Samu and Practice Day

We are going to have a sewing day on Saturday 6th July to mend our zafus, which are showing signs of wear and tear. You DON’T need to be a skilled sewer. The tasks aren’t complicated and full instruction will be given.

As part of the day, Aram (who has a deep background in Korean Buddhism) will lead a workshop about physical and other practices you can do before Zazen to make sitting more pleasurable and more dynamic, John will give an informal talk, possibly on the Fox Koan, and there will be Zazen, plus shared meals.

Please message if you are interested in coming along to contribute to the group. You don’t need to commit to the whole day.

Location: Kagyu Samye Dzong, 7 Ashley Street, Glasgow, G3 6DR

Samu and Practice Day

Precepts ceremony held at KSD

Precepts group opens up again to practitioners interested in accepting the precepts

At the start of October we had a lovely precepts ceremony (Jukai-e 授戒会) in the Mirror Room of KSD Rokpa. Congratulations to Duncan (given the dharma name Sogaku), David G (Jido) and Nick (Koshin) on accepting the 16 precepts and receiving their Dharma names and Rakusu robes. We wish them all the very best in their Bodhisattva practice in the sangha. Our last Jukai-e was in Ardfern in 2017 which feels like quite a while back! This means we have again come full circle and re-open the precepts group to practitioners who are interested in finding out more about accepting the precepts.

When we have practiced Zazen for a while and we feel comfortable with the group and our sitting practice, we naturally feel we want to strengthen our connection to the sangha and deepen our practice further, for the benefit of all beings, following the wholehearted way of the Buddha.

Preparing to accept the bodhisattva precepts is a great way to do this – and you can do so by joining our precepts and sewing group to discover the process, learn about how the sixteen precepts are living and vital within zazen practice and your everyday life, and then be guided in the sewing of your small Buddhist robe (rakusu) in readiness for the Jukai-e ceremony.

The Buddha first gave a set of precept rules to his disciples to help them live harmoniously together as a sangha, and over hundreds of years these developed into the bodhisattva precepts, the entry point for practitioners who had intuitively awakened to the truth of Buddhism through practice. By becoming a Bodhisattva, practising the Buddha way, you are not just deepening your own practice but have the opportunity to aid the practice and welfare of other beings, and we hope you will commit to supporting our group activities, such as helping with any of the daily sits, or assisting teachers, or at our retreats and events.

There are several misconceptions about Jukai-e (literally ‘accepting the precepts meeting’) namely that you can’t do this if you have another spiritual interest or practice, or that some of the precepts (such as ‘take selfless action’ or ‘honour life, do not kill’) are restrictive rules to your lifestyle or pressure you to ‘behave’ a certain way. Some think wearing the robe shows a sign of hierarchy, or is a kind of ‘dressing up’ as a Zen Buddhist. None of these things are the case, and we will explain that to you at the group, and answer any questions you have. The robe is one of freedom that embodies the teachings of Buddha Dharma, a material expression of emptiness and interconnection that we carefully sew one stitch at a time, supporting each other as we do so. And the precepts are not vows that must be adhered to rigidly, they are supple and change in a similar way to how we must make micro adjustments to our posture as we sit, finding ease and balance.

Please contact Shogen Blair to find out more about the group and register your interest with us.


Introduction to Zen Part 2 – The Practice of Zen

Introduction to Zen Part 2 – The Practice of Zen

The second part of John’s three part talk on the origins, practice and rituals of Soto Zen, focusing on the practice and posture of Zazen.


Introduction to Zen Part 1

Introduction to Zen Part 1 – A Historical Perspective

The first of my three part talk on the origins, practice and ritual of Soto Zen.


Introductions to Zen Meditation

I will be running a series of three introductory classes on 21 and 28 November and 5 December 2021, 16.00-17.30 UK time on Zoom

I will endeavour to give a thorough introduction to the history, background, principles and practice of Soto Zen Buddhism.

It’s free.

If you’re interested in participating, please email me at

The introductions will hopefully be helpful to newcomers, to people who have joined the Group during lockdown, and people who have a general interest in Zen Buddhism.

John Fraser

Teacher, Glasgow Zen Group

Introductions to Zen Meditation

The Tally

In this video, John talks about how the Chinese tally is sometimes used as a metaphor in Buddhism. The tally was an object broken into two parts which would then fit back together exactly; they were used in transactions.
Using this metaphor, we can think of our relationship to a sutra or a teacher. In the fitting together, a dynamic wisdom is created, now.

Video adapted from Kusen No. 348 given on 11th May 2021

Zen Master Zongmi

In this video, John talks about the commentary Master Zongmi wrote about the seven Zen schools of his time. It gives helpful explanations of how each school understood the common but confusing metaphor of the ‘bright jewel’.

Video adapted from Kusen No. 347 given on 29th April 2021

The Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment

In this video, John talks about the Sutra of Perfect Enlightenment. This describes three approaches to meditation: Samatha, Samapatti and Dhyana. We can look at these as three different practices. We can also look at them as being three aspects, although not the only aspects, of our own practice.

Video adapted from Kusen No. 346 given on 29th April 2021

Everything is your Ally

In this video, John talks about Dogen’s view on attaining the Buddha’s truth. Dogen says that since this truth is reality, in order to avoid it one has to resolve not to attain it. Without this intention not to pursue the Buddha’s truth then 

everything is your ally

Video adapted from Kusen No. 345 given on 17th April 2021

Taking the backward step

In this video John talks about non-separation and what Dogen describes as ‘taking the backward step’. This can be described as ungrasping in terms of each of the five skandhas.

Video adapted from Kusen No. 344 given on 14th April 2021