A slideshow by Zen Master Bon Yeon (Jane Dobisz), chronicling the journey of Zen Master Seung Sahn from Korea to the West, with an emphasis on the building and establishment of Providence Zen Center.

Our History

The Providence Zen Center's history began when its founding teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn (Dae Soen Sa Nim), immigrated from Korea to America in 1972. Having no money and no knowledge of English, he was hired as a washing machine repairman in Providence. There, then-Brown University buddhologist Professor Leo Pruden invited Seung Sahn to give some talks—after which several students asked him to teach them full-time from his apartment. Gathering more followers, the newly-formed Providence Zen Center (PZC) moved to its current site in Cumberland in 1979, with many of the students helping to build its new center. In 1985, Seung Sahn officially founded the Kwan Um School of Zen, from which time it began to spread nationally and internationally to its current scope of 34 centers in the United States and 57 centers worldwide, headquartered in Cumberland, RI. Zen Master Seung Sahn also authored several books.

The PZC and the Kwan Um School practice a unique form of Zen Buddhism interpreted by Seung Sahn that blends Korean and American aspects. In addition to its daily schedule, the center holds numerous one-, two-, and three-day retreats and intensive biyearly winter and summer retreats called Kyol Che. The PZC conducts a Public Night every Wednesday with dinner and meditation instruction, as well as talks and workshops, a children's program, and major ceremonies for Buddha's Birth and Enlightenment Days and its Founding Teacher's Birthday. When not in use by the center, the Diamond Hill Zen Monastery is available for use by outside groups.

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Attended a vegetarian cooking class at the center this weekend. I had no idea this jewel of a place existed in our area. It was a wonderful day learning how to make delicious vegetarian dishes with a group of lovely people. I meditate daily at home but I am planning to return to experience the group meditations offered at PZC and learn more about this life changing practice. Beautiful and Peaceful place.

Nancy PereiraFacebook Review

Amazing. They even have chairs available for people who are unable to sit on meditation pads.

Andrew HartGoogle Review

Great place if your interested in learning the fundamentals of zen meditation. Highly peaceful and relaxing.

vanessa hernandezGoogle Review

If you are ready to do the important work of looking inward this is an excellent place. The simplicity and beauty of the grounds and the directness of the teaching combine for a clear and powerful spiritual community. I try to sit retreat here at least twice a year.

Ian White MaherFacebook Review