In 1990, after 18 years of training, our founder and Detroit native Hwalson Sunim was asked by his teacher to leave the mountains of Korea, return to the US, and teach meditation to Americans.
He arrived in Detroit with $50 and a backpack. Twenty-five years later, Detroit Zen Center has become a beloved part of the poor, working class but ethnically diverse neighborhood where it stands. Its mission is "to provide a place for the study and practice of Zen Buddhism through meditation, manual work, and the arts". Self-inquiry through meditation, and sustainable lifestyle are both fundamental to the study of zen here. Public instruction and talks are offered, meditation held daily, and a useful yet harmless way of life is practiced in the midst of Detroit's renewal.
The monks operate an on-site organic food business to support themselves and the Zen Center, employing neighbors and zen students. Urban farms and gardens provide them with over 200 lbs of kale per week, which is turned into salads & chips, and a low-cost on-site food co-op is open to the public.