Seikan Čech is a Zen monk who shares from 20 years of Zen practice, as well as from more wide-ranging experience as a clinician, educator, psychologist, acupuncturist, architect, designer, and public speaker across different parts of the world. He is presently working as a flight attendant based in the United States. He visits Melbourne periodically to sit with us and offer advice on Zen practice.
Ordained by Muho Roshi at Antaiji monastery in Japan in 2004, Seikan failed as a traditional monastic in favor of assisting to move Zen practice beyond the religious realm and into modern everyday secular life. In 2005 he founded the Melbourne Zen Hospice. Then, in 2009, he founded the Melbourne Zen Centre to help make Zen practice better known and more accessible to people from all walks of life.
While Seikan’s approach to Zen is welcoming and inclusive, it is also physically rigorous when it comes to the core practice of Zen, that is: ‘Zazen’, which literally means ‘Sitting Zen’. He writes: “Zazen is not your ideas. Nor is it a relaxation practice. It is you sitting upright and still. At times this will feel good to you, or bad to you. So long as you keep sitting straight and still, you cannot fail.”
From this very concrete and clear foundation, Seikan introduces Zazen as being, not about seeking retreat from your everyday life, but about being whoever and wherever you happen to be, here and now. For this, Seikan also creates performance and video art as ways of taking Zen practice out beyond the confines of a Zendo and into plain and public view.
“Zazen is welcoming you, yes YOU. Feel free to come and sit!”