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.

March 12, 2020. Due to the presence of COVID-19 in our community, the Iowa City Zen Center Board has suspended sittings and services at this location. We encourage the Sangha to continue the practice of Soto Zen Buddhism in our homes and in our lives.

Please note that Resources for practice at home are available under that tab in this website’s header above. These include information on the arrangement and use of a home altar. Also given through links are texts of several Sutras, Ekos, Chants, and Verses. The Dai Hai Shin Dharani is given there, as are 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 to invoke the intention that it should remain free from harm. We have begun using the online platform “Zoom” as a medium for teaching and some services.

March 27, 2020

Dear Friends and Sangha members of the Iowa City Zen Center,
We have taken steps to enable remote participation in sittings, services, and our Tuesday evening Class through the Zoom platform.

Dainei Page Appelbaum can host meetings on the platform Zoom.  We have finished the book “Returning to Silence” assembled from Katagiri Roshi’s Dharma talks. Tuesdays at 5:30 we are now reading and discussing his book “You Have to Say Something”.

Dainei is now hosting a Zoom meeting at 9 AM on Sundays to include Zazen for 40 minutes, then the Metta Sutra and Eko, to recreate remotely much of the Sunday Morning sitting. Other Sutras are added as appropriate. Please check in about 10 minutes before 9:00 AM to allow us to settle before sitting.

Several Sangha members have requested the organization of a scheduled sitting at 10 AM CDT weekdays, without any Zoom or other technology involved. Those who choose to sit Zazen then will know that other Sangha members are also sitting Zazen at that time.

Lastly, Dainei wishes to make known to the Sangha that she can respond to requests for Zen Buddhist chants or services. These may include the Kanzeon to express intention for healing or safety of those ill or otherwise distressed, the Dai Hai Shin Dharani, or others as appropriate.

If you wish to participate in any of these Zoom meetings, please contact Dainei by phone or text, or email her. If the latter, please include a copy to iowacityzencenter@gmail.com, as we plan help distribution of the meeting invitations to the group Class or Services. These will come as emails with a link to click on that leads to Zoom.
Dainei  can be reached at:
madametealady@gmail.com or via text or telephone at 319 331 4261.

We will continue to assess the opportunity to offer our Center for the face to face public practice of Zen. Please visit this IowaCityZenCenter.org website for updates.