Zen meditation group to meet no longer at York Minster

Wed 17 Jul 2019
By Cara Bentley

A Zen group will no longer be holding their hour and a half silent meditation sessions at the Old Palace in the Cathedral grounds, due to complaints that it is incompatible with Christianity.

The Wild Goose Sangha group host sessions on Fridays of three 25 minute sections of sitting meditaiton (or Zazen), interspersed with five minutes of walking and occasional one-to-one talking sessions. 

The sessions were run by Canon Chris Collingwood, an Anglican priest who is also a zen teacher and referred to as the Sensei within the meditation sessions.

Zen meditation comes from Buddhism and involves sitting in an upright posture, being silent, watching one's breathing and trying to not let anxieties the person meditating. 


The group was set up a few years ago by Canon Chris Collingwood, who describes himself as "religiously bilingual" and said at the time: "I’m sure there are those who think I’m an out and out heretic but it seems to me perhaps Zen poses fewer problems [than other non-Christian customs] because it doesn’t claim to be a system of doctrine or belief.”

According to the Guardian, the sessions have now been cancelled after the Rt Rev Dr Jonathan Frost, the dean of York Minster, is thought to have ended the Minster's association with the group.

Concerns were raised three years ago about the compatibility of it with Christianity. 

Canon Chris Collingwood's profile on the zen group's website says that the priest was first introduced to the practice of Zen by another Anglican priest who was a member of the Oxford Zen Centre.

He received the qualification of a lay Buddhist practitioner of Jukai in October 2015. 

In July 2016, he was given the name Ryushin (Dragon Heart) and has written the book 'Zen Wisdom For Christians'. 

He told The Guardian that this will provide an opportunity for the group to find a more accessible space in the city centre so it can "grow without interruption". 


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