The clear sound of harmony rings when we cultivate Buddha's Way together



Samu is not the same as work, and we don't schedule samu just to get things done at Zen Center. Samu is a dharma playing field where our understanding and intentions take form in action. We don't play alone - our dharma friends offer reflection, and the practical world informs us in real time. If you are interested in Zen training, this is it!


Have you noticed that humans are rigid about how we do things? We do things "my way." In samu we are invited to harmonize with others. Looking closely at "my way" opens the path to Buddha’s Way. Harmony happens in the real world, together with real people. That world of possibility is where Samu takes place.


Check the schedule for samu, and arrive on time for the the bow-in at the beginning. Ten minutes before the end of samu is tool-care and cleanup, and we bow out together at the end. Wear clothes and shoes appropriate to the weather. All tools and gloves are provided, but if you may bring a favorite pair of gloves, clippers, kneeling pads etc. if you wish.


Samu Schedule




10:00 am samu
12:00 pm end




1:00 pm samu

3:00 pm end




1:00 pm samu

3:00 pm end




10:00 am samu
12:00 pm end


Saturday (once a month, check calendar)


9:30 am samu
12:30 pm end


Participation in Samu


You may always just show up!


It is also a helpful practice to commit to yourself and the community by planning ahead and sharing your plan. Open and print out this file which shows the samu calendar for the coming month. RSVP by writing your name on the dates you will attend. Scan the form (or take a picture) and return it by email, mail the page or drop it off at the Zen Center.


Open and print: February 2021
February Samu 2021.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [42.0 KB]

What people say about samu


I am the type of person that has trouble keeping up with chores. However, I have found that samu has help change my mentality from chore base, to a physical fully present activity that is both caring for myself and caring for those in my community. It transforms what feels like potentially a mundane everyday task into an act of kindness and love which I find quite enjoyable.


Samu sometimes feels like something that I don't have time for. Yet, when I make the time, I feel quite rewarded. There is a peacefulness that is indescribable that arises while working mindfully alongside sangha members. One can sense at the Zen Center that many hands and hearts have joined forces to bring order and beauty for the good of all. It's essential to our practice.


Many science classes have a lab section that accompanies the lectures where students experientially add to their understanding through real world application of the concepts they've been studying. These experiments can get very messy and many mistakes are made. Samu reminds me of this. What a wonderful opportunity to practice dana, gratitude, patience and compassion by offering up our precious time and energy for the benefit of Sangha. Anyway, this compost isn't going to turn itself!


For me, samu is about making a difference and helping the community. It feels satisfying to know that I am contributing.


Samu.  Look around.
Mostly notice the love in your heart.
Listen. It is speaking.  What is your practice effort?
It sustains Ashland Zen Center. 

Thank you sangha for this priceless gift.


In Zen Buddhism, great importance is placed on working with the community. During samu there is no separation between meditation and activity. Whatever the task may be, participants dedicate themselves to it peacefully. In the simple act of performing each activity alone together with complete concentration of body and mind, life becomes simple and serene. Time and goal drop away, and it becomes "just sweeping" or "just chopping". In the kitchen the colors of the vegetables become more vibrant, oil sizzles audibly in the pan, and an array of aromas fill the air.


It is in everyday action that we carry ourselves into the world. Training in action is vital to Zen Buddhist practice, and we call it samu. Samu brings sangha together, and physically engages us in taking care of the temple, gardens, and grounds. It gives us a chance to notice our actions, thoughts, and tendencies, and over time it transforms us in our way of being in the world. At Ashland Zen Center this practice is offered 4-5 days a week. You are welcome to come. Welcome to let yourself be transformed.



May all beings live in safety and be free from suffering.























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