Zazen (meditation) and talks

with Barbara Jikai Gabrys Roshi

Meditation is a simple and natural activity which helps to focus mind and to maintain mental and physical health. In practical terms we explain, demonstrate and exercise four meditation postures and two fundamental meditation techniques. This is a non-sectarian approach which also explores links to mindfulness. There is an opportunity for a more in-depth study and one-to-one interview with Zen Master.

Week-end sesshins Saturday – Sunday  2 – 3 March, 6 -7 April, 22 – 23 June, 28 – 29 September 2024

In a nutshell, we’ll be starting early on Saturday morning, and continue until Sunday lunchtime. There will be free sitting on Friday evening. Food will be provided but if you don’t live in Oxford, you’ll need to find accomodation for one/two nights.

More info please email

Foundations of Zen practice: methods and philosophy

What? weekly meetings, blended: in person and via Zoom

Where? Wolvercote Zendo

When? Spring 2024, Thursdays 6.15pm – 8pm

Posture, breathing and fundamental types of meditation will be (re)examined and practised. Every week there will be a short presentation and discussion of philosophical aspects underlying Zen practice.

Highlights: zazen postures, koans, samadhi

Supporting text: Zen training by Katsuki Sekida (2005), Shambala Classics

Cost: donations on ‘what you can afford’ basis

Contact: email, phone 07967893145



Zazenkai, a one day retreat, is a day devoted to focusing mind and introspection.

Saturday 11 May (Oxford Quakers), 30 November (Oxford Quakers) 2024

Saturday 11 May: morning zazenkai, afternoon Zen brushwork with Alison Kaishin Churchill

Morning 9.30 – 12.30: Barbara Jikai Gabrys Rōshi

 Zen teachings – Compassion

 The art of life is to go beyond ‘ourselves’ and to help others. While compassion is central to all religions, Zen offers a unique bodymind approach of ‘gathering mind’.  We will explore sitting meditation (zazen), mindful movement and face-to-face interview (sanzen) with Jikai Rōshi.

Lunch break 12.30 – 13.45 Please bring some vegetarian/vegan food to share

Afternoon 13.45 – 17.00   Alison Kaishin Churchill, Zen teacher

 Zen Brushwork

Zen Brushwork is a focussed, relaxed yet dynamic practice – an expression of Zen in action.  Meditation and yōkihō (energy-raising movements) prepare the mind and body before we pick up the brush. The aim is not to produce perfectly formed characters, but to draw wholeheartedly.  If so, the lines will be full of vitality. 

No previous experience is required. Wear loose clothing for comfortable bending and drawing.

Retreat is suitable for all – beginners to experienced students.

Cost: £45, concessions £30 (students and unwaged). For Zen brushwork only: £20

Bookings:; phone 07967893145

Venue: Oxford Friends Meeting House, 43 St Giles’, Oxford OX1 3LW

Previous zazenkai

Saturday 3rd December 2022  ‘Zen teachings: forgiveness’

Over the course of life we interact with others and collect experiences. Some of these do not meet our expectations, and we end up hurt. The art of life is not just letting go but to forgive ourselves and others. While forgiveness is central to all religions, Zen offers a unique bodymind approach which we will explore during this day of ‘gathering mind’.

What is the code of conduct during the retreat? Here it is:

Practical information about the zazenkai

A one-day retreat – or zazenkai in Japanese – is a time of intense Zen practice when we turn our awareness inwards. When you have committed to this day, you may be sacrifying your free time or time with your partner or family.

Read more Practical information

Drop-in mindfulness meditation sessions – currently taught in University of Oxford colleges

Mindfulness meditation practices are simple and rewarding: their benefits include lowering stress, managing chronic pain, anxiety and anger, improving capability to relax and autoimmune response. Even on an ad-hoc basis you can notice positive changes – however more lasting results will be achieved with continuing practice.

This series of stand-alone meetings is a continuation of the course ‘Focus your mind: Zen for health and wellbeing’. Every meeting includes a short talk, discussion and gentle mindful movement followed by a group meditation. There are no prerequisites as full instructions on how to meditate will be given at every session. Comfortable clothing is advised; sitting on chairs or meditation cushions. There are handouts, guided meditation scripts to accompany each session as well as a short list of reference sources.

Session fee: donations are welcome when taught outside University of Oxford venues.

Further enquiries and register of interest please email:

More information about the past course Quakers-2019.pdf