What to Know
Given that Zen practice is not widespread in the Western world, it typically presents as undiscovered country to the newcomer, who may ask what it (or Kintsugi Sangha) is and is not and whether either or both are a good fit for their own life journey. Here are some answers.
Is Zen a religion?
The short answer is “nope.” Like other forms of Buddhism, Zen has its own rituals, but at its core it is simply a philosophy of how to live. Zen does not recognize a soul, rebirth, reincarnation, or an afterlife of any kind. Therefore, it does not provide a means of redemption, absolution, or salvation. Instead, it merely shines a light on a path toward understanding the human condition.
Neither is Zen a devotional practice. There is no worshiping of anyone or anything, including Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. Consequently, Zen offers no higher power to pray to; it simply offers a way of engaging the world by understanding and engaging oneself.
It is not necessary to discard your religious beliefs to practice Zen.
Is the Kintsugi Sangha a cult?
Here, too, the answer is “nope.” Unless you mean, per the dictionary definition, “greatly devoted to an idea, movement, or work,” in which case, yes, the Sangha is a cult—but so is Catholicism, Judaism, Packer-mania, Toyota Prius-owner devotion, and every college alumni association every formed.
As the word “cult” is more generally understood, it describes a group in which a leadership structure takes advantage of its members for its own benefit and discourages independent behavior and thinking. We don’t do any of that.
In fact, we encourage critical thinking and reasoned discourse as a vital element of member participation. In short, if you are a skeptic, you will find kinship in the Sangha.
How can we support your journey?
The Sangha exists to help its members on their journey toward understanding. That’s why, in addition to meetings, we offer a library, scholarship fund, field trips, one-on-one conversation with the sangha leader, and a Google group to help us stay connected.
Is Kintsugi Sangha a good fit for you?
Well, let’s see…
Kintsugi Sangha is a good fit for you if you resonate with Zen teachings and traditions and would appreciate support in building a meditative practice, strengthening the one you have, and/or doing your own internal work in the pursuit of understanding yourself and Life in general more deeply.
The Sangha is not right for you if you are looking for therapy or an improved dating life—or have already arrived at the answers to Life and are in search of followers, customers, or clients.