Introducing ZPI Affiliate Group: Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago

To strengthen our planetary network, ZPI will feature newly affiliated groups.     

Join us here at  to explore some of the offerings of the organizations affiliated with ZPI.

The following is an introduction to Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago.

What is your organization’s name?

Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago.

What is your mission?

Our mission is to empower people to live a Zen-inspired life of openness, empathy, and clarity.

Each of us faces times of upheaval and stress. We are often faced with a bewildering array of choices on a daily basis, and a technological environment that is fast-paced and all-pervasive. In our interactions with others, sometimes it is hard to find common ground. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

If you feel some disconnection in your life taking place, we’re here to help. We created this Center and its programs with you in mind. ZLMC is a diverse Zen Buddhist Sangha in the White Plum tradition with people from all walks of life and many different religions.

Where is your organization based?
Oak Park, IL

How many regular members do you serve?


Tell us a bit about how the group was conceived?

The center was founded by Roshi Robert Joshin Althouse, and its full history can be explored Here.


Tell us about one exciting project, retreat, or other offerings that you are currently working on.

Unlike many of the new ‘apps’ out there, ZLMC is part of a long Zen Buddhist spiritual tradition with a practice that has evolved over the ages. This experience means we can support you skillfully along the way as you establish your practice. We have a community of people from all walks of life and different religions practicing together. We’re helping people to meditate and stay connected during the pandemic with our Commit to Sit program. ZLMC supports your practice daily through our Commit to Sit offering.

Commit to Sit is an online meditation group to foster our practice with the encouragement of others – even when circumstances or distance present a challenge. Join us for:

  • Daily Online Mindfulness Meditation on ZOOM

  • Weekly group discussions with Q&A on practice

  • Daily tips on mindfulness and meditation

  • Online discussion groups and study

Learning to do zazen? Our online meditation group is a great place to start! Email for questions on how to begin. To learn more about the Commit-to-Sit program, you can visit our website HERE.

How do the Three Tenets inform your social engagement? 

We are making a difference with our Zen Heart Way outreach by supporting people to meet basic needs in these challenging times. At the beginning of 2020, as the pandemic began to set in, we were faced with the question of how to respond to this global crisis. By patiently and lovingly bearing witness and approaching the challenge with an open heart, the answer emerged in the form of Zen Heart Way (formerly ZenCare): a program initially conceived to make masks for marginalized and at-risk communities. The Sangha organized to design, craft, and distributed durable handmade masks to over 3,500 people in need in Chicago and around the country. As needs change and new opportunities to engage have emerged our mission has evolved to include a greater outreach: offering assistance and compassionate care to those in need. Administered by the Priests of ZLMC and lovingly carried out by the Sangha – Zen Heart Way continues to address hunger, privation, and need wherever it is found. To learn more about the Zen Heart Way outreach or to become part of it, please visit our website HERE.

What is the most meaningful challenge your organization faces?

Distance and isolation continue to affect vast numbers of people, so we are acting to bring our offerings into the virtual space in a way that is truly engaging and meaningful.

Your main website URL:

Your main contact  for members:

Rev. Michael Shikan Brunner, Executive Director


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Introducing ZPI Affiliate Group: Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago

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