Description of Organization
Mid-City Zen began in 2011 as a small informal meditation group that met once a week. With growing interest from the community, they started meeting several times a week and grew in numbers. In 2014, Mid-City Zen secured a permanent location and grew into a community that supports the spiritual practice and study of Zen Buddhism. Daily meditation (zazen) and ceremonies (chanting), lectures, and study of Buddhism form the core of the practice every week. Retreats (sesshins) and classes are offered several times a year and are open to the public. The goal of Mid-City Zen is to foster a community in which all beings realize their true nature. While located in New Orleans, Louisiana they serve a larger area due to a lack of Buddhist practice places in the larger Gulf South region. Their current program, Sanctuary Initiative, has a twofold mission of inner and outer work. The goal is to support and advocate for those impacted by incarceration in Louisiana with the development of the Social Justice Buddhist Group, with prison meditation classes at Angola State Prison or Orleans Parish Prison. They are also involved as Buddhists in the local Interfaith Sanctuary Coalition, which is focused on halting jail expansion and ICE deportations in the New Orleans community.
In 2018, a grant in the amount of $12,000 was awarded to assist in funding their Buddhist Sanctuary Initiative including supplies, meals, transportation and teacher stipends to assist in the prison program.