Zen temple affiliated with White Plum lineage.
Racially mixed, with a majority of Caucasians. The temple founder/leader is African American. Services are in English. The ratio of male to female is about 50/50. A lot of young people (many students from La Salle University) attend.
Practitioners practice Zazen meditation, chanting, prayer, bowing, walking meditation, and loving kindness. The interviewee claims that all of these practices can be very beneficial for individuals suffering from anxiety and depression. They help practitioners become mindful of the present, and to become more aware of their mind and body.
According to the interviewee, zazen meditation is what best supports the practitioner’s health and wellness. Meditation allows for the cultivation of peace and stillness, which according to the interviewee promotes healing. Over time, practitioners become more patient and less reactive, which in turn lowers their stress level and has an overall positive effect on their health and wellbeing. Also, practitioners become more aware of their wellbeing and start to take better care of themselves, changing their lifestyle and following better diets.
Additionally, they chant the Heart Sūtra whenever someone in the temple community or a loved one is ill. After the chanting, the priest offers a healing service and all the practitioners ask that the person be healed. The interviewee claims that when all the practitioners in the sangha focus their attention on the ill person and direct their energy and intention to that person, it helps that person heal.
The interviewee talked about the interconnectedness between people, and emphasized that healing offered for someone else is also beneficial to one’s self. He also stated that recognizing emptiness and the sources of suffering is how people can come to a place where they can heal and help others heal mentally, physically, and spiritually. The temple also offers periodic workshops that deal with understanding stress, how stress can cause different illnesses, and how meditation offers relief.