Click here to join our daily meditations to support establishing a regular sitting practice.

Day of Practice

Saturday, July 20th

Serious Play:
A Zen Kōan Café

with Melissa Blacker

7-10am PT / 10am-1pm ET / 3-6pm BST / 4-7pm CEST

Join Melissa Blacker, Roshi for an exploration of traditional Zen kōans in a non-traditional way through seriously playful community sharing.

Kōans are brief stories, poems or dialogues handed down through many generations of Zen practitioners to explore the heart-mind.

In the dance of practicing with kōans, dreams, poetry, fantasy, images and all kinds of emotional and cognitive associations interact freely.

Melissa Myōzen Blacker inherited a kōan “curriculum” numbering approximately 2000 which she studied with her teacher Roshi James Ford. She then trained with Roshi John Tarrant, her teacher’s teacher, to learn how to teach kōan salons, which she re-named kōan cafés.

In this Day of Practice led by Melissa Blacker, Roshi, you will be guided through the exploration of individual kōans using meditation, guided contemplations, dharma talks, free association and group dialogue.

Kōan café practice helps to illuminate ancient and often enigmatic stories and clarify what it means to be alive and free as human beings. In this free-wheeling, compassionate atmosphere, everyone’s contribution is important, and no-one is ever wrong.

Join Sangha Live’s first ever Kōan Café to:

  • Gain an understanding of traditional Zen kōans and how they can enhance your personal practice of meditation
  • Connect with the history of Zen through exploring the background of one or more individual kōans
  • Dive deeply into non-dual perception of the meaning of being human, through collaborative exploration and group dialogue with your fellow students and with the teacher

What is Day of Practice?

Sangha Live’s 3-hour, LIVE Day of Practice allows for you to drop in deeper, develop your meditation skills, and reset your intentions through sustained sitting.

Days of Practice includes longer periods of meditation, interspersed with wise teachings, an interactive Q&A with our teacher, and more.

Replay access will be available to all registrants within 48 hours of the live session.

How is Day of Practice different from Sangha Live’s Daily/Sunday classes?

Our shorter Daily Meditation (60 mins) and Sunday Sangha (90 mins) programs emphasize dharma teachings, while our longer Days of Practice (3 hours) emphasize development of meditation practice.

Daily practice is crucial for watering seeds of mindfulness, but extended periods of deep attention such as these, away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, can be uniquely fruitful.


Day of Practice is offered on a sliding scale basis, with a suggested rate of $35. We wholeheartedly welcome all to practice with us; no one turned away for lack of funds.


Please email us at

About Melissa Blacker

Melissa Blacker

Melissa Myōzen Blacker, Rōshi, is a Sōtō Zen priest, and a Dharma heir to James Myōun Ford, Rōshi in two lineages: an ordained Sōtō transmission through Jiyu Kennett, Rōshi and a lay kōan-teaching lineage through John Tarrant, Rōshi. Along with her husband, David Dae An Rynick, Rōshi, she is a resident teacher at Boundless Way Zen Temple in Worcester, MA. She holds degrees in anthropology, music and counseling psychology.  From 1992 to 2012 she was a teacher and director of programs at the Center for Mindfulness, founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Her writing appears in a number of collections including The Best Buddhist Writing 2012, and The Hidden Lamp: Stories from Twenty-Five Centuries of Awakened Women (2013), and she is co-editor of The Book of Mu: Essential Writings on Zen’s Most Important Koan (2011). Her writing also appears in various Buddhist magazines, including Shambhala Sun, Lion’s Roar and Buddhadharma. Click here to learn more about Melissa Blacker.

More From Melissa Blacker