A place to rest in the dharma
Milwaukee Zen Center is also known as Kokyo-an, Lake Mirror Hermitage. We're located just minutes from Lake Michigan, whose waters reflect the changing shapes and colors of the clouds just as a mirror perfectly reflects whatever passes before it—without grasping, rejecting or labeling those images. A hermitage is a safe and quiet place to put aside the world of demands and delusions and find rest. MZC offers an opportunity to come together with others to take refuge in the Buddha-nature that each of us already is.

Our members make our practice possible
A stable financial outlook is part of what makes MZC a place to rest in the Dharma. We rely on membership support in order to offer Soto Zen practice, take care of our facilities and teachers, and respond to the changing needs of practitioners.

A major benefit for members is a considerable discount on offerings that we need to charge for. Please, check the page on the fee structure that we added this year. (-> About)

Won't you join us as a member today? Just choose the membership level that's the best fit for you.

Each of our membership levels is named for a spiritual guardian animal from our tradition. That's because our members play such an important role in protecting and encouraging Soto Zen practice in Milwaukee and in the ten directions.

Membership levels
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Blue Dragon

East, spring, wood, propriety. Protector of Buddhism, supports and maintains the country.

White Tiger

West, fall, wind, metal, righteousness. Guards Buddha's teachings and mankind.

Red Bird

South, summer, fire, knowlege. Only appears in times of good fortune.

Black Tortoise

North, winter, cold, water, earth, faith. Always listening and completely versed in Buddha's teachings.


Your membership supports activities like these:

  • Zazen instruction for newcomers to Soto Zen practice

  • Weekly opportunities to sit zazen together

  • Weekly dharma book discussion group

  • Weekly dharma talks from the head teacher or a special guest speaker

  • Chanting services

  • Instruction in sewing rakusu (lay robes)

  • Quarterly newsletters

  • Ceremonies for weddings, memorials, and taking precepts

  • One-day and two-day sittings

  • Practice support for prison inmates

  • Responses to community requests for a Buddhist presence at interfaith events

MZC is registered nonprofit under IRS regulation 501(c)(3), and your donations will be tax deductible