The Engaged Zen Foundation is dedicated to alleviating tangible suffering in the world. Where Zen Buddhism encourages the careful investigation of an individual life, EZF underscores the inescapable need to take that understanding 'into the marketplace.'

EZF was founded in 1992 with a focus on prisons. Incarceration and its depredations continue to be a focal point in our mission, but EZF also concerns itself with human rights violations and human needs in whatever form they may occur. We are grateful to all those who have aided our efforts and those who may join us in future.




Amnesty International France in collaboration with advertising agency TBWA produced a short advertisement to coincide with Amnesty International's Death Penalty Campaign. The film was awarded a Bronze Lion at the Cannes International Film Festival



A Zen monk, offering prayer, walks through the area destroyed by a tsunami in Yamada, Iwate prefecture, northern Japan Monday, April 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)


In Memory of Stacey "Cooks" Leveque
EZF Board Member

December 16, 1956 - July 28, 2014
A true friend and supporter.

In Memory of Dairyu Chotan
Robert Baker Aitken, Rōdaishi

June 19, 1917 - August 5, 2010
The Great Dragon of Dharma.

EZF Introduction – Ethical Reality Based Dharma

The Engaged Zen Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-membership, independent organization originally founded to foster zazen (seated contemplative meditation) practice in prison. Meditative training alters the functioning of the mind of the practitioner and these changes manifest with the development of positive perspectives on life. Our initial goal was to urge prisoners to use the time available during imprisonment to foster the practice of zazen, sitting in dynamic, lucid awareness, thus serving prisoners on release by enabling them, through their own efforts, to reenter society with a disciplined, patient, nonviolent and compassionate frame of mind.

Over the years EZF has broadened its perspective to address universal human rights and social justice issues well beyond the prison environment.

From the co-founder

Our activities are geared to assisting individuals on a case-by-case basis and much of our effort is unseen and unacknowledged. EZF was originally founded with the intention of it being a means for fostering zen practice in prisons as a mechanism for bringing about change; initially in the minds of practicing prisoners and then in the prison systems themselves. This, after well over a decade of experience, has proved to be an impractical and short sighted perspective. We have seen, experienced and learned, a lot over the past years about the nature and magnitude of the shortcomings of the criminal justice system and the underlying paradigms that drive it. The ramifications are deeper than just the matter of prisoners engaging in meditation practice while incarcerated. It matters little if one or two prisoners are practicing in a facility if hundreds of others in the same facility are subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment on a daily basis.



~ A prison full of enlightened prisoners - is still a prison.

Kobutsu Malone

The Engaged Zen Foundation / Post Office Box 213

Sedgwick, Maine 04676-0213 USA / (207) 359-2555