The Iowa City Zen Center is an independent Zen community affiliated with the Japanese Soto Zen school, following the guidance of Abbot Shoken Winecoff, the founder of Ryumonji Zen Monastery in the Midwest Zen lineage of Dainin Katagiri.  Founded in 1976 by Steve Fox and others, the Iowa City Zen Center is located at 1025 Fairchild Street in the historic Goosetown neighborhood of Iowa City. Here is a location map & contact information. The Zen Center has a Schedule for zazen (sitting meditation) as well as classes and special events. All are welcome to attend and there is no charge, though donations are gratefully accepted.

November 29, 2022:

GREAT NEWS!  WE HAVE REOPENED as of November 30, 2022 FOR IN PERSON SITTING AT 1025 Fairchild Street at 7:00 AM Monday through Friday, gather at 6:50 AM. Initially we will not be using Zoom for the 7:00 AM in person sitting at the Zen Center on Fairchild, but the 6:00 AM Zoom sittings continue; see below under heading (4). We also Zoom the Sunday 9:00 AM sittings and our 6:30 Tuesday evening Class, which is Zoom only. Details follow:

1    We have opened our in person sittings and services to persons who are vaccinated and able to be masked; some masks are available on site. Masking is recommended due to the risk of chanting in a small enclosed space, but is not required. We do have two air purifiers in use, and open windows when weather allows. 

Our current policy regarding precautions for Covid 19 and respiratory disease in general follows. Please feel free to ask questions as needed.

  • Public Health and Safety Precautions for In-Person Events:

The Center’s in-person events take place in a small house open to the public. Weather permitting, we will have our doors and windows open for better ventilation. In addition, multiple air-filtration systems will be running during events. We respectfully request that everyone coming to the center be vaccinated against COVID. Face coverings are strongly encouraged, but not required. However, conversations over tea may expose visitors to risk; please do NOT come to the center if you are feeling unwell or if you have recently been exposed to someone with COVID. Anyone unable to gather with us in person is welcome to join us on Zoom. Please note that these public health and safety precautions are subject to change.

2 On the Zoom platform our Tuesday evening 6:30 PM Class and our Sunday morning in person sitting at 8:50 AM CST to gather, 9:00 AM to sit use the same room and  password given below (3) for both meetings.

3   The Zoom url for our meeting room (under Dainei’s name) and the Tuesday evening and Sunday AM sittings is: https://zoom.us/j/ 981 749  9748       Password:  860535

As a backup, here is an invitation link copied from the meeting:


4   There are also daily sittings and services on Zoom hosted by David Shujo Thole at 6:00 AM Monday through Saturday at a different Zoom address. Many days Monday through Friday there are also noon sittings followed by brief koan study, at the same address and hosted by Shujo. Contact information follows:

Topic: ICZC Morning Sessions

Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytime

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 976 5335 8448

Rev. Dainei Page Appelbaum died on July 24, 2022; her Funeral Service at was Ryumonji Zen Monastery on October 9, 2022 at 10 AM, as a part of Taste of Ryumonji celebration.

We are deeply grateful to Rev. Dainei Page Appelbaum for serving as our Guiding Teacher for several years, and for guiding our sittings, readings and discussions, serving as Doshi and providing Dharma talks and personal teaching for many in our Sangha over a much longer time. Dainei passed away on July 24, 2022 in Minnesota, where she had recently relocated to be closer to family. We have observed her passing by chanting the Dai Hai Shin Dharani and the Maha Prajna Paramita Hridaya Sutra (Heart Sutra) on each of the seven Sundays beginning with the date of her death. Further observances included a funeral and interment at Ryumonji Zen Monastery near Decorah, Iowa at 10 AM on October 9th, 2022.

A Special Notice as of December 14, 2022: A financial  update: 

Because we could not see a way to safely sit and conduct chanting services, in March 2020 the ICZC Board opted to pack away our bells, zafus and zabutons, and continued practicing online through Zoom. Contact details for Zoom sittings and Class are available on this website. We announced our reopening to sit together in person on November 30, 2022.

Since the onset of Covid, resources to maintain our building and grounds and support our practice and teaching decreased. Now that we are reopening with a significantly expanded schedule, our need for support is increased, and we welcome donations. Our approach has been to offer instruction and a place for Zen meditation without charge, and we have benefited greatly from many small donations from our community. 

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Iowa City Zen Center. Here is our PayPal account:  


Or mail a check to our Treasurer: Steve Hirst, 135 Bowling Green Place, IC, IA 52245.

In Gassho, Tom Genkai Carlisle, President, for the Iowa City Zen Center Board

Contact: iowacityzencenter@gmail.com

Please see below for details of online sittings. Resources for practice at home are available under the Resource tab in this website’s header above. These include information on the arrangement and use of a home altar, texts of several Sutras, Ekos, Chants, and Verses. The Dai Hai Shin Dharani, the Kanzeon (related to intentions toward the ailing, including ourselves) and instructions for the Idaten, a service said at the entry altars of a place of practice, are all included.