Madoka Chase Onizuka

Madoka has been practicing zazen under the instruction of Jisho Matsumoto since 2015, and is now working with him to provide zazen instruction in English.


She has worked in politics, education, human rights and environmental advocacy, and yoga therapy. She began meditation in 1996 as a practice to develop compassion and peace of mind. Her interest in enlightenment was sparked when a meditation teacher defined it as "liberation from suffering." She studied yoga, meditation, and zen under several teachers, thinking they were all different paths to the same mountain top. But after attending zazenkai with Kando Inoue Roshi and then Jisho Matsumoto, she realized that what they taught was radically different from anything she had heard before. She knows now that she has found her path.

Madoka's first year of zazen practice with Jisho included hours of intense questioning and struggling to spite of being told repeatedly that enlightenment would never happen through intellectual understanding! Thus, Madoka knows from personal experience all the mental blocks that Zen practitioners often trip over, and how easy it can be to confuse Zen with meditation and other spiritual practices. These experiences and her skills as an interpreter put her in a good position to convey Jisho's instructions in ways that help English speakers avoid some of the same pitfalls that Madoka fell into (and overcame). She is also able to give recommendations to Jisho regarding the kinds of explanations that are more effective for English speakers. 

Hoping to someday be able to instruct zazen herself, until then she is happy to be a linguistic bridge so that English speakers can also learn to sit without doing anything, and become free from the illusion of self.





  • Aug 25  Our next zazenkai will be in November. Please check here for dates.

  • Aug 7   Please reserve early. Reservations will close 24 hours prior to the start of zazenkai.

  • July 31 August zazenkai are Aug 9 (18:00 Japan time) and Aug 23 (7:00am Japan time).  Click here for reservations.  

  • July 13  We changed our name from "Simply Zen" to "Simply Zen Online." 

  • We started zazenkai twice a month! Regardless of your time zone, there is zazenkai at least once a month. See the group zazenkai page for the schedule.

  • Reservations for online zazenkai and private sessions. Feel free to contact us with questions too.



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