature. To freely flow requires letting go of our habit mind with all it’s attachments, wanting things to be a certain way. An earnest and continuous examination of what my teacher Zen Master Seung Sahn used to call “opposites thinking” is a good starting place. Look closely at your proclivity towards praise and blame, loss and gain, like and dislike as examples. When we function from a not moving fulcrum in our daily activities, everything we set out to do can be accomplished without being rigidly attached to some mentally predetermined outcome. This is true freedom. Carelessly allowing results to dominate our day to day actions is a dysfunctional way of attempting to control the uncontrollable. When we surrender to the natural cycle of things we are acknowledging that change as a universal principle is constantly informing our existence.

An ancient Chinese poem titled The Human Route says in part:

“Coming empty handed, going empty handed that is human.
When you are born, where do you come from?
When you die, where do you go?
Life is like a floating cloud which appears.
Death is like a floating cloud that disappears.”

Calamity and good fortune, birth and death, are simply two aspects of this oneness, this flow of life energy. Quit investing in ephemera and learn to stay in the moment. Don’t be pushed and pulled around by the illusion of your mundane goals. Realize that doing so only dissipates your life energy.

In closing I’d like to offer a quote from Hakuin Zenji. “When one learns to be calm and tranquil, without turbulence, the ancestral energy adapts itself spontaneously, producing an all-pervasive and unbroken qi energy. Know that this is the secret to preserving life.”

 By Zen Master Ji Haeng

About DVZC :Founded in 1999, Delaware Valley Zen Center (DVZC) offers to the community an environment for Zen practice. Our weekly practice includes chanting, sitting meditation and walking meditation. DVZC is one of more than sixty centers and groups worldwide affiliated with the Kwan Um School of Zen, an international organization founded by Zen Master Seung Sahn. Our guiding teacher is José Ramírez, JDPSN, who received Inka in April 2009. The Delaware Valley Zen Center (DVZC) is a 501(c)3 non-profit religious corporation of the State of Delaware. All donations are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. DVZC is supported, administered and maintained by its members.                                                                                                                         

About the Kwan Um School: 

Seung Sahn & The Kwan Um School of Zen: A brief introduction   


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Practice Schedule

Practice is held every Thursday evening at the New Ark United Church of Christ, 300 E. Main St, Newark, DE 19711.


Practice begins at 6:30pm with a short orientation for beginners, followed by chanting. We then have two 25 minute periods of sitting meditation with a 10 minute period of walking meditation in between.

Beginners are encouraged to attend the free Meditation Instruction session offered the first Thursday of each month at 6:30pm

There is no fee to attend our practice, you do not have to be a member.


Monkey Mind Zen,

is a new DVZC satellite.

The group meets in Philadelphia.

For information about their practice visit: