Welcome to the Tampa Zen Center

The Buddha taught that ignorance, created by our greed, hate and delusion, prevents us from realizing that we are all enlightened. The Zen school of Buddhism teaches that the practice of sitting in meditation (Japanese: Zazen) directly manifests our inborn enlightenment, our Buddha Nature. 

In Zen practice, seated meditation and enlightenment are one. There is no preliminary training or elaborate preparation necessary to realize the Way.

The Soto School of Japanese Zen practice was founded in the 13th century by the Zen Master Eihei Dogen. In his instructions on how to meditate, Dogen writes:

You should...cease from practice based on intellectual
understanding...and learn from the backward step that turns
your light inwardly to illuminate your self. Body and
mind of themselves will drop away, and your original
face will be manifest...The zazen I speak of is not
learning meditation. It is simply the...gate of repose and
bliss, the practice-realization of totally culminated
enlightenment. It is the manifestation of ultimate reality.

Zen also stresses that the world of enlightenment is the everyday world we all know. "Carrying water and chopping wood are the activities of the Buddha." and "The everyday mind is Buddha." are two of the most well-known Zen sayings. Zen realization shows us that we are directly connected to and dependent on all living beings and everything that exists. Compassionate concern for the welfare of others and for the environment flow naturally from this insight.

Tampa Zen Center (TZC) was first opened as an affiliate of the great San Francisco Zen Center in December, 2006, and met at the Lotus Room on Kennedy Boulevard. TZC then met for 3 years at TreeHouse Yoga on the Hillsborough River. We now meet at Aikido Chuseikan of Tampa Bay. The Aikido center is located close to the heart of Ybor City at 1302 15th Street North, Suite B, Tampa, FL 33605. TZC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all recorded donations are tax deductible.

Founded by the late Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (deceased 1971), SFZC is the largest Buddhist training center outside of Asia. It's "City Center" is located in the Fillmore District in San Francisco.
SFZC's Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, the first Zen monastery in America, is located near Carmel, California. Tassajara is open to outside guests in the Summertime only. SFZC's 3rd location is Green Gulch Farm, a large 30-acre organic farm and practice center on the Pacific Ocean in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge from the City.

Suzuki's teachings have been continued by his disciples. The late Dainin Katigiri Roshi, founder of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center (MZMC), joined Suzuki Roshi in the 1960s to teach at the San Francisco Zen Center. Suzanne Suarez Hurley, Director of the TZC, was first a student of Dainin Katigiri at MZMC, then lived at Tassajara and SFZC where she practiced and studied with Richard Baker Roshi. Suzanne is a student of Mel Weitsman Roshi of the Berkeley Zen Center in California.

Since TZC was founded, it has enjoyed visits by several wonderful Zen teachers in the Soto Zen lineage, including Edward Espe Brown, Steve Weintraub, Susan Postal, Marc Lesser, Victoria Austin, Rosalie Curtis, Jordan Thorn and Arlene Lueck all of whom trained, practiced and teach at the San Francisco Zen Center. 

Choro Carla Antonaccio from the Chapel Hill Zen Center visited us in February 2013. The Tampa Zen Center has teachers from the SFZC visit at least once a year.

“The purpose of studying Buddhism is not to study Buddhism, but to study ourselves. To study ourselves is to forget ourselves. When we forget ourselves, we actually are the true activity of the big existence, or reality itself.” - Shunryu Suzuki Roshi

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Gratitude naturally arises as one enters practice and experiences the support of Sangha, the community of practitioners. One way to express our gratitude is through Dana (generosity) in the practice of regular membership giving. While no one needs to formally join the Tampa Zen Center in order to share in our practice, TZC is only able to exist through contributions of time and money by committed supporters. Membership pledges are the cornerstone of the budget that makes our existence possible. 

e encourage members to contribute $25 a month, if possible.

If you wish to make a donation, Tampa Zen Center is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and all recorded donations are tax deductible. Donations can be made through our PayPal account.

If you would like more information about becoming a member or making a tax deductible donation please contact us at tampazencenter1@gmail.com or you may call the Director, Suzanne Hurley, at (813) 230-4019.

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