We take pleasure in creating music environments that
quiet the mind and open the heart.

Learn More

The word shikantaza refers to a form of Japanese Zen Buddhist meditation.
It literally translates as just sitting.

Shikantaza founders Douglas Miller and Brandon Lewin launched the Shikantaza Organic Law Music Project in 2005 as a vessel for soothing and melodic musical messages. They have formed the rhythm section for various groups for over 25 years.

The flow that is Shikantaza’s trademark is punctuated by precise dynamic and rhythmic movements. Its music is saturated with meaning, melody, and haunting harmonies.

The ensemble passionately explores the jazz canon, making familiar works uniquely their own, but also offering original compositions developed improvisationally.

The Core Trio

Df Miller

Doug Miller

Doug studied classical piano with F. Ming Chang, popular and jazz piano with the late Norman Schnell (pianist for Gene Krupa), gospel piano and organ with Lillette Jenkins-Wisner, and improvisation and composition with Laurie Altman. Doug is a founding member of the jazz trio Shikantaza.

When not performing, he devotes himself to musical research, composition, and production of soundtracks for independent film and video artists. His mythic musical mentors are Glenn Gould, Miles Davis, Ry Cooder, and Sun Ra.

Brandon Lewin

Brandon Lewin

Brandon is a founding member of Shikantaza. His light nuanced style has evolved through over 40+ years of professional performing and his spiritual pulse provides the "centering point" of the ensembles sound. Brandon’s musical family includes the late Mort Lewin, who wrote arrangements for the US Army band, and lead a jazz ensemble based in Princeton. Although Mort was a reed player, his love for Latin music inspired him to specialize in percussion.

In addition to performing meditative music with Shikantaza, Brandon is a Coach of Mindfulness Meditation with ‘Ease and Lightness’.

Bernhard Geiger

Bernhard Geiger

Born in Gengenbach, in the Black Forest region of Germany, Bernhard Geiger took piano and organ lessons from age ten from Arthur Münzer. In the course of his classical studies he discovered Bach. At age twenty, he started playing the double bass, studying with Johannes Schädlich (Jazz) and Laura McCreery (Classical). Bernhard has played with: the Thilo Wagner Trio and Threebop (Germany), Swing Line (France), and the Eric Haltmeier Trio, Tom Hyland Trio, The Ponds Big Band, and Shikantaza (USA). He admires Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Thelonius Monk, and John Coltrane, among others.

Support Staff

Pan Rui

Pan Rui

Pan Rui is Shikantaza's publicity coordinator and the editor of our newsletters and internet mailings. A Princeton University graduate, class of 1975, she majored in East Asian Studies. Her many years of editing and network skills -- first developed in her years as co-editor of The Princeton Recollector -- are valuable and integral to our organization. For thirty-five years she has been proud to work for the US Postal Service. She also serves on the boards of Kingston Greenways Association and Friends of Princeton Nursery Lands, and maintains their web sites. She is a volunteer with several other community organizations, and since 2003, she and her therapy dog Ringo have made regular visits to a local clinic for clients with brain injuries. She currently studies piano with Jean Parsons.

Our Services


The Shikantaza Trio has the expertise to create an appropriate and pleasurable listening experience for any occasion. With many years of collective experience providing music for public events and for commercial, corporate, and private clients, we can offer the perfect ensemble of instrumentalists, and vocalists, if desired. We specialize in customizing a program to achieve the desired theme or ambience for your event.

Shikantaza passionately explores the jazz canon and songs from "The Great American Songbook," making familiar works uniquely our own, as well as performing original compositions developed improvisationally. Our eclectic repertoire draws inspiration not just from jazz and popular music, but also from folk, classical, gospel, rock, and even country western genres. 

In addition to a vocal element, the core trio of piano, bass, and percussion can be augmented by guitar, winds, or brass. Shikantaza brings a fresh approach to every engagement, and is available to perform for any type of social occasion.

Stay in a state of shikantaza.
Negative thoughts? Let them float by.
They are clouds. You are the sky.

Our Work

Audio and Video

Archived Podcast

WWFM Jazz Discoveries

Upcoming Events

Friday, September 7th, 2018

8:00 PM

South Brunswick Jazz Cafe

Herb Eckert Auditorium in the Senior Center
South Brunswick Municipal Complex
540 Route 522, Monmouth Junction

Admission $6 at the door
Doors open 7:30 pm,
No reservations, no advance ticket sales.
This is a BYOB affair, feel free to bring your favorite beer,
wine or personal select beverages.

shikantaza trio


Shikantaza performs through out the metropolitan New York City and Philadelphia regions.

Feel free to contact us, by clicking the button below, for further information.

Contact Shikantaza