Help us Raise $150,000 by Sept. 14 for the Downpayment on 46 Lake St. Property


Our Vision

Our vision is to live in an awakened world that transforms suffering into compassion and delusion into clarity through the realization of authentic expression. Purchasing this property will help us realize this vision and fulfill our mission to empower you to live a Zen-inspired life of openness, empathy and clarity.

Over the last seven years we have outgrown our leased one-room Zen Center and need additional space to accommodate our diverse and varied offerings. 

Our Plan

We plan to purchase a building that is in excellent condition at 46 Lake Street in Oak Park and create a warm and welcoming permanent home for our Zen Center. We'll be able to have at least two events happening at the same time: workshops, retreats, classes and maybe even a Sunday program for children. People will be able to share meals, tea or coffee and meet in a peaceful, spacious and restful setting. Weʻll be able to hold residential retreats. Once we pay the $150,000 downpayment, our costs will be less than they are in our existing space. 

The New Space has following benefits:

  • Flexible space for several classes at same time

  • Quiet, clean, comfortable and welcoming

  • Multiple kitchens, office space and bookstore (2 indoor kitchens and one outdoor kitchen)

  • Charming backyard and patio

  • Many improvements on building, including a new roof, all done up to code

  • Over 5,000 Square Feet that include a first floor, second floor and basement

  • Upstairs living quarters for Zen priests/teachers


Downpayment and closing costs of $150,000 to obtain a loan of $520,000 to purchase the building.

Why Now

We are all experiencing upheaval, enormous change and much chaos, as fear grips much of our country. There has never been a more pressing time for a solid and sustainable Zen Center that can grow and bring it's mission into our community. 

Call to Action

We invite you to help us make this new home for the Zen Life & Meditation Center a reality. To purchase the property we need to raise $150,000 by September 14, 2018.

You can give online with the "Donate" button below or mail a check made out to Zen Life & Meditation Center, 38 Lake St.   Oak Park, IL  60302.  Put "downpayment" in the Subject Line and it will be kept in a Restricted Fund for the building.

We have now raised almost $122,856, and with other pledges and Facebook campaigns, we should have almost $128,615. 

So we have $25,000 left to raise to reach our goal of $150,000. 

Take the 50 for $500 Challenge

Here's how we plan to raise the remaining $25,000 to cross the finish line. We invite you to Take the 50 for $500 Challenge and light up the Bodhi Tree with 50 laughing Buddhas. We are almost there. Help us cross the finish line and move into our new home! Can you guess how many of the 50 we've made since we started this challenge on August 26th? Help us fill up the tree!

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Launch Party

On Sunday, August 12, 2018, we had an amazing and wonderful launch party as an auspicious beginning for our new home. We raised almost $30,000. Please click here to learn more about it. 

Lead Gifts To-Date

Our warmest appreciation go to all of the many donors who have been so generous on this campaign!  We are especially thankful for our Lead Donors for their inspiration:

  • $25,000 - Anonymous Gift

  • $20,000 - Robert Joshin Althouse, Roshi and June Ryushin Tanoue, Sensei

  • $10,200 - Jean George in Memory of Betty Flynn

  • $8,500 - Pamela Roake and Karl Weiser

  • $5,000 - Mike Seiji Fujii

  • $5,000 - Dave and Cheri Levenson

  • $5,000 - Matching Anonymous Gift

  • $4,100 - Diane Myogetsu Bejcek and Laura Lamb

  • $3,000 - Eve Pinsker

  • $2500 - Steven and Ruth Rankin-Parker

  • $2500 - Mark Gelula and Pam Bloom

  • $1400 - Susan Keijo Sensemann

  • $1001 - Alpita Shah

  • $1250 - Lori and Colin Snyder

  • $1500 - Linda Warring

  • $1250 - Christine DuSell

  • $1000 - M.G. Bertulfo and Alan Schwartz

  • $1000 - Cynthia Ohata

  • $1000 - Gina Damos

Memorial Gifts

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We invite you to give a gift to the Zen Life & Meditation Center to honor the memory of a loved one, family member, or friend. Their name will be placed on the Zen Center's Ancestor Wall in our new home, in a place of honor. We will hold a special Buddhist service to remember them and hold Ancestor Council Circles from time to time, to tell stories and appreciate their legacy. 

"When we share our light with others, we do not diminish our own light. Rather, we increase the amount of light available to all . . . When out of gratitude we use our candle to light other people's candles, the whole room gets brighter."

Master Sheng Yen
from "Rich Generosity"

"When you are practicing generosity, you should feel a little pinch when you give something away. That pinch is your stinginess protesting. If you give away your old, worn-out coat that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, that is not generosity. There is no pinch. You are doing nothing to overcome your stinginess; you’re just cleaning out your closet and calling it something else. Giving away your coat might keep someone warm, but it does not address the problem we face as spiritual practitioners: to free ourselves from self-cherishing and self-grasping.”  

Gelek Rinpoche

Other Ways You Can Help

Amazon Smile


  • Did you know that by signing up with Amazon Smile you can choose our Zen Center as your favorite charity and each time you shop at Amazon, a small portion of your purchase will be donated to ZLMC? Please click on this link here to set up the program for yourself. In order for this to work, you must shop through the url


The Zen Life & Meditation Center, Chicago
is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit religious organization,
so your donation is fully tax deductible.