Open Circle sangha had its beginnings in 1984 when David Cooper invited people to meditate with him in his apartment on 5th Avenue in Helena. This group disbanded after a few months, but in 1989 a few people again began meeting weekly for meditation and discussion. Over the years there were many changes of venue, as well as in the number and makeup of participants, with David Cooper being the one constant throughout the years. Through his efforts and that of other committed participants, weekly meditation has been offered ever since 1989.
In 1998 we adopted the name "Open Circle Sangha," and today an average of ten to twelve people participate regularly. We offer a Sunday morning schedule of zazen, service, and reading in the Immaculata Hall auditorium on 32 S. Ewing Street in Helena. For the last seven years we have held an annual "Practice Intensive" for one or two weeks in the spring, led by Gyokujun Teishin Layla Smith, our primary guiding teacher, who visits regularly from the Bay Area. During the intensive three periods of zazen are offered on weekdays, as well as an extended Sunday program and a weekly class.
We welcome anyone who is interested in learning more about meditation, and we especially welcome beginners. For information, please e-mail