Becoming a shoken student


CityZen Teachers: 

Rachel Mansfield-Howlett Roshi 

Michelle Brandt Sensei 

Deanna Hopper Sensei 

Christopher Bell Sensei 

Gary Brandt Sensei 

Shoken literally means, “seeing one another,” and is the ceremony by which one formally undertakes guidance under a particular CityZen teacher. Individual meetings with a teacher, sometimes referred to as sosan, dokusan, or Work in the Room consist of regularly scheduled confidential private meetings that include conversations about your practice, koan work, and ways in which you can deepen your understanding of the meditation path. 

If after practicing with CityZen for some time, you feel the need for deeper understanding, you may apply to become a shoken student with one of our teachers. To apply, arrange a time to discuss your practice and situation with one of the teachers. Once the teacher accepts you as a student, the shoken ceremony is completed, and regular meetings have begun, contributions to the teacher by way of dana are encouraged and are based upon a sliding scale/ability to pay. 

The following list includes activities you may consider in the field of developing your practice. It shouldn’t be regarded as a to do list but rather as examples of ways to support your practice as well as contributing to the wellbeing of the world. 

  • Maintain a daily meditation practice. 
  • Walk in nature at every opportunity. 
  • Maintain your physical and mental health. 
  • Participate in weekly sangha evenings, full-day retreats, and sesshin. 
  • Commit to a regular dokusan/sosan schedule. 
  • Make a commitment to support the life of the sangha and your teacher. 
  • Make a commitment to volunteer in some form of social engagement. 
  • Take up a creative practice: dance, write, draw, paint, act, or sing.