Zen 101 – The Basics of Zen

Sunday 20th January 2019 1:30-3:30pm  

@ The Shambhala Meditation Centre,
(in the Yogatique building) (see details below)

Zen 101 – The Basics of Zen

Sunday 20th January 2019 1:30-3:30pm  

Arrive between 1:10pm and 1:30pm

@ The Shambhala Meditation Centre, (in the Yogatique building) (see details below)

What is Zen?

’Do you know yourself?’ ‘Who are you?’ If you were asked these questions, how would you respond? In answer to the earnest desire to know the essence of oneself, which means to meet the true Self, Zen offers the search for that self, and it can be undertaken anywhere at any time.” Sekkei Harada, Zen teacher


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 no need to book in advance, as there is plenty of room, but please come early so we can begin on time.

This meeting will cover the basics of Zen philosophy and practice, especially for those with little or no background in Zen. We will try to facilitate both an intellectual and experiential introduction to Zen. What is the history of Zen? How is Zen different from Theravada and other branches of Buddhism? How does Zen view the “three seals” of impermanence, suffering, and no abiding self? What is the Zen view of the Four Noble Truths? Why is meditation so central to Zen?  Zen emphasizes intuition and a “transmission outside the sutras” – what does this mean for modern everyday people? We’ll also talk about why Zen uses illogical ideas, paradox and humor, and how Zen uses poetry, stories and art as teaching tools.  There will be time for questions, discussion, and some Zen experience.

If you would like to do some reading of introductory books to Zen, a couple recommendations are written here. Both books are available on amazon.com or through Kinokuniya bookstore. If you have any questions from your reading of these books or any other source of Zen, please ask them during the Question and Answer periods.

Harada, Sekkei. (1998). (Daigaku Rumme, Trans.). The essence of Zen: Dharma talks given in Europe and America. Somerville, MA, USA: Wisdom.

Suzuki, Shunryu. (1970). Zen mind, beginner’s mind: Informal talks on Zen meditation and practice. New York: Weatherhill.  


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

  • 1:10pm – 1:30pm: Gather at Shambhala Center (see map below)
  • 1:30pm: Welcome and Zen meditation
  • 1:50pm: Basics of Zen philosophy (led by Joe)
  • 2:35pm: Break – chat time
  • 2:45pm: The Zen intuitive and mind-to-mind approach (led by Reggie)
  • 3:30pm: Ends


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 us directly at: joeshakarchi@gmail.com or reggiepawle@yahoo.com


Our regular facilitators are Joe and Reggie and from time to time we are also fortunate enough to host guest teachers.

About Joe Shakarchi:

Joe Shakarchi has been studying Buddhism since 1979, and was a student of Paul Haller and Norman Fischer at San Francisco Zen Center, where he also produced poetry and music events. He did PhD work on the influence of Buddhism on American poetry. Joe taught writing and literature at several schools, including San Francisco State University, while also publishing poetry and essays. His poetry and poetry/music CD and videos can be found on www.joeshakarchi.com. Joe has been living in Bangkok for six years, writing poetry, studying Theravada, and helping to spread the seeds of Zen.

About Reggie Pawle:

Reggie Pawle PhD, 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. He lived for three years in Bangkok (2015 to 2018), teaching psychology and studying Buddhism. He has now moved back to his Zen roots in Japan and comes to Bangkok for meetings and study. His blog is at: https://reggiepawle.wordpress.com


The Shambhala Meditation Centre, 116/8 Soi Sukhumvit 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 2nd floor of the Yogatique building. From the Asoke BTS station or even closer from the Sukhumvit MRT, you can walk (10 minutes) or take a motorcycle taxi. Tell the driver to take you to the car wash (pronounced “long loat” in Thai) on Soi 23. If you pass the car wash, you’ve gone too far. Website: http://bangkok.shambhala.info

Here are maps in English (one is larger than the other) and information in Thai:

Shambhala Meditation Centre