About Flying Cloud Zen
Flying Cloud Zen is a unique, hybrid model center, offering both virtual and in-person opportunities for meditation and mindfulness practice, teaching, and interactive, experiential inner work. Many of our regular offerings are drop-in groups with no registration required and are offered on a freewill donation basis.
Flying Cloud Zen is dedicated to cultivating self-awareness and spiritual growth through the practice and teaching found in Zen and the teachings of Buddhism, as well as the wisdom and insights found both inside and outside of all of the world’s great faith traditions.
Our setting is not bound to any one culture. We welcome everyone.
Fulfilling Our Mission:
In both our virtual offerings and at our shared home in Eagan, we offer regular meditation, retreats, Dharma talks, and classes open to all. We’re always especially happy to see beginners and people of all levels of meditation experience are welcome.
Our Devotion To The Larger Community:
Although our organization is not currently a non-profit, FCZ continues to be dedicated to supporting marginalized communities with offerings of free, donation-based, or low-cost meditation instruction and community sittings, spiritual education, and spiritual direction.
In keeping with thousands of years of human tradition, FCZ tithes a portion of all we take in directly to charities such as UNICEF, The Water Project, World Wildlife Foundation, Black Lives Matter, Feeding America, and other Dharma and spiritual communities. In your commitment to yourself, it is important to know that we are as a collective contributing to the building of self-awareness and sustainability in others.
Currently in residence at Aslan Institute in Eagan, we are looking to secure a dedicated space for our practice in the near future.
Rev. Busshō Lahn
first came to Soto Zen Buddhism in 1993, was ordained as a novice in 2009, and received Dharma Transmission (authorization to carry the lineage and teach independently) in 2015.
He is a teacher, speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director, and an Interfaith Fellow at Augsburg University in Minneapolis, MN. He serves the Flying Cloud Zen Contemplative Spiritual Practice Community, as well as the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, Aslan Institute, and the Episcopal House of Prayer.
Bussho’s teaching focuses on contemplative spirituality, 12-Step work, interfaith dialogue, mystical Christianity, and marrying spirituality with both Western and Buddhist psychology.
From our Guiding Teacher:
As someone who’s chosen the formal path of an ordained Zen priest, I’ve been nourished and refreshed by the cooling waters of Indian-informed, Chinese-created, Japanese-shaped Zen Buddhism, with its ancient, quiet, and clear embrace of bottomless compassion, transcendent wisdom, and ineffable mystery. But I try to wear Zen priesthood as loosely as the fit of its traditional brown robe; a large field floating over several other layers of personhood.
For me, that personhood includes the sturdy religious inheritance of my Catholic upbringing, with its certainty, its monumental faith, its rites of communal grieving, adoration, and celebration all placed front and center. I'm inspired by the subversive-mystical Christian tradition, but my multiple belongings also include the slippery poetry of Celtic mysticism, the unquenchable fire of Sufi wisdom and the passionate love affair with our Beloved that it expresses, as well as many other golden threads running through the tapestries of Judaism, Islam, Taoism, and indigenous traditions.
Because all clouds are flying clouds, their shadows never lingering in one place for long, their shape always changing, their embrace of the imagination of humans’ infinite, their return back to being indistinguishable from the sky, inevitable.
Why "Flying Cloud Zen"?
"Expressing the sincere desire to manifest our Buddha Nature right here and now, we cultivate clouds; we become a cloud flowing in the wind of the Buddha Way.” -Dainin Katagiri Roshi
The image of a flying cloud, in Zen, could be seen as emblematic of the first stage of formal training.
The Japanese Zen term unsui means, “clouds and water,” and is applied to someone newer in their spiritual training. Unsui refers to the metaphorical homelessness of the student: not tied to or bound by specific worldly places, identity, or relationships. It’s an expression of constant change, but perhaps also implied is what’s called “beginner’s mind,” the vast, open space of sky-like mind, where all things are included, and all are possible. The name Flying Cloud is intended to remind us all that, as impermanent and ultimately spacious as we all are, the stage of spiritual training we’re actually in is always the first stage, the place where we’re humble, grounded, all beginners, and all students.
Flying Cloud also happens to be the name of a small airport near my home that has a special connection to my heart, in part because its name is a koan for me. Because despite its name, Flying Cloud Airport is a spot on the ground, not in the air. It’s a place of landing, of returning, of connection to the earth. It’s home to those people and those planes, and as much as planes were made to fly, it’s their earthly connection that sustains them. It’s the airport that refuels and renews them, and the people that board them there that give them purpose.
So, Flying Cloud isn’t expressing a desire to transcend, nor is it an intention to escape or rise above our earthly lives and their inevitable suffering. There is no “rising above” in real Zen. Real Zen is life-affirming, earth-affirming, suffering-affirming. Real Zen relates to everything with compassion and wisdom. Everything, without exception. That’s the intention expressed by the Buddha’s hand touching the earth as he fully embodied enlightenment.
Flying Cloud Zen aspires to be a place to land and to work to become whole, to unite our cloud nature and our water/earth nature, to realize ourselves as
both fully human and fully divine.
Tim Zentetsu Burkett
Bussho’s transmitting Zen teacher Tim Zentensu Burkett began Zen practice in early 1964 with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. At Suzuki Roshi's urging, Tim began a weekly meditation group on the San Francisco Peninsula later that year. Suzuki Roshi regularly attended this group, and as it grew in size, it was moved to the converted garage of a sangha member. Suzuki Roshi's talks to that group were later edited and published as Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, a now-classic text and a gateway to Zen practice for many westerners.
Tim attended the maiden practice period at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center in 1967 and moved to Minnesota in 1970, was an early member of MZMC, and was ordained by Dainin Katagiri Roshi in 1978. Tim served as board president of MZMC from 1978 to 1983, received dharma transmission from Sekijun Karen Sunna in the Katagiri lineage in 2000, and succeeded Karen as Guiding Teacher in 2002.
Tim is a licensed Ph.D. psychologist, whose doctoral work focused on neo-shamanic practice. He is also the retired CEO of one of Minnesota's largest non-profit agencies, People Incorporated, which provides community-based service to individuals with mental health concerns. Shambhala published his first book, Nothing Holy About It in 2015 and his second book, Zen in the Age of Anxiety, in 2018.
Click here for Tim's bio on the MZMC site, and here for Tim's blog.
Dainin Katagiri Roshi
Dainin Katagiri (1928–1990) was one of the prominent Zen masters who brought Soto Zen Buddhism from Japan to America in the twentieth century. He was known as Katagiri Roshi — the honorific term roshi denoting that he was a much-respected senior Zen teacher. After teaching in California at San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center as assistant to Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Katagiri Roshi founded Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis and Hokyoji Zen monastery in rural Eitzen, Minnesota.
Katagiri Roshi touched the hearts of people everywhere with his engaging manifestation of the Buddha way. Now his teaching lives on in recordings of his talks, books that have been developed from them, and generations of teachers who are following in his footsteps.
Click here to read Katagiri Roshi's bio.
Lyndall Johnson is the president and founder of the Aslan Institute where she practices as a licensed psychologist. She is a writer, speaker and facilitator with degrees in psychology and sociology. She has worked with ethnically and culturally diverse communities in creating dialogue, reconciliation and cooperation. Lyndall has extensive experience with couples and individuals challenged by health crisis. She is committed to teaching and facilitating communication skills that build bridges, strengthen and deepen relationships. Lyndall has extensive experience teaching and facilitating spirituality and the development of consciousness throughout the world.
Click here for the Aslan Institute site and here for Lyndall's provider bio and contact info.
Charisse Lyons, Tonglen Practitioner and Consultant, is a retired speech/language therapist. Charisse experiences an awe of the human spirit, as she has witnessed limitless strength and resolve in facing the deepest pain and how that leads to the core of one’s being, the truth of who we are. Charisse has been on a spiritual path since childhood, and throughout her life she has had an awareness of the power and healing this has brought to her and other, especially in times of sorrow and suffering. Charisse’s role can perhaps best be described as a soul worker. She works in transpersonal realms with others to build an awareness of unresolved suffering within them, entering into the suffering and giving it the light needed to work towards healing. She is honored and grateful for the opportunity to bring this healing to others, recognizes this work as sacred, and considers all who participate in it to be answering the highest of spiritual callings.
Click here for her provider bio and contact info.