- Zen Mind Beginner's Mind (Shunryu Suzuki)
- Opening the Hand of Thought (Kosho Uchiyama)
- The Compass of Zen (Seung Sahn)
The meaning of the word zen is meditation, zazen means sitting meditation. In zazen practice we begin to know ourselves, and to go beyond the limits of our personal ego. Within our tradition zazen is referred to as shikantaza (just sitting), not doing, letting go of thoughts, dropping off body and mind. This sitting meditation is the focus of our practice. Language limits our ability to communicate the true nature of zen; it is something that is better understood through practice. We are open to everyone interested in learning about zen.
Our group has been active since 1991 and currently has four practice centres, Galway, Dublin, Limerick and Ranelagh, all are closed due to the pandemic but provide opportunities for practice through zoom. In general, our practice accords with the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, as transmitted by the Japanese monk Taisen Deshimaru, who came to Europe in 1967. More recently we have also been influenced by the work of Maezumi Roshi, a Japanese Zen Master who came to the USA in the 1950s, and combined Rinzai and Soto teaching methods.
Alain Tai Nan Liebmann, having received monk ordination from Master Deshimaru in 1976, came to Ireland in the 1990s. Shortly after arriving he set up dojos in Galway, Dublin and Cork. In later years he spent time living at Gotanjoji temple in Fukui province, Japan, and received shiho (dharma transmission) from the abbot of that temple, Kōshū Itabashi Zenji, in 2013, and zuise (transmission certificate) from the Soto school. Alain left Ireland in 2014. He is currently the abbot of La Gendronnière, the mother temple of the Deshimaru lineage in the Loire Valley in France.
Mary Soshin Laheen is the teacher at Earth+Sky Zen Dublin Dojo. Mary received shiho (dharma transmission) from Robert Kennedy Roshi in 2019. She has been practicing zen since the mid 1990s, received tokudo ordination from Alain Tai Nan in 2003, and subsequently from Kōshū Itabashi Zenji at Gotanjoji Temple, Japan in 2008. She is a member of the White Plum Asanga, an affinity group of Maezumi lineage teachers.
Tom Ji Kai Cleary has been practicing zen since 1992. He received monk ordination from Alain Tai Nan in 1996 and from Kōshū Itabashi Zenji in 2011. Tom was shuso (head monk) for Alain for many years. He is the person responsible for the Galway dojo, and leads zazen days there, as well as retreats/sesshins in Ireland and occasionally in Europe.
Paidí Ó Dúbhshláine has been practicing zen since the 1970s. He is a deacon and ordained local minister at St Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway, and is currently training for ordination as a priest in the Church of Ireland. He is the tenzo (cook) for our community, and currently facilitates zoom zazen from the Galway Zen Dojo.
We encourage people to practice daily meditation, something that has become central to the lives of zen practitioners in our community, even though we may have jobs, families and worldly responsibilities. Through our practice we recognise ‘zen mind’ in our daily life. We organize Zazen days, weekend retreats/ sesshins, and a week-long retreat during the summer.