How to Do Zazen (Zen Meditation): Dogen’s Instructions

Sunday 19th January 2020: 1:30-3:30pm  

@ The Shambhala Meditation Centre,
(in the Young Place Shopping Center) (see details below)



“All people throughout the world are without doubt equally imprinted with Buddha-nature. However, without the practice of zazen (Zen meditation), the true nature and function of a person will not be manifested.

Dogen, in “A Universal Recommendation for Zazen”

Event overview

In 1227 Dogen, the founder of the Soto Zen sect of Buddhism in Japan wrote his basic instructions on how to do zazen in a short essay titled, “Fukenzazengi” = “A Universal Recommendation for Zazen.”

This essay contains both practical and more obscure information about zazen. For almost 800 years now Zen practitioners have used it both as a guide for sitting and debating what Dogen really meant.

In this meeting we will discuss two translations by Soto Zen teachers, Daigaku Rumme and Brad Warner, and then try to practice zazen according to Dogen’s instructions.

Discussion will include: 

(1) Instructions for body and breath.

(2) What should a person do with their thinking? What does Dogen mean when he writes, “Think of not thinking. “How is this done?” “By leaving thinking as-it-is. This is the essential method of zazen.”

(3) If everyone is already endowed with Buddha nature, what is the need for Zen sitting practice?

(4) What is the “backward step that turns the light inwards to illuminate the Self?”

If you’re interested in getting to the heart of Zen, join us on the 19th January and try to understand for yourself the meaning of Dogen’s instructions.

And then try to really sit. 

There will be time for discussion, questions, and two fifteen minute periods for Zen meditation experience.

Dogen Zenji


Arrival Time: Come from 1:10pm to 1:30pm

Session: 1:30-3:30pm

1:10pm – 1:30pm: Gather at Shambhala Center (see map below)

1:30pm: Welcome and Zen meditation

1:45pm: Discussion of Dogen’s Zen meditation instructions part 1 (led by Gary)

2:25pm: Break – chat time

2:35pm: Discussion of Dogen’s Zen meditation instructions part 2 (led by Reggie)

3:15pm: Zen meditation

3:30pm: Ends

This event is free of charge, however, in line with welcoming and supporting Zen Club programs we do ask for Dana (donations) to help with the expenses of the event.

It is in English only.

There is limited room of about 15 persons, so if you want to ensure a seat, come early. Reservations are not accepted.

If you would like to do some reading before the meeting, here are two books that have the two translations of Dogen’s “A Universal Recommendation for Zazen” that we are using for the discussions:


These books are available on Amazon.

About the Zen Club:

The Little Bangkok Sangha is open to Buddhists of all styles of practice. One type of Buddhist practice is Zen, which developed as part of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition in China and then Japan. Zen practitioners now are spread  around the world.

Zen has its own particular ideas and practices. The Zen Club explores these many facets of Zen. Each meeting focuses on a specific theme. Usually there is a presentation and discussion of the meeting theme. Occasionally Zen teachers have spoken at our meetings and also sometimes movies with themes related to Zen have been shown.

Some themes of past meetings are: the Four Noble Truths, Zen and the Eightfold Path, true self and original nature, Zen meditation, oneness, death, love, enlightenment, Zen literature, Zen koans, and the old Zen texts such as The Gateless Gate and the Blue Cliff Records.


Everyone who has an interest in the practice of Zen, whether they have any experience of Zen or not, is welcome. All a person needs is their inquiring mind and the willingness to look at oneself. In Zen, this is referred to as examining the ground on which one stands.

If you have any questions about Zen or wish to discuss anything about Zen, you can email Reggie Pawle at


About Reggie Pawle:

Reggie Pawle has been a Zen Buddhist practitioner since 1974. He has studied with Joshu Sasaki (Rinzai school) in the U.S. and with Sekkei Harada (Soto school) in Japan. He also sat with Buddhadasa Bhikkhu in 1989. He has a PhD in Buddhist causality, attachment and no-self. Reggie works as a psychotherapist, integrating Buddhism and Western psychology. Since 1999 he has been based in Japan, except for the three years he lived in Bangkok (2015 to 2018). His blog is at:

About Gary Rutland:

Gary Rutland has been studying Buddhism since 1990 and still has very little clue what to do.

However. Since discovering Zen Buddhism courtesy of Dogen fan-boy and ordained Soto Zen Monk Brad Warner he’s finally managed to sit down and shut up long enough to attend retreats in Thailand and England and establish a regular daily meditation practice of his own.

At the end of 2019 work will begin in Northern Thailand, 3 and a half hours north-east of Chiang Mai, on his own Zen Retreat Centre, with plans to host Buddhist studies and retreats along with other traditional healing disciplines.


The Shambhala Meditation Centre, 3rd Floor, Young Place Shopping Center, Sukhumvit Soi 23, Khwaeng Khlong Toei Nuea, Khet Watthana, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10110

The Bangkok Shambhala Meditation Center is located on Sukhumvit Soi 23 on the 3rd floor in the Young Place Shopping Center. From the Asoke BTS station or even closer from the Sukhumvit MRT, you can walk (10 minutes) or take a motorcycle taxi. Website:

Here is the map in English:


Shambhala Meditation Centre