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Overview & Mission

A Group with a Focus on the Dharma

Our Zen group has been in the Hobart/Northwest Indiana regions since the late 1980’s. The group was
started by Jerry Ashmore. He is our Senior Dharma Teacher and member of our board of trustees
Our practice is moment by moment concentration on the breath, when thinking arises, just return to
our breath. Our founding teacher, Zen Master Seung Sahn, simply called it “Don’t Know.” This means,
in each moment to open unconditionally to all that presents itself to us, perceive clearly and act with
our natural compassion and wisdom to benefit all beings.
The Zen centers & groups of the Kwan Um School of Zen offer training in Zen meditation through
meditation instruction, daily morning and evening meditation practice, public talks, teaching interviews,
retreats, workshops, and community living. Our programs are open to anyone regardless of previous
The School’s purpose is to make this practice of Zen as accessible as possible. It is our wish to help
human beings find their true direction and to help this world.
Our practice is located at the First Unitarian Church of Hobart 497 Main St · Hobart, IN
Empty Circle Zen Group Mission Statement
Every group gathering at Empty Circle Zen Group we recite the four Bodhisattva vows:
1. Sentient beings are numberless. We vow to save them all.
2. Delusions are endless. We vow to cut through them all.
3. The teachings are infinite. We vow to learn them all.
4. The Buddha Way is inconceivable. We vow to attain it.
By stating these vows we are asked to go beyond our limited understanding of self and towards a
more inclusive and compassionate way of well being for all. It is in this setting of our intention that we
breakdown barriers between our self and other while working as a community together. We create the
environment as an individual and group to act towards a goal of a welcoming space for every person
that walks through our meeting room doors regardless of; age, gender, race, ability, nationality,
sexuality, socioeconomic status, or criminal record.
The Empty Circle Zen Group has been created as a working experiment open to all Sangha members
to take action towards the following goals:
• To create a space where individuals can share and reflect upon their experiences,
relationships and well being in their Buddhist practice.
• To educate ourselves on current events and their impact on certain groups, on historical
realities that have shaped where we are today, and to our own blind spots, privileges, and
• To formulate specific protocols through which the Empty Circle Zen Group, as an institution,
can skillfully address concerns about safety and inclusion.
• To build bridges with other local faith groups to see how our social justice programs can
inform and support one another.
• To support community actions that address systemic oppression beyond the local confines
of the institution on a national and global level.

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