Meditation centers throughout Philadelphia

Illustration by Marika Mirren

Illustration by Marika Mirren

Monkey Mind Be Gone

Meditation and mindfulness. Whether you’re practicing for spiritual enlightenment or to calm your mind and lighten your holiday stress, many centers throughout Philadelphia are available.

Unless otherwise noted, all of these centers are free to attend, with donations suggested.

Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center
The temple’s spiritual leader, Losang Samten, usually guides the Sunday Morning Sangha, which incorporates mantras and prayers. Discussion groups, ceremonies and retreats are also regularly scheduled.
1417 N. 2nd St.

Kadampa Meditation Center
Titles within Kadampa’s meditation classes include How to Be an Urban Bodhisattva: Becoming a Friend to the World, Using Meditation to Build Healthy Relationships and Uprooting Insecurity. Wednesday evening classes are free; classes Sunday mornings and Monday and Thursday evenings are $10.
1102 Pine St.

Monkey Mind Zen
This West Philly group opens its 10:30 a.m. Saturday meetings with chanting, followed by seated meditation and a discussion. Beginners can learn the ropes of Zen during periodically scheduled meetings, which you can RSVP for online.
Studio 34, 4522 Baltimore Ave.

Nalandabodhi Philadelphia
Introductory sessions usually take place on the first Sunday of each month, and Sunday evening meditations take place on the second Sunday. For those interested in learning more about Mahayana Buddhism, Nalandabodhi also offers study groups and discussions of various texts.
Children’s Community School, 1212 S. 47th St.

Peaceful City Sangha
“We joyfully welcome people of all backgrounds, traditions and beliefs, both experienced practitioners and those new to meditation and mindfulness,” states the website for this group in Center City, which practices in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Seated meditations are Wednesdays at 5:45 p.m. at Eviama Life Spa and Sundays at 10 a.m. at members’ homes (RSVP is requested).
Eviama Life Spa, 109 S. 13th St., Suite 2N

Refuge Recovery
The peer-led West Philly branch of this national organization utilizes mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the addiction-recovery process. Every Thursday at 6 p.m., the group meditates together, shares experiences and reads excerpts from the book “Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction” by Noah Levine. A $5 donation per meeting goes to support the group, but no one is turned away for inability to donate.
Ahimsa House, 5007 Cedar Ave.

Shambhala Meditation Center
This center practices seated meditation that will be familiar to those who have tried group meditation, except that participants are not instructed to close their eyes. Slight variations like this are common among mindfulness groups.
Shambhala Meditation Center has listings for introductory sessions on its website, and holds group meditations on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, as well as Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
Every Friday evening, the center holds an anonymous group meditation/talk for people struggling with addiction.
2030 Sansom St.

Soji Zen Center
A contemporary Buddhist center in Lansdowne, Soji offers a calendar full of lectures, study groups, yoga classes and retreats. Free meditation instructions are held Thursdays at 6 p.m., where participants can learn how to manage their posture and wandering thoughts.
2325 Marshall Road, Lansdowne, Pa.

Willow Branch Sangha
Two-and-a-half-hour sittings are accompanied by songs, chants and talks in a nondenominational setting inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh. Willow Branch provides reading material online covering some of the group’s customs and points of discussion.
Church of the Loving Shepherd, 1066 S. New Street, West Chester, Pa.

Won Buddhism of Philadelphia
Group meditations are held Tuesdays at 7:15 p.m., and include some walking and chanting. Dharma services are every Saturday at 10:15 a.m. and revolve around rotating discussions of Buddhist philosophy and practice.
423 Abington Ave., Glenside, Pa.

Zen Center of Philadelphia
Two-hour sessions are held Sunday mornings at 10, which include sitting and walking meditations and a group discussion. At some point during the seated portion, the center’s teacher will lightly tap on your shoulder and invite you for a private talk about the practice.
Hour-and-a-half sittings are held Wednesday evenings, and daylong sittings are scheduled once a month for people who have been practicing for a while. 
4904 Cedar Ave.