220 Spring Avenue • Webster Groves, MO 63119 • (314) 961-6138 • info@missourizencenter.org  
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On This Page: [Best Time to Visit]   [General Info]   [Beginner's Night Info]   [Contact Info]


First Time Visitors

On This Page: [Best Time to Visit]   [General Info]   [Beginner's Night Info]   [Contact Info]


We’re happy that you’re thinking about visiting! This page is intended to address common questions that you may have.

This section will help you decide on the best time to visit:

Have you visited a Soto Zen center or temple before? If so, you will probably feel comfortable joining us at any of our scheduled times (see calendar). Simply watch what others do if questions regarding protocol arise during your visit (or ask). Please read on for additional valuable information.

Are you familiar with meditation but have not yet visited a Soto Zen center or temple? You will probably also feel comfortable visiting us at any of our scheduled times (see calendar). Since Zen Center protocol will be unfamiliar to you, you will want to be especially mindful of what others are doing and act accordingly. Arriving early is recommended so that you can ask questions prior to the beginning of meditation. We usually recite the “three refuges” after sitting. If you attend one of our periods that include chanting, feel free to follow along in our sutra book without feeling obligated to recite words you are not feeling ready to say. A sutra book is located at each sitting place. Feel free to peruse it before the meditation period begins. It is arranged according to the day of the week and sesshin (intensive sitting).

Are you unfamiliar with meditation and/or Buddhism? Are you visiting as part of a religious studies or comparative religions class? You may be most comfortableBeginner’s Night information below.

This section contains valuable information for all first time visitors:

Please, please, please respect the parking guidelines. We are in a residential neighborhood and the guidelines reflect the concerns of our neighbors and the City of Webster Groves. These guidelines are detailed below along with driving directions.

Please understand that the Zen Center is in an older residential building with steps at all entrances. As such, it is not wheelchair accessible.

Please be prompt. This means arriving 5-15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time in order to get into position.

Wear loose fitting clothes that will be comfortable for sitting on a low cushion. Avoid wearing slick pants that can cause you to slide off your cushion, or pants that are too tight.

Avoid strong perfumes or colognes, as they may be distracting or may cause an allergic reaction.

Our thermostat is set at 66 degrees when the weather is cold and we do not have air conditioning, so dress accordingly.

Leave your shoes on the shoe rack.

Feel free to use our closet for coats and personal articles.

Finish personal conversations with companions prior to entering.

Turn off pagers, cell phones, and watch alarms.

Feel free to use our second floor bathroom prior to sitting. However, others may have the same idea so please arrive earlier than you may otherwise arrive.

We have zafus (sitting cushions), zabutons (sitting mats), seiza benches, and chairs available for sitting.

Parking Guidelines: [See also this.] In order for the Zen Center to honor its promise to the City of Webster Groves and our neighbors, we ask that you not park on Spring Avenue, Dale Avenue, Oakwood, North Old Orchard or any of the other residential streets in this area. You may park on our side of the two lane driveway (the right side). Please note that the telephone pole can make backing out difficult. Pull up as far as possible in the driveway in order to maximize space. Realize that first in means last out! You may also park in the big public parking lot behind Stratton's restaurant, Imo’s, and Einstein’s on the northwest corner of North Old Orchard & Big Bend Road. If you are at the Zen Center and realize you need to use the public parking: Take Spring to Oakwood Avenue (left) to Big Bend. Make a right on Big Bend. Make the next right onto North Old Orchard. Take the second left into the parking lot. You may then enjoy a five minute stroll down North Old Orchard to Oakwood (veer right) to Spring (veer left). Or you may drive the walking route up to the parking lot by turning right onto Oakwood from Spring and then veering left onto North Old Orchard. You’ll see the parking on the right about the same time you see the backs of the businesses that face Big Bend.

Driving/Walking Directions:

See the map page, or you can always search Mapquest or Google Maps for 220 Spring Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119. Call 314-961-6138 if you have questions.

We are the first house on the right after you veer off of Oakwood and onto Spring. Our address is posted on the house and on a stone sign by the walkway leading to the house. The house is white frame construction and has a bamboo trellis along the front yard.

Via South Hanley Rd. – South Hanley becomes Laclede Station Road at Manchester. Continue south for about 1 mile. Turn right at Big Bend. Go about 1/4 mile and turn right onto Oakwood. Veer right onto Spring Avenue.

Via I-44 from the west – Take the Laclede Station/Murdoch exit. Stay in the far right hand lane and turn right on Laclede Station Road. Turn right onto Murdoch. Turn right onto Big Bend. Make an immediate left onto Oakwood. Veer right onto Spring Avenue.

Via I-44 from the east – Take the Shrewsbury exit. Turn left onto Shrewsbury. Turn left onto Big Bend Road. Pass Laclede Station Road. Turn right onto Oakwood. Veer right onto Spring Avenue.

Walking from the Sunnen Metrolink Station - You'll have a 15 min walk to the Zen Center. Go west on Laclede Station Road from the bus loop by the Metrolink platform (side street - not the main Laclede Station Road). Go left on S. Hanley Road/Laclede Station Road. Right on Tuxedo. Left on Yeatman Avenue. Right on Newport Avenue. Left on Spring Avenue. We're on the left just before you reach Oakwood Avenue.

This section contains information specific to our Beginner’s Night:

We understand that some people visit the Zen Center as part of a religious studies or comparative religions class. Others are looking to start a regular meditation practice. We welcome everyone and our format for these evenings reflects this welcoming attitude. With few exceptions, Beginner’s Night takes place on Monday evenings every month starting at 6:30 and is free of charge. However it may be possible that a special class requiring registration and tuition preempts Beginner’s Night. Please check the Events/Schedule section of this website to verify what is taking place.

The class begins promptly at 6:30 p.m. with an introduction to Buddhism and Zen meditation led by a student teacher. At 7:00 we are joined by Reverend Rosan Yoshida (abbot of Missouri Zen Center) for a 20 minute meditation period. Following meditation is explanation on zen and Q/A period led by our teacher, Reverend Rosan Yoshida until around 8:00 p.m.

Things to consider:

Space is limited. Registration is required if you are part of a group of six or more people.

We also request that individual attendees register 48 hours in advance to let us know your specific interest in Buddhism, experience level, and to convey any questions/concerns you may have (see contact information below).

Because our organization relies almost exclusively on donations in order to to function, a donation of $5-10 is suggested for Beginner's Night. If your financial situation does not allow for this, you are equally welcome to attend without a donation.

Please review the first time visitor guidelines.

Please arrive promptly at 6:30 so that the important instruction that takes place between 6:30 and 7:00 is not interrupted. Depending upon the circumstances late arrivals may not be accommodated.

You may want to visit our Zen Practice page to familiarize yourself with Buddhism, Zen, and zazen. You may wish to download Fukanzazengi (Universal Recommendation for Right Zazen) from our document downloads page.

Please register for the Beginners' class visit 48 hours in advance by email (preferable) or by phone. Contact us as well regarding specific questions or to discuss/notify us of any specific issues that are important to you.

Email: info@missourizencenter.org Phone: 314-961-6138

Thank you! We look forward to your visit!