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While we are open to all those genuinely interested in authentic, meditation-based Zen practice, membership in this Meetup site requires personal instruction in zazen by our teachers before approval (for those with no prior Buddhist meditation experience). We are not an educational, philosophical or social-networking group and we use Meetup specifically for communications and scheduling notification. For additional information about our group, please see our website at .

Please note: Our meetings are not open to the general public. You must be invited by our teacher before attending any Tuesday night sitting. Please do not come to a Tuesday night sitting without invitation.

If you are interested in joining LDC for regular zazen practice and instruction, please request membership approval on this site. You will receive an email from one of our teachers requesting your attendance at a group sitting for personal zazen instruction if you are new to the practice.

Instruction for new members is held on the first Tuesday of every month--in our Northampton zendo, from 6:35 PM to 7 PM, followed by our usual group meditation (until 9 PM). Please indicate to organizer when you will be attending if you need this instruction (as it is not automatically held).

All sitting cushions and/or chairs are provided although you may bring your own cushions. Please wear loose-fitting clothing appropriate for seated meditation.

General information:

The Living Dharma Center is a long-established Zen group devoted to the teaching and practice of authentic Zen meditation (zazen), founded by Roshi Richard Clarke in 1972. Roshi Clarke died on August 9, 2013 at age 80 after a prolonged illness. His flexible and compassionate approach to teaching Zen lives on through his two Dharma heirs, Sensei Paul Gerstein and Sensei Norma Salter. His Dharma lives on as well in the hearts and minds of his many students during his 40 years of teaching.

Zen is a spiritual practice free of all beliefs and without dependence upon rituals, doctrine or dogma. The foundation of Zen is one's personal zazen practice and everyday mindful living, guided by true teachers in a lineage handed down from the Buddha to the present day. Zen aims at awakening one's full potential as a human being.

The Living Dharma Center is devoted to authentic Zen practice. Our main teacher is Sensei Paul Gerstein, with assistance from Sensei Norma Salter. Our approach is a flexible amalgam of Soto Zen (mindfulness meditation) and Rinzai Zen (koan practice) from the Harada-Yasutani-Kapleau lineage. We emphasize zazen as the very core of our practice.

We meet every Tuesday evening for group sitting practice from 7-9 PM in our beautiful zendo at The State Room [left-side driveway between The Center and India House restaurant, rear entrance under awning] at The Center at 35 State Street, Northampton, MA 01060. (Please arrive about 10 minutes early.)

Zen meditation retreats (zazenkai and sesshin), from one to seven days in length, are offered regularly. Our sesshin retreat center is located in Leyden, MA.

Personal instruction (dokusan) and weekly Zen talks (teisho), as well as group zazen practice, are offered at our primary location in Northampton on Tuesday evenings (7-9 PM).

A newly published book on Zen practice by Sensei Paul Gerstein is now available via this link:

Our membership (Sangha) is warmly supportive and inviting. We are open to all who are interested in authentic Zen practice including beginners to meditation and experienced practitioners from any tradition. There is no required membership fee, but members are expected to make regular donations ($25/month is suggested) to cover our necessary expenses.

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