Zen Buddhism

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Zen Buddhism


Association Zen Internationale (AZI)

New Orleans Zen Temple
748 Camp St.
New Orleans, LA 70130

Alternate Address: International Headquarters: Association Zen Internationale, 175, rue de Tolbiac, 75013 Paris, France.

The Association Zen Internationale (AZI) was founded in 1970 by Taisen Deshimaru Roshi (1914–1982) in Paris, France, and brought to the United States in 1983 by Robert Livingston Roshi(b. 1933) who founded the American Zen Association, its American affiliate. Born in an old Samurai family, Taisen Deshimaru rejected both the Shinshu Buddhism of his mother and the Christianity which had captured his attention as a youth. He eventually found his way to Zen and to the Soto Master Kodo Sawaki.

Kodo Sawaki was a wandering monk. As a teenager he joined the army and after almost dying as a result of a wound, returned to Japan as a war casualty with neither family nor friends. He eventually found his way to Eiheiji monastery, where he stayed for several years. After leaving the monastery, he wandered the land and met Soto Master Koho Roshi, from whom he eventually received Dharma transmission. Over the years, a few disciples attached to him, including Taisen Deshimaru. They remained together until Deshimaru began his period of service in the Japanese Army during World War II. When the war was finally over, Deshimaru rejoined his Master and remained by his side until the latter's death. He received the monastic ordination shortly before the Master fell ill, and he received the Transmission (the Shiho) in 1965 while Kodo Sawaki was on his deathbed. The Master also commissioned Deshimaru to go to the West "so that Buddhism may again flourish."

Two years later Deshimaru entrusted the care of his family to his son, settled his business affairs, and took the Trans-Siberian to France, with no money nor knowledge of a single word of French. He was 53. He began sitting in the storage area of a food store. As the work grew he opened a dojo, founded other dojos throughout France, and eventually built the Gendronnire Temple, the biggest dojo in the West. In recognition of his accomplishment, he was recognized by the Soto authorities in Japan and named Kaikyosokan, responsible for Zen for all of Europe.

Deshimaru fell ill at the beginning of 1982, but continued teaching zazen each day. In the spring he left France for Japan, where he died on April 30.

Deshimaru's lineage was brought to America by Robert Livingston Roshi, who had practiced with him in Europe for 10 years. Livingston had grown up in New York, California, and Texas, and graduated from Cornell University. He spent two years in Japan and Korea in the U.S. Army in the early 1950s, and became a businessman in Europe. He retired in the early 1970s and began practicing Zen with Master Deshimaru in Paris. Deshimaru authorized Livingston to teach and asked him to come to the United States to spread the teachings of true Zen. So in 1983 Livingston Roshi moved, opening the New Orleans Zen Temple.

The New Orleans Zen Temple continues the Soto Zen practices earlier established in France. Members of the New Orleans community practice zazen and samu (work practice) together, and Livingston Roshi conducts sesshin (retreats) every month. From the initial efforts in New Orleans, centers have been opened in other cities.

AZI was brought to Canada by Philippe Duchesne, who opened work in Sutton, Quebec. Subsequently, centers have been opened at several locations in Quebec and one has opened in New Brunswick.

Membership: In 2002, the association reported 328 members. Affiliated centers are now operating in New Orleans; Starkville and Jackson, Mississippi; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Tiburon, California. AZI centers are found around the world in 36 countries.

Periodicals: Zen magazine, • Here and Now.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Atlanta Soto Zen Center (ASZC)

1414 McLendon Ave.
NE Atlanta, GA 30307

The Atlanta Soto Zen Center (ASZC) was founded in the early 1970s with the leadership of Michael Zenkai Taiun Elliston-Roshi, who was a disciple of Rev. Dr. Soyu Matsuoka-Roshi (d. 1997) in Chicago during the 1960s. Elliston-Roshi remains the Zen Center's superintendent.

The ASZC provides a group, or Sangha, to sit with, a place to sit together with a full zazen schedule, as well as a lending library and experienced teachers to respond to any questions that arise. The Zen Center operates a prison outreach program and offers meditation instruction to prisoners throughout the state of Georgia.

Membership: Not reported. ASZC also has affiliate centers in Charleston, South Carolina; and Huntsville, Alabama.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Berkeley Zen Center

1931 Russell St.
Berkeley, CA 94703

The Berkeley Zen Center is one of several organizations which originated in the Zen Center of San Francisco during the years of its leadership by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1901–1971). The Berkeley center was founded in 1967 and was at one in belief and practice with its parent body. However, following Suzuki Roshi's death, and the issues raised concerning the conduct of his successor, the Berkeley center became independent under Suzuki Roshi's student, Sojun Mel Weitsman. Emphasis is on lay practice.

Membership: There is one center.

Periodicals: Newsletter.


California Bosatsukai

5632 Green Oak Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90068

The California Bosatsukai shares the tradition of both Soen Nakagawa, Roshi and Nyogen Senzaki (1876-1958), two Japanese Zen Buddhist pioneers in America. A Rinzai Zen monk, Senzaki came to California in 1905 and in 1928 established his own zendo in San Francisco. He started another in 1929 in Los Angeles. He was the Zen master of these two independent zendos until he died in 1958. The California Bosatsukai continues the tradition of Senzaki in Los Angeles.

In the early 1960s, Hakuun Yasutani, Roshi, who was a student of Soen Nakagawa Roshi and had been trained on both the Rinzai and Soto Zen traditions, came to the U.S. Hakuun Yasutani accepted the role of Zen master for the California Bosatsukai along with his duties at other centers. He continued working with the California Bosatsukai until his death in 1973. Besides the Los Angeles center, there are branches in Hollywood, Del Mar, Los Gatos, and San Diego, California.

Membership: Not reported. There are approximately 100 members.


Nordstrom, Louis, ed. Namu Dai Bosa. New York: Theatre Arts Books, 1976.

Senzaki, Nyogen, and Ruth Stout McCandless, eds. Buddhism and Zen. New York: Philosophical Library, 1953.

Senzaki, Nyogen, and Salidin Reps, trans. 10 Bulls. Los Angeles: DeVorss & Co, 1935.


Cambridge Buddhist Association

75 Sparks St.
Cambridge, MA 02138

The Cambridge Buddhist Association, a nonsectarian center for lay Buddhist practice and studies, grew out of an interest in Zen Buddhism that developed in the 1950s at Harvard University. It first took shape during the 1957 visit to Cambridge, Massachusetts, of the noted Buddhist scholar Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966) and Dr. Shinichi Hisamatsu, professor emeritus of Kyoto University, the first scholar to give a series of lectures on Buddhism at the Harvard Divinity School. A group headed by Mr. and Mrs. John Mitchell persuaded the two scholars to remain in Cambridge for a while to establish a Western-style zendo (meditation center). Suzuki became the first president of the new association, a position he held until his death. For a period, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, of the Zen Center of San Francisco, served as the spiritual advisor until the selection of a second president, the Rev. Chimyo Horioka, a Shingon Buddhist priest.

The current president and spiritual teacher of the association is Maurine Myo on Stuart, who received her permission to teach from the late Soen Nakagawa, Roshi of Kyoto, Japan. Stuart is also a musician, an instructor in Buddhism at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and a popular teacher at other Buddhist centers around the United States. Other directors and advisors of the association have included Dr. Masatoshi Nagatomi of Harvard University and the late Dr. Holmes Welch, author of a variety of books on Chinese Buddhism. Because the association was for many years the only Zen center in the Boston area, it served as a central locus for Buddhist-interfaith dialogue. Results of a particularly significant early Christian dialogue session were later published as Conversations: Christian and Buddhist.

The association's zendo is housed in an old house in a residential neighborhood of Cambridge. Though the association does not publish a periodical and/or handbooks, it does have an extensive library of books and periodicals on Buddhism and related topics that it makes available to members. Currently there is a daily (Thursdays excepted) meditation period open to the public, as well as monthly sesshin retreats, occasional lectures, and private interviews. There are no communal living facilities at the temple nor any shared Shanga dwellings nearby. A single resident, usually chosen from among the students, serves the temple for a short designated period. The emphasis of instruction at the temple is on zazen practice (sitting meditation). Local universities and other schools bring classes and groups to the center for instruction on Buddhism and zazen practice.

Membership: In 1988, the association reported approximately 150 members and include a group from the Vietnamese-American community.


Cambridge Buddhist Association. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Buddhist Association, 1960.

Fujimoto, Rindo. The Way of Zazen. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Buddhist Association, 1969.

Graham, Aelred. Conversations: Buddhist and Christian. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1968.

Renfrew, Sita Paulickpulle. A Buddhist Guide for Laymen. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Buddhist Association, 1963.

Suzuki, Daisetz T. The Chain of Compassion. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge Buddhist Association, 1966.


Chozen-ji Kyudo

1001 Dillingham Blvd., Rm. 211
Honolulu, HI 96817

The Chozen-ji lineage of Zen emphasizes the integration of traditional Rinzai Zen training with instruction in the martial and fine arts. It was developed by Omori Roshi (b. 1904) who in 1975 was recognized as a Dharma successor of the Tenryu-ji Zen lineage. That same year he established Seitaiji Monastery. Three years later he was named president of Hanazono University where he had previous taught.

In 1972, Omori Roshi transmitted a new Zen lineage to America in 1972 with the establishment of Chozen-ji, International Zen Dojo in Hawaii. Subsequently a center has been opened in Wisconsin. The American centers have placed an emphasis on Kyudo, Zen archery, the oldest of Japan's traditional martial arts. Archery was neglected in the twentieth century with he new emphasis on firearms in the armed services. However, it was preserved by Honda Toshizane, a kyudo instructor at Tokyo Imperial University, who developed an eclectic style known as the Honda Ryu. After the war, all martial arts instruction was banned but Kyudo allowed. The Zen Nihon Kyudo Federation (All Japan Kyudo Federation) was established in 1953. Omori Roshi is noted to have said, "Zen without the accompanying physical experience is nothing but empty discussion. Martial Ways without truly realizing the mind is nothing but beastly behavior."

Chozen-ji developed in the years after Japan's defeat and the problems of war and peace weighed heavily on the consciousness of Omori Roshi. Out of that concern, in 1982, the Hawaiian members of Chozen-ji initiated the Institute of Zen Studies. It is their understanding there is an urgent need for Zen practitioners to introduce their perspective on human beings and the world to the West as part of the solution to ongoing international tensions.

Membership: Not reported. There are two centers in the United States, one in Hawaii and one in Wisconsin.

Periodicals: The Journal, Institute of Zen Studies.


Chozen-ji Betsuin/International Zen Dojo of Wisconsin. Chozen-ji Betsuin/International Zen Dojo of Wisconsin. http://members.aol.com/wibetsuin/index.html. 23 April 2002.

Dogen Hosokawa. Omori Sogen. London: Kegan Paul International, 1997.

The Institute of Zen Studies. http://www.izs.org/. 23 April 2002.

Sogen Omori. An Introduction to Zen Training. London: Kegan Paul International, 1996.

Veary, Nana. Change We Must. Honolulu, Hawaii: Water Margin Press, 1989.


Dharma Rain Zen Center

2539 SE Madison
Portland, OR 97214

Dharma Rain Zen Center is a Soto Zen Temple established in 1973 for lay practice under the direction of Kyogen Carlson and Gyokuko Carlson, a married couple who are Zen priests formerly associated with the late Juyi Kennett Roshi (d. 1996) and the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. Subsequently, additional satellite centers have been formed. The center in Eugene, Oregon, has created SAFE (Stop All Female Excision), a project aimed at educating African females. Meditation workshops are offered several times each month at no charge. One-day sittings and longer sesshins are held during the year.

Membership: Not reported. Four related groups are found in Portland, Eugene, Salem, and Pendleton, Oregon.

Periodicals: Still Point Newsletter.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Diamond Sangha

℅ Palolo Zen Center
2747 Waiomao Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96816

The Diamond Sangha is a Zen Buddhist society based in Hawaii and founded by Robert Aitken and his wife, Anne Aitken. It is part of the Sanbo Kyodan (Order of the Three Treasures), a lay stream of Soto Zen which includes aspects of Rinzai Zen (the two main schools of Japanese Zen). The Sanbo Kyodan, headquartered in Kamakura, Japan, is based on the teachings of Harada Dai'un, Roshi and was founded by Harada Roshi's successor, Hakuun Yasutani, Roshi (1885-1973) in the mid-1950s.

In 1962 Yasutani Roshi began periodic visits to Hawaii to guide the Diamond Sangha in Zen practice. The current abbot of the Sanbo Kyodan, Yamada Ko'un, Roshi, visited the Diamond Sangha annually during the 1970s and early 1980s.

Robert Aitken began his Zen practice in California with Nyogen Senzaki Sensei in 1947 and continued his training with Soen Nakagawa, Roshi and other teachers in Japan before establishing a bond with Sanbo Kyodan. In 1974 Yamada Roshi authorized him to teach and, in 1984, gave him full transmission with the name Chotan Gyo'un Ken, Roshi.

Robert Aiken Roshi retired in 1996 and was succeeded by Nelson Foster, who is also the teacher for the Ring of Bone community in Nevada City, California. Aitken now lives near his son on the island of Hawaii and continues to write and consult with other Buddhist leaders. He has published eight books on Buddhism. There are now 20 practice groups around the world officially affiliated with Diamond Sangha.

The Honolulu Diamond Sangha continues to meet the needs of lay practice at its two centers in Honolulu, a new zendo in the Palolo Valley of Honolulu and the Koko An residence near the University of Hawaii, which was the original zendo opened by Ann Hopkins Aitken and Robert Aitken in 1959. Several retreats (sesshin) are offered each year at the Palolo facility, and more extended residences are also available there. A journal, Blind Donkey, is published by the Diamond Sangha affiliate in Petaluma, California, and the Honolulu Diamond Sangha produces a monthly newsletter.

Membership: In 1995 the Sangha reported approximately 20 centers, including one in Argentina and two in Australia. Membership in each center is estimated at between 20 and 40 regular practioners.

Periodicals: Blind Donkey. • California Diamond Sangha Newsletter. Send orders to Box 2915, Petaluma, CA 94953.


Aitken, Robert. The Mind of Clover. San Francisco, CA: North Point Press, 1984.

——. A Zen Wave. New York: Weatherhill, 1978.

Not Mixing Up Buddhism: Essays on Women and Buddhist Practice. Fredonia, NY: White Pine Press, 1986.

Rawlinson, Andrew. The Book of Enlightened Masters: Weatern Teachers in Asian Traditions. Chicago: Open Court, 1997.

Tworkov, Helen. "Robert Aitken." In Zen in America: Profiles of Five Teachers. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1989.


First Zen Institute of America

113 E. 30th St.
New York, NY 10016

The First Zen Institute of America was founded in New York in 1930 by Sokei-an Sasaki, Roshi, who came to America in 1906 with a missionary group from Ryomo-Zen Institute of Tokyo. This effort to establish a center in San Francisco, California, was not successful, and all the members returned to Japan in 1910. Sokeian settled in New York in 1916 and founded the institute there in 1930. It was incorporated the following year under the name The Buddhist Society of America, assuming its present name in 1944. Ever since its founding, regular meetings have been conducted. A periodical, Cat's Yawn, was published 1940-41, and later was published in book form. Sokei-an, interned for a period after the beginning of World War II, in 1944 married Ruth Fuller Everett (d.1967), one of the most active members of the institute and former editor of Cat's Yawn. Sokei-an died the following year.

Sokei-an left no successor, but his students continued to meet and practice what he had taught them. Ruth Fuller moved to Daitoku-ji to continue her study. She became the first woman to become a Zen priest at that temple. She also organized the First Zen Institute of America in Japan to receive American students who wished to study abroad.

In 1954, the institute began a second periodical, Zen Notes, which included the writings of Sokei-an and other Zen Masters. In 1963, the institute moved into its present headquarters in Manhattan. A regular schedule of zazen meetings is held for members, and a weekly Wednesday evening session is open to newcomers. Still lay led, the institute periodically invites guest roshis to lead seshins and extended meditation retreats.

Governance of the institute is by its members through a council drawn from its senior members.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Zen Notes.


Cat's Yawn. New York: First Zen Institute in America, 1947.

Sasaki, Ruth Fuller. Zen, A Method for Religious Awakening. Kyoto, Japan: First Zen Institute of America in Japan, 1959.


Hazy Moon Zen Center

1651 S. Gramercy Pl.
Los Angeles, CA

Alternate Address: Centro Zen de Maezumi-Kuroda–Mexico City, Tlaxcaltitia 22, San Miguel Tecamachalco, Naucalpan, Edo De Mexico C.P. 53950.

The Hazy Moon Center is a Zen Buddhist congregation founded by William Nyogen Yeo, Sensei, a Dharma successor of Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931–1995), the founder of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. The Sangha encompasses two practice centers, the Hazy Moon Zen Center (a.k.a. Koun-ji Soto Zen Temple) in Los Angeles and the Centro Zen de Maezumi-Kuroda in Mexico City. Each center offers a variety of programs supporting seasoned practitioners as well as beginners.

The Sangha's spiritual heritage is grounded in the Soto Zen tradition, but also includes a thorough integration of koan practice (associated with Rinzai practice) introduced to the tradition by Maezumi, Roshi's teachers, Hakuun Yasutani, Roshi and Koryu Osaka Roshi.

Nyogen, Sensei, received Dharma transmission (authorization to teach) from Taizan Maezumi, Roshi, in 1995 after 26 years of intense practice and study. Following the Japanese Soto Zen way, in 1996 Sensei did his zuise ceremonies at the training monasteries of Eiheiji and Sojiji in Japan and thus completed the traditional Soto rites of recognition as a Zen Teacher (Sensei). Following Maezumi, Roshi's, death in 1995, Nyogen, Sensei, served for two years as the acting abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles before assuming his current role as the spiritual head of the Hazy Moon Sangha.

Membership: Not reported.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


International Zen Institute of America (IZIA)

1760 Pomona Ave., No. 35
Costa Mesa, CA 92627

The International Zen Institute of America was founded by the Ven. Roshi Gesshin Prabhasa Dharma (1931-1999). Gesshin Roshi was an artist and poet. In 1967 she met the Japanese Zen Master Joshu Kyozan Sasaki Roshi with whom she studied for the next 15 years. In 1968 she was ordained in the Rinzai Zen lineage of Myoshin-ji and among her duties was supervising the development of an affiliated center at Mt. Baldy, California. She was ordained a teacher in 1972 and spent the next year and a half in Japan studying Zen with Hirata Roshi at Tenryu-ji Monastery and learning Japanese and calligraphy.

Upon her return from Japan, Gesshin Roshi became head priest at Rinzai-ji Zen center. She began to travel to Europe and teach independently of the Rinzai-ji center. In 1983 she formally resigned from the lineage altogether. During this period Gesshin Roshi started to associate with the growing Vietnamese community centered in the International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles. In 1985 she received the Dharma Mind Seal Transmission from the Ven. Thich Man Giac of the United Vietnamese Buddhist Churches of America. She founded the International Zen Institute of America as an organizational umbrella for her work.

In 1999, Prabhasa Dharma appointed her Dutch disciple Jiun Hogen as her successor and spiritual leader of.

Though headquartered in Los Angeles, Gesshin Roshi traveled widely and developed affiliated centers in Florida, Germany, The Netherlands, and Spain.

Membership: In 2002, the institute reported 250 members in the United States and 1,700 additional members at the centers in Europe.


Friedman, Lenore. Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teacher in America. Boston: Shambhala, 1987.


Kanzeon Zen Center

1274 E. South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84102

Kanzeon Zen Center is a training center for Zen meditation under the guidance of Genpo Merzel Roshi. Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi (b. 1944) was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up in Long Beach, California. He attended California State University at Long Beach (B.A., 1966) and the University of Southern California (M.A., 1968). He taught school in Los Angeles and Long Beach from 1966 to 1971.

Genpo Roshi started formal Zen training under Taizan Maezumi Roshi at the Zen Center of Los Angeles in 1972. He was ordained by Maezumi Roshi in 1973 and given the title Hoshi (Dharma-Holder) after completing koan study in 1979. In 1980, Genpo Roshi received Shiho (Dharma transmission) from Maezumi Roshi, followed by Zuisse (another step toward full recognition as a teacher) in Japan in 1981. In the following year he began to conduct sesshins in several European countries, and in 1984, he left Los Angeles to devote himself completely to the international community of students he named the Kanzeon Sangha.

In 1988, Genpo Roshi completed shinsanshiki (installation as abbot) at Hosshinji Temple in Bar Harbor, Maine. In 1991 he moved to Oregon and in 1993, at the invitation of the Wasatch Zen Group, he relocated Hosshinji (Kanzeon Zen Center) to Salt Lake City, Utah. Genpo Roshi received the certificate of Dendokyoshi Kenshuso in 1995 at Green Gulch Farm in California. In October of 1996, he received Inka (formal recognition and authority to teach) from his elder Dharma brother, Tetsugen Glassman Roshi, in New York City. Tetsugen Roshi had received Inka from Maezumi Roshi shortly before the latter's death in May 1995.

To date, Genpo Roshi has given Dharma transmission to Catherine Genno Pages, the late John Shodo Flatt, and Anton Tenkei Coppens. Genno Sensei has recently set up a new Zen center in Paris, France, where she is the resident teacher.

The Kanzeon Center (named for the Buddhist goddess of compassion, also known as Kwan Yin) provides an extensive training program that emphasizes the traditional combination of sitting meditation (zazen) and frequent individual interviews with the teachers (dokusan and daisan). Besides a daily schedule, full-time training sessions (sesshins), lasting from three to nine days, are held regularly throughout the year. A three-month intensive (ango) takes place in winter, and includes a month-long sesshin.

At the center, various meditation methods are applied in order to respond to the needs of the individual student. These methods include breathing techniques, shikantaza (just sitting), and working with koans (questions to be resolved during sitting), but all aim at cutting through the delusion that obscures one's innate wisdom.

The center sponsors Kanzeon Jade Thread, which offers high-quality meditation cushions and custom-made meditation clothes for sale and provides service work for full-time Zen students.

Membership: As of 1998, this Sangha had over 1,000 members in the United States and Europe. American centers were located in Wahiawa, Hawaii; Champaign, Illinois; and Northampton, Massachusetts. European centers were found in France, England, Germany, Holland, and Poland.


Merzel Roshi, Dennis Genpo. Beyond Sanity and Madness—The Way of Zen Master Dogen. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1994.

——. The Eye Never Sleeps—Striking to the Heart of Zen. Boston: Shambhala, 1991.


Kanzeonji Non-Sectarian Buddhist Temple

951 Terrrace 49
Los Angeles, CA 90042

The Kanzeonji Non-Sectarian Buddhist Temple was founded in the 1980s by the Rev. Ryugen Watanabe, also known as Swami Premananda. Born in Japan, Rev. Watanabe was inspired by Kanzeon Bosatsu (also known as Bodhisattva Kannon or Kwan Yin), the Buddha of compassion, to bring Buddhism to America. He is the 62nd Patriarch (counting from Bodhidharma) in his line of transmission in the Soto Zen tradition. He is the abbot of Kanzeonji and founder of the Siva Ashram Yoga Center, where he holds the additional title of Swami.

The temple offers daily zazen meditation and chanting. Classes in hatha yoga are taught, and Rev. Watanabe offers his services as a practitioner of Zen energy healing (popularly called acupressure or shiatsu). Rev. Watanabe practiced shiatsu in Japan and began his work in America as an alternative to drug-oriented medicine.

Watanabe understands Zen as the form of meditation practiced by Gautama Buddha. It has as its object the forcing of the practitioner beyond the sphere of words to an immediate encounter with ultimate truth.

Membership: There is a single center in Los Angeles, which in 2002 served approximately 1,500 participants.

Periodicals: The Spiritual….


Guideline to Kanzeonji. Los Angeles: Zen Center of Kanzeonji Non-Sectarian Buddhist Temple, n.d.


Living Dharma Centers

PO Box 513
Bolton, CT 06043

The Living Dharma Centers were founded by Richard Clarke(b. 1933), a psychotherapist who met Philip Kapleau in 1967 and became his student at the Zen Center of Rochester. In 1980, he dropped his relationship to Kapleau after 14 years of intensive Zen training. He founded a center in Bolton, Connecticut and Amherst, Massachusetts. The stated goal of the centers is the awakening of the True Self to be manifest in all of life. The teachings and practice of the centers, combine elements from both the Soto and Rinzai traditions.

Membership: There are approximately 100 members.

Periodicals: Sangha News. • Living Dharma Center Journal.


Clark, Richard. Hsin Hsin Ming: Verse on the Faith-Mind by Sengtsan. Buffalo, NY: White Pine Press, 1973, 1984.

Rawlinson, Andrew. The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions. La Salle, IL: Open Court Press, 1997. 650 pp.


Middlebar Monastery

2503 Del Dio Dr.
Stockton, CA 95204

One of the earliest Zen centers led by an American, Middlebar Monastery was founded with the expressed purpose of bringing tradition methods of Zen training to Americans without using Japanese or Chinese language and culture. The Primate of Soto Zen in Japan, Rosen Takashina, certified the monastery in 1956 at Zoto Zen headquarters. Middlebar was founded by Doki MacDonough, an American disciple of Hodo Tobase of the Sokoji Soto Mission of San Francisco. MacDonough was elevated to the rank of roshi by Rosen Takashina in 1962 and appointed to head Middlebar Monastery.

The Abbot MacDonough follows a Soto approach of Zen Buddhism using traditional methods that are modified to suit Americans. Soto Zen finds its expression through the humanities and arts rather than through martial arts. Monks are trained to come to know themselves, recognize their own individual identity, and find their own expression for the benefit of society.

Applicants for admission must be unmarried, free of financial obligations, have graduated from high school, never been convicted of a felony, and be in good mental and physical health. There are no dietary practices for monks.

Unlike their counterparts in Christian monastic life, the Buddhist monks take no vows of any kind, and maintain control of their assets. Some monks leave the monastery after a period of training to resume a worldly life, while others choose to remain and make a career of the religious life.

Membership: Not reported.


Rawlinson, Andrew. The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions. La Salle, IL: Open Court Press, 1997. 650 pp.


Minnesota Zen Meditation Center

3343 Calhoun Pkwy.
Minneapolis, MN 55408

The Minnesota Zen Meditation Center began in the 1960s with a group of people in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who began to practice zazen, Zen meditation. They developed an association with the San Francisco Zen Center and its assistant priest, Dainin Katagiri Roshi (1928-1990), who visited them on several occasions. In 1972, the group extended an invitation to Katagiri Roshi to become the leader of a new Zen center they were establishing. He accepted, and the Minnesota Zen Center was formed in January 1973.

Katagiri Roshi was born in Japan in 1928 and became a Zen monk in 1946. He trained at Eiheji Monastery, the original center of the Soto Shu Sect. He came to the United States in 1963 to work with the Japanese-American Soto Buddhists and was assigned to their Los Angeles, California, temple. After five months, however, he was sent to San Francisco, California, to assist Shunryu Suzuki Roshi in both the San Francisco temple (Sokoji) and the independent Zen Center of San Francisco. While there, he assisted in the opening of the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

After coming to Minneapolis, Katagiri Roshi attracted students throughout the Midwest, and affiliated centers emerged. In 1978, the center purchased 280 acres in southeastern Minnesota; it began construction of a year-round facility for intensive Zen practice.

The center is governed by a board of directors that is elected at the annual meeting of members. There are four categories of membership: supporting, general, associate, and participating. All receive the same benefits and have voting privileges.

Membership: In 1995, the center reported 220 members and five centers in the United States and 6 members in Canada. There is one head teacher, Shohaku Okumura, whose term ends in August 1996.

Educational Facilities: Hokyo-ji (Catching the Moon Zen Mountain Center), New Albin, Minnesota.

Periodicals: MZMC Newsletter.


Mountain Moon Sangha

No. 6, 939 Avenue Rd.
Toronto, ON, Canada M5P 2K7

Mountain Moon Sangha is the name given to the students of Sei-un An Roselyn Stone, a teacher within the Sanbo Kyodan Buddhist lineage. In 1992 Stone established zendos in both Toronto, Ontario, and Brisbane, Australia, and now spends her time between the two centers.

New students are invited to attend a set of introductory lectures which include basic instruction in meditation and are then invited to join the regular meditation program. Stone also provides one-on-one contact with her students.

Membership: In 2002, there are reported 33 members.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


The Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO)

℅ Zen Mountain Monastery
PO Box 197
South Plank Rd.
Mount Tremper, NY 12457

The Mountains and Rivers Order (MRO) is an organization of associated Zen Buddhist temples, practice centers, and sitting groups in the United States and abroad. Inspired by Zen Master Dogen's 13th Century Mountains and Rivers Sutra, MRO was founded by Abbot John Daido Loori, a Dharma heir of Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi, best known as the founder of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Loori has received transmission in both the Rinzai and Soto lines of Zen Buddhism from which he has developed a distinctive style, involving both monastic and lay practitioners in a program of study that embraces every aspect of daily life. Loori is also president of Dharma Communications, a right-action enterprise devoted to making Buddhist teachings widely available through the production of videotapes, books, and meditation supplies.

MRO's function is maintaining the practice integrity of its member organizations. The main house of the order is Zen Mountain Monastery, a residential retreat center in the Catskills of New York state. The order also operates Dharma Communications, a media company supplying resources for home practice. Through the Society of Mountains and Rivers, groups of students around the world are joined in the MRO training program.

Zen Mountain Monastery is an American Zen Buddhist monastery and training center for monastics and lay practitioners. Each month an introductory weekend of Zen training is offered, as well as a week-long silent intensive meditation retreat (sesshin). Throughout the year, the regular daily schedule is supplemented with retreats in the Zen arts, martial arts, Buddhist studies, and other areas thought to be relevant and supportive to practitioners. Students can train in either full-time or part-time residency or as nonresidents whose practice at home is fueled by periodic visits to the monastery and the support of sitting together with others in one of the affiliate centers/groups of the Society of Mountains and Rivers Order.

Practice in Zen Mountain Monastery is based in what is termed the "Eight Gates". Loori observed that most Western practitioners come to Zen with virtually no background in Buddhism. Thus he felt it necessary to employ a broader spectrum of skillful means than just the traditional meditation and teacher-student relationship. As a result, he developed the "Eight Gates" of training, and each of these areas of training are pursued over 10 stages of spiritual development.

The first gate, zazen (meditation) is followed immediately with the development of a strong teacher-student relationship in the face-to-face teachings as the second gate. The third gate, academic study, explores, in addition to the particularly Zen Buddhist sutras, other schools of Buddhism, Buddhist history, philosophy, and psychology. The remaining five gates include liturgy, the Precepts, art practice, body practice, and work.

Membership: Not reported. The Mountains and Rivers Order includes the Zen Center of New York City; Providence Place Zendo, Albany, New York; Zen Affiliate of Vermont (ZAV), Burlington; and the Zen Institute of New Zealand (with sitting places at Temuka, Christchurch, Nelson, Wellington, and Auckland). The Lotus Flower Affiliate is located at Green Haven Correctional Facility, New York.

Periodicals: Mountain Record.


Loori, John Daido. The Eight Gates of Zen. Mt. Tremper, NY: Dharma Communications, 1992.

——. The Heart of Being. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1996.

——. Liturgy Manual. Mt. Tremper, NY: Dharma Communications, 1998.

——. Mountain Record of Zen Talks. Boston: Shambhala, 1988.

——. Still Point. Mt. Tremper, NY: Dharma Communications,1995.

——. Two Arrows Meeting in Mid-Air: The Zen Koan. Rutland, VT: Charles E. Tuttle, 1994.


One Drop Zendo

135 N. 75th St.
Seattle, WA 98103

One Drop Zendo was founded in 1989 in Seattle, Washington, by Shodo Harada Roshi, the Abbot of Sogenji, a Rinzai Zen monastery in Okayama, Japan. Since 1982 Sogenji has been one of those Japanese centers most open to study by students from the West. In the years following the zendo's founding, Harada Roshi has made annual trips to Seattle to lecture and lead retreats. In 1996, the zendo purchased a tract of land on Whidbey Island where a monastery is being constructed. When completed, Harada Roshi will move permanently to the United States.

The Zen Community of Oregon in Corbett, Oregon, is informally affiliated with One Drop Zendo.

Membership: Not reported.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Order of Buddhist Contemplative

℅ Shasta Abbey
3724 Summit Dr.
Mount Shasta, CA 96067-9102

The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives was founded by the Rev. P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett Roshi (1924-1996), a British-born Buddhist who spent most of her early years studying Theravada Buddhism. She was a member of the council of, and lectured at, the London Buddhist Society. She began her study of Buddhism with Ven. Saddhatissa. In 1962, she was ordained in Malaysia in the Chinese Rinzai Zen tradition before traveling to Japan to study at Dai Hon Zan Soji-ji, one of the two main temples of the Soto Zen Church. She became the personal disciple of the Very Rev. Chisan Koho Zenji, the temple's abbot, from whom she received her dharma transmission. After several years at the temple, she became head of its Foreign Guest Department and was placed in charge of instructing Westerners who came to Japan to learn Zen. She eventually became abbess of Unpuku-ji Temple in Mie Prefecture. In 1969, after completing her studies and following the death of Zenji, she moved to San Francisco, California, and established the Zen Mission Society. In 1970, the society moved to Mt. Shasta, California, where a monastery and seminary were created. The society has more recently taken its present name, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.

Kennett Roshi had a commission to train and ordain others, and the prime thrust of the order has been to train both women and men for the Soto Zen priesthood. A Western environment is evident in the religious practice of the order. A complete course of study in Soto Zen Buddhism is offered, which includes religious music and temple administration skills. The order is among those Zen groups which place the most emphasis upon their Buddhist heritage. Along with zazen and the teachings of Soto Zen, a study is also undertaken in the teachings of the Buddha according to Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. Priest-trainees live full-time at the Shasta monastery. Celibacy is required for all priests.

The publication of Kennett Roshi's several books, her lecture tours, and the development of trained teachers at Mt. Shasta have contributed to the growth of several affiliated centers. By 1998, there were priories established at Reading and Telford, England, Albany and Santa Barbara, California; Portland and Eugene, Oregon; McKenna, and Seattle, Washington; Vancouver, British Columbia. The order has a European monastery, Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, in Northumberland, England, which also trains priests. There are also numerous study-meditation groups in the United States, Canada, England, the Netherlands, and Germany. Following the death of Rev. Jiyu-Kennett in 1996, Rev. Daizui MacPhillamy was elected to succeed her as head of the order and Rev. Eko Little was elected to succeed her as Abbot of Shasta Abbey.

Membership: As of Jan. 2002, 95 active priests and 150 lay ministers.

Educational Facilities: Shasta Abbey, Mt. Shasta, California. Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, Northumberland, England.

Periodicals: The Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.


Friedman, Lenore. Meetings with Remarkable Women. Boston, MA: Shambhala, 1987.

Kennett, Jiya. How to Grow a Lotus Blossom. Mt. Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey, 1977.

——. The Wild, White Goose. 2 vols. Mt. Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey, 1970-78.

——. Zen is Eternal Life. Emeryville, CA: Dharma Publishing, 1976.

Nearman, Hubert, trans. The Monastic Offics. Mount Shasta Abbey, 1993.

Nearman, Hubert, Rev. Master P. T. N. H. Jiyu-Kennett, and Daizui Mac-Phillamy, eds. Buddhist Writings on Meditation and Daily Pracctice: The Serene Reflection Meditation Tradition. Mount Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey, 1994. 382 pp.

"Shasta Abbey, 1970—1995" Special issue of The Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives 10, 3/4 (Autum/Winter, 1995).

Zen Meditation. Mt. Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey, 1980.

Zen Training. Mt. Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey, 1982.

Zenji, Keizan. The Denkoroku; or, The Record of the Transmission of the Light. Mount Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey, 1993. 303 pp.


Ordinary Mind Zen School

℅ Zen Center of San Diego
2047 Felspar
San Diego, CA 92109

The Ordinary Mind Zen School was founded by Charlotte Joko Beck, who in the early 1980s had been named one of the four Dharma heirs of Zen Center of Los Angeles. Since her separation from the Los Angeles center, Beck has become recognized as an important Soto Zen teacher in her own right and the author of several widely read books.

The Ordinary Mind Zen School manifests and supports practice in what has come to be called the Awakened Way. It is composed of Charlotte Joko Beck, her Dharma successors, and the teachers and successors they, as individuals, have formally authorized. There is no affiliation between the Ordinary Mind centers and other Zen groups or religious denominations; however, individual membership does not preclude individual affiliation with other groups.

The Awakened Way is thought of as universal; the medium and methods of realization vary according to circumstances. Each Dharma successor in the school may apply diverse practice approaches and determine the structure of any organization that s/he may develop to facilitate practice. Within the school there is no hierarchy of Dharma successors. The successors acknowledge that they are ongoing students, and that the quality of their teaching derives from the quality of their practice. As ongoing students, teachers are committed to the openness and fluidity of practice, wherein the wisdom of the absolute may be manifested in /as our life. An important function of this school is the ongoing examination and development of effective teaching approaches to insure comprehensive practice in all aspects of living.

Dharma successors Elihu Genmyo Smith and Diane Eshin Rizzetto reside at the Prairie Zen Center in Champaign, Illinois, and the Bay Zen Center in Oakland, California, respectively. Beck is an active member of the White Plum Asanga.

Membership: Not reported. There are centers related to the school in San Diego and Oakland, California; Champaign, Illinois; and New York City.


Beck, Charlotte Joko. Everyday Zen: Love and Work. San Francisco: Harper, 1989. 224 pp.

——. Nothing Special: Living Zen. Steve Smith, ed. San Francisco: Harper, 1994. 288 pp.


Rinzai-Ji, Inc.

℅ Rinzai Zen Center
2505 S. Cimarron
Los Angeles, CA 90018

Rinzai-Ji, Inc. is an association of Zen centers in the Rinzai tradition which began in 1968 with the founding of the Cimarron Zen Center in Los Angeles by Joshu Kyozan Sasaki Roshi. Sasaki Roshi had received his Inka, acknowledg of his accomplishments as a student, by Joten Miura, later to become leader of the Myoshinji sect of Rinzai Zen in Japan. Sasaki Roshi left the monastery he headed in Japan to come to America in 1962. Rinzai-Ji began as a gathering of students who had responded to his several years of teaching in Southern California. In 1970 a second center began in Redondo Beach, California, and that same year, the main training center was opened on Mt. Baldy, east of Los Angeles. Sasaki Roshi continued an active schedule visiting centers, training students, and lecturing around the United States, and other centers developed in the East and in Puerto Rico (1983). A Canadian center in Vancouver can be traced to a group which formed in response to talks given by Sasaki Roshi in 1967. A set of lectures in Austria in 1979 led to the first European affiliated center being formed. Each center of Rinzai-Ji offers an intensive program of zazen ("sitting with the master") and periodic sesshin ("extended sitting meditation"). All are headed by individuals trained by Sasaki Roshi.

Membership: Not reported. In 1997 there were 12 centers in the United States, four in Canada, and one each in Puerto Rico, and Austria.


Sasaki, Joshu. Buddha Is the Center of Gravity. San Cristobal, NM: Lama Foundation, 1974.


Sonoma Mountain Zen Center

6367 Sonoma Mountain Rd.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

The Sonoma Mountain Zen Center was founded in 1973 by Jakusho Kwong Roshi (b. 1935), a student of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi. A former commercial artist, he began practicing at the Sokoji Temple, a Soto Zen temple serving the Japanese American community in San Francisco, and in 1970 was ordained by Suzuki Roshi(1904–1971). Kwong Roshi founded the Sonoma Center to honor his teacher and to perpetuate his Zen lineage. He also continued his study in Japan and in 1978 completed his Dharma transmission through Hoitsu Suzuki Roshi in Rinsoin, Japan. By this act he shared in a lineage that was traced back through 91 generations to Shakyamuni Buddha.

After relocating to Sonoma County, Kwong Roshi taught at Sonoma State University and laid plans for the development of a residential community for the practice of Zen. Within a short time, the center had a full program of zazen (meditation), sesshin (extended retreats), and one-day programs (seminars and sittings). Kwong Roshi has also extended his teachings internationally and now oversees two centers in Poland.

Membership: In 1997 there were 125 members in the single center in California and 75 members in the two centers in Warsaw, Poland.

Periodicals: Mountain Wind.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Soto Mission

℅ Zenshuji Soto Mission
123 S. Hewitt St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Zenshiju Soto Mission was founded in July 15, 1922, by Rev. Hosen Isobe, and its first temple built at the mission's current location in October 1923. During World War II, the temple was closed due to the internment of American Japanese in relocation camps; afterward, Rev. Daito Suzuki reestablished the temple upon his return from the camp. The Zenshuji as it exists today was built in 1969 by Rev. Reirin Yamada and Rev. Togen Sumi.

In 1932 the Zenshuji was appointed subsidiary of the two main temples in Japan (Eiheiji and Sojiji), and in 1937 the general Head Office was established at the Zenshuji in order to manage the administration of Soto Zen Buddhism in North America. From its inception, the Zenshuji has been the center of Zen Buddhism in America.

The it has historically operated primarily among the Japanese-American community, Zenshuji is open to any person interested in Zen Buddhism and Japanese culture. The Mission's Education Center, established in 1997, works to propagate the true Zen Buddhism to the Western world, with activities extended to Europe and South America. By the year 2001, 30 Soto Zen temples and centers were registered by the Head Office and more than 100 registered monks were receiving instruction to become teachers of Soto Zen Buddhism in the United States. The Head Office and Education Center also publish and distribute material regarding Soto Zen Buddhism, including an English translation of main sutras for daily reading. The Soto Mission's Internet addresses are http://www.sotozen-net.or.jp and http://www.zenshuji.org.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Soto Zen Journal.


Buddha's Seeds Taking Firm Roots in North America. Los Angeles: Activity Committee of the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists, 1997.

Hunt, Ernest. Gleanings from Soto-Zen. Honolulu, HI: The Author, 1953.

A Short Manual of Soto Zen Buddhism. Tokyo: Evangelization Department of the Soto Zen Sect, 1962.


Springwater Center

7179 Mill St.
Springwater, NY 14560

Springwater Center came into being in 1981 as the Genesee Valley Zen Center when Toni Packer (1927) and a group of friends left the Rochester Zen Center. Toni had been a student of Roshi Philip Kapleau there and became a teacher before leaving. As a teacher, Packer's concern with the problems of tradition and authority led her to question her affiliation with formal Buddhist Zen. "Don't all present and past influences have to stop interfering in order to attend fully, immediately, now?" The new center was founded out of this need to see through the raw material of our everyday lives rather than grapple with traditional koans and practices. The center acquired the Springwater property, built a facility, and since 1985 has held retreats here, with no rituals or ceremonies of any kind. In 1986 it changed its name to Spring-water Center. Packer is involved in exploring how thought constructs images of self and other, how authority is created, how separation annd conflict come into being, and what happens when there is awareness and insight. Born in Germany, Toni has lived most of her adult life in western New York. She has led retreats since 1976. Besides her work at Springwater, Toni travels to Europe and California to give retreats and talks each year. She is the author of several books, including The Work of This Moment, The Light of Discovery and The Wonder of Presence. Toni no longer calls herself a teacher, and makes no special claim to authority. Her approach is at once simple, radical and ordinary. She is open to meet with those who wish to work with her.

Membership: The center has 255 members.


Packer, Toni. Seeing Without Knowing: Writings on Zen Work. New York: Genesee Valley Zen Center, 1983.

——. What Is Meditative Inquiry? Springwater, NY: Springwater Center, 1988.

——. The Work of This Moment. Boston: Shambhala, 1990.

Rawlinson, Andrew. The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions. La Salle, IL: Open Court Press, 1997. 650 pp.


Three Treasures Zen Community

246 Santa Clara Dr.
Vista, CA 92083

The Three Treasures Zen Community consists of a set of centers founded by Nicolee Jikyo Miller-McMahon, Sensei, who had received her Dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931–1995) of the Zen Center in Los Angeles. The community strives to create an open and compassionate environment in which the Zen teaching can be transmitted to both lay and monastic students. A broad program includes both koan practice and sitting meditation, as well as art, sacred dance, the development of communication skills, and social concerns. There is a regular schedule of retreats.

Membership: Not reported. Affiliated centers are found throughout the Bay area.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Toronto Zen Centre

33 High Park Gardens
Toronto, ON, Canada M6R 1S8

The Toronto Zen Centre was founded in 1968 by Philip Kapleau, the founder of the Zen Center of Rochester and a number of affiliated centers. The Toronto center remained tied to the Rochester center for 18 years, but became autonomous in 1986. The center is led by Sensei Sunyana Graef, one of Kapleau's Dharma heirs. Though autonomous, the center follows the belief and practices of its parent body. The associated Vermont Zen Center in Shelburne was founded in 1988.

Membership: The center reports 114 members. Affiliated with the center is Casa Zen in Costa Rica.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Udumbara Zen Center

501 Sherman Ave.
Evanston, IL 60202

The Udumbara Zen Center was founded in the 1980s as an out-post of the Zen Center of San Francisco but has subsequently become independent even though a fraternal relation continues. The Udumbara center has remained a Soto center, but has incorporated elements of both Hinayana (Theravada) and Vajrayana (Tibetan) tradition in its life.

Membership: Not reported. Also affiliated with the Udumbara Zen Center are centers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Breaux Bridge and Lafayette, Indiana; Cleveland, Ohio; and Cupertino, California.

Periodicals: Central Flower.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Valley Zendo

Warner Hill Rd.
Claremont, MA 01330

The Valley Zendo was established in 1971 as an outpost of Antai-ji Temple, a Soto Zen center in Japan. From the beginning, Uchiyama Roshi has sent his students from the temple to serve as resident teachers at the zendo. They have established and maintained a strict schedule of sitting practice and retreats. A related zendo has been opened in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Membership: Not reported.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


White Wind Zen Community (WWZC)

PO Box 203, Sta. A
Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 8V2

The White Wind Zen Community (WWZC) is a Soto Zen organization founded by the Ven. Anzan Hoshin, a teacher who received his training at Hakukaze-ji monastery in Japan. During the early 1980s he gathered a group of students in the Ottawa area. In 1985 the original center was White Wind Zazenkai, after the name of the Soto Zen Lineage stream that he inherited. Zazenkai means "gathering together for zazen." Two years later the center was relocated into enlarged facilities and was able to provide morning and evening zazen along with regular classes and monthly sesshin and residential training for a few students. In 1988 Joan Shikai Woodward became the first student to receive postulant vows as a monastic.

In 1989, the Zazenkai was renamed White Wind Zen Community, and relocated to Ottawa's Chinatown area. In 1990 two branch centres were formed in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and in Harrow, England. A sub-temple, Jomyo-in, was established in Ottawa in 1993, and allowed for residential training and an auxiliary practice space (Dojo).

In September 1996 the WWZC purchased a 9,700 square foot heritage mansion previously owned by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (a Roman Catholic order) to serve as its permanent training monastery. It was given the temple name Honzan (meaning "root mountain" or "main center") Dainen-ji ("Great Mindfulness" or "Vast Mind Moment") in honor of Hoshin's late master Yasuda Joshu Dainen daiosho.

The White Wind Zen Community presents the transmission of the practice and teachings of Hakukaze Soto Zen, and provides a formal environment and intensive schedule for monastic and lay training.

Membership: Not reported. There are the centers in Canada and one in England.


Lorie, Peter, and Julie Foakes. The Buddhist Directory. Rutland, VT: Chares E. Tuttle Co., 1997. 424 pp.


Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago

865 Bittersweet Dr.
Northbrook, IL 60062-3701

The largest Zen center in the Midwest is the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago, a Soto center established by Rev. Soyu Matsuoka in the late 1950s. The major activity of the group is the meditation service, which includes a lecture by one of the priests. Matsuoka was sent to the United States and served as a priest in California before coming to Chicago. The current head of the Chicago center is the Rev. Kongo Langlois. The Rev. Dale Ver-Kuilen is the instructor at the Long Beach Temple, and Matsuoka Roshi remains as spiritual leader of both. Small groups associated with the Chicago Temple can be found in the states surrounding Lake Michigan. Matsuoka opened a center in Detroit, Michigan in 1973.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Diamond Sword.


Zen Center of Hawaii

PO Box 2066
Kamuela, HI 96743

The Zen Center of Hawaii was founded in 1993 by Robert Joshin Althouse with the blessings of his teacher, Taizan Maezumi Roshi, best known as the founder of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. He was ordained as a Soto Zen Buddhist priest by Maezumi Roshi in 1973 and spent 12 years working as an artist in Los Angeles. Besides Zen, he has also studied in the Tibetan tantric tradition with Trungpa Rinpoche and Gyaltrul Rinpoche.

He is a Dharma holder of his present teacher, Bernard Tetsugen Glassman Roshi. Althouse's wife, June Kaililani Tanoue, directs a program for Drug Addiction Services of Hawaii and is a master hula dancer and chanter.

The main center of the Zen Center of Hawaii is located on Hawaii in the small country town of Waimea (Kamuela) on the northern side of the island. The Zen Center offers weekly zazen schedules in all three of its zendo locations, as well as monthly sesshins at it s center in Waimea. The center also offers classes in anger management and working with conflict in relationships. The Zen Center has begun a community garden in North Hawaii on land belonging to Parker School in Waimea. The name of the garden is I Ka Pono, which means "cultivate the goodness". The garden site is located in the center of Waimea town, between Parker School and Paniolo Country Inn.

Membership: Not reported. Besides the zendo at Waimea, there are regular gatherings at Hilo, Kona, and Volcano.


Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Zen Center of Los Angeles

923 S. Normandie Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006

The Zen Center of Los Angeles was formed in 1967 by a group of students under the leadership of Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931-1995), a Zen master formerly with the Zenshuji Soto Mission in Los Angeles. The inspiration for the center came from Hakuun Yasutani, Roshi's visits in the early 1960s. The Los Angeles center supports a variety of activities including daily zazen, weekly lectures by Maezumi Roshi or one of his associates, and beginning classes. Center members also attend dokusan (master/ student interviews) and monthly sesshin (extended "sitting" meditation). A residence program allows a few students to live at the center.

During the 1970s, the center developed a vigorous publishing program and Maezumi Roshi developed a following across the United States. Groups affiliated with the Zen Center of Los Angeles developed in Arizona, Oregon, Utah, and New York. Two rural centers at Mt. Tremper, New York, and Mountain Center, California, provide accomodations for more intensive Zen practice. The Kuroda Institute develops programs aimed at the academic community. Internationally, affiliated centers have emerged in England, Mexico and the Netherlands.

Membership: In 1988, there were approximately 1,000 members in more than 20 centers in the United States. Affiliated centers are located in England, Holland, Poland, and Mexico with an additional 1,000 members. There are approximately 20 members in Canada, but no center has yet been organized.

Educational Facilities: Karoda Institute, Los Angeles, California.

Periodicals: The Ten Directions.

Remarks: In the early 1980s, the Zen Center of Los Angeles went through a crisis centered in part upon the alcoholism of Maezumi Roshi. After going through a treatment program, he remains at the head of the center. Meanwhile, he has named four dharma heirs: Bernard Tetsugen Glassman (1978); Dennis Genpo Merzelsensei, Jan Chozen Soule-sensei, and Charlotte Joko Beck.


Buksbazen, John Daishin. To Forget the Self. Los Angeles: Zen Center of California, 1977.

Maezumi, Hakuyu Taizan, and Bernard Tetsugen Glassman, eds. The Hazy Moon of Enlightenment. Los Angeles: Zen Center of Los Angeles,1977.

——. On Zen Practice. 2 vols. Los Angeles: Zen Center of Los Angeles, 1976.


Zen Center of Rochester

Seven Arnold Park
Rochester, NY 14607

The Zen Center of Rochester grew out of the experience of Philip Kapleau. Kapleau had encountered Zen while in Japan as a war crimes trial court reporter. Further spurred by the lectures of lay scholar Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki at Columbia University, he returned to Japan and studied under Soen Nakagawa, Roshi, who assigned the "Mu" koan discussed elsewhere in this volume. Kapleau later trained for three years at the Soto monastery at Hosshinji. After five years, Kapleau experienced kensho, a deep mystic enlightenment, and followed it with eight more years of training under Hakuun Yasutani, Roshi, who in 1966, sanctioned him as a teacher of Zen.

At this same time, Kapleau published one of the most influential Zen books, The Three Pillars of Zen. There is strong emphasis on koan work, as well as the zazen meditation of his Rinzai training (with elements of Soto). Zazen means sitting still with a one pointed, stabilized mind.

The center was founded in 1966 and under Kapleau's leadership, grew steadily. In 1968, Zen Bow began as a quarterly publication. Affiliates of the Rochester Center are located in Chicago, Illinois, and Madison, Wisconsin. Foreign affiliates are located in Mexico City, Mexico; Stockholm, Sweden; and Berlin, Germany.

In 1987 Philip Kapleau appointed one of his Dharma Heirs, Sensei Bodhin Kjolhede, as the Spititual Director of the Rochester Zen Center. Bodhin Kjolhede had trained under Kapleau for 16 years before being sanctioned by him to teach in 1986. Currently, the Rochester Zen Center has affiliate groups in Madison, Wisconsin; and Berlin, Germany. Sensei Kjolhede has sanctioned three teachers, who direct their own Centers in Sweden, Mexico, and Chicago.

Membership: In 2002 there were approximately 422 members in the United States and an additional 43 members worldwide.

Periodicals: Zen Bow.


Kapleau, Philip. Three Pillars of Zen. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980.

——. To Cherish All Life. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1982.

——. Zen: Dawn in the West. N.p., 1981.

Kapleau, Philip, ed. The Wheel of Death. New York: Harper & Row, 1971.

Low, Albert. The Iron Cow of Zen. Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1985.


Zen Center of San Francisco

300 Page St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

The Zen Center of San Francisco dates from 1959 when students began to gather around the newly arrived Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, head of the Sokoji Temple, the Soto Zen Mission in San Francisco, at that time primarily a temple for the Japanese-American community. After Suzuki Roshi arrived, American students began to sit and study with him. Eventually, this group emerged as a distinct organization.

In 1967, the group purchased Tassajara Hot Springs outside of Carmel Valley, California, as the site for a mountain center more accommodating to traditional monastic Zen practice. Since this time the Tassajara Center has offered monastic training period in the winter and a four month guest season as well as workshops and retreats in the summer. In 1969, a large building in San Francisco was purchased as a city temple and a residence which also provides guest accommodations. The third practice place, Green Gulch Farm, was founded in 1972. Those who live at the farm follow the training schedule (as do residents at each of the other centers), as well as grow organic produce and care for the many guests and retreatants who visit yearly. Other affiliated centers have emerged in cities including Monterey, Berkeley, Los Altos, Santa Cruz, California; and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Suzuki Roshi was succeeded as Abbot of Zen Center by his student Richard Baker. During the next decade the center prospered, adding members as well as developing several businesses (a bakery, a restaurant, etc.) as means of self-support. In 1983, Richard Baker resigned. After a period of transition, Tenshin Reb Andersonl was installed as Abbot of Zen Center, to be joined two years later by Sojun Mel Weitsman as co-Abbot.

There are currently approximately 650 members of Zen Center, about half of whom are voting members. A voting member is one who has been a member for three years or more and is thus eligible to vote in the annual election for the Board of Directors, Zen Center's governing body. Many non-members also join the commuinity for meditation, workshops, classes, and retreats or in a hospice volunteer program and other forms of community out-reach. All programs are open to the public.

Membership: In the 2002 approximately 650 people were associated with the city center in San Francisco. Approximately 50 lived at Green Gulch.

Periodicals: Wind Bell.


Brown, Edward Espe. The Tassajara Bread Book. Boulder, CO: Shambhala, 1970.

Butler, Katy. "Events are the Teacher." COEvolution 40 (Winter 1983): 112-123.

Suzuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, New York: Weatherhill, 1970.


Zen Community of New York

14 Ashburton Pl.
Yonkers, NY 10703

The Zen Community of New York was founded in 1979 by Bernard Tetsugen Glassman, who had been named a Dharma heir of Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931–1995), the founder of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Over the years the community became independent of the work in California. It has also developed into one of the more unique Zen communities in America in that it has developed an outward-looking program that views its ministry primarily in terms of social work. For example, members hold retreats on the street with the local homeless community or in such locations in the local community as to bear witness to the social and economic problems of society. Glassman Roshi is currently working with his associate, Sensei Jishu Holmes, in building the Zen Peacemaker Order to promote initiatives for social change that are grounded in Buddhist teaching and practice. The zendo in New York holds weekly meditation at the Gay Men's Health Crisis center, provides scholarships for people with HIV/AIDS, and cares for those in need.

The outward-looking perspective of the community is also embodied in what is termed the Greyston Mandala. The Mandala consists of a number of "community-building" structures such as the Greyston Family Inn, the Greyston Bakery, Greyston Health Services, and Pamsula Patchwork and Sewing.

Several additional centers are associated with the community, and Glassman is an active leader in the White Plum Asanga.

Membership: Not reported. Affiliated centers are found in New York City, Brooklyn, East Hampton, and Sagaponack, New York; and Boca Raton, Florida.


Glassman, Bernard, and Rick Fields. Instruction to the Cook: Zen Master's Lessons in Living a Life that Matters. New York: Bell Tower, 1996.

Morreale, Don. The Complete Guide to Buddhist America. Boston: Shambhala, 1998.


Zen Community of Oregon

PO Box 7
Corbett, OR 97019

The Zen Community of Oregon was founded in 1975 by Taizen Maezumi, Roshi, who also founded the Zen Center of Los Angeles. The Oregon community has been led by Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi, and her husband Zen Teacher Hogen Bays since 1984.

Chozen Bays was ordained by Maezumi Roshi in 1979 and was named his fourth dharma heir in 1984. She is a mother and pediatrician, but most of her time is devoted to teaching and writing about Zen Buddhism.

Hogen Bays began practice in 1968 with Roshi Philip Kapleau, and was ordained by Maezumi Roshi in 1990. He has a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a Master's degree in psychology, and works full time for the Zen Community of Oregon. Both Chozen and Hogen have continued their advanced Zen training with Shodo Harada, Roshi Abbot of Sogenji Monastery in Japan.

The Zen Community of Oregon sponsors urban meditation and classes in Portland, Oregon. It has founded Great Vow Monastery, which holds meditation retreats (sesshin) monthly and a wide variety of classes for both ordained and lay Buddhists, along with about 70 days of intensive meditation per year. Great Vow Monastery also sponsors Buddhist speakers and offers workshops. There is a core program leading to ordination as a Zen Buddhist priest available for those who meet the criteria. Great Vow Monastery is located in the country near Portland.

The group's Internet site is http://www.zendust.org.

Membership: In 2002, the community reported approximately 60 active members and five people preparing for ordination. It also has many visitors from all areas of the United States, who participate in their events.

Educational Facilities: Great Vow Zen Monastery.

Periodicals: Dharma Dust.


Rawlinson, Andrew. The Book of Enlightened Masters: Western Teachers in Eastern Traditions. La Salle, IL: Open Court Press, 1997. 650 pp.

Sidor, Ellen, ed. A Gathering of Spirit: Women Teaching in American Buddhism. Cumberland, RI: Primary Point Press, 1987.


Zen Studies Societ

℅ Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji
HCR 1 Box 171
Livingston Manor, NY 12758-9402

The Zen Studies Society was founded in 1956 to assist the work of Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870–1966). Suzuki came to the United States in 1949 and settled at Columbia University in 1951. His lectures at Columbia lay behind much of the public interest in Zen, one visible result being the establishment of the Zen Studies Society. When Suzuki moved on to Harvard in 1957, the group continued its studies without the presence of a Zen Master. Then in 1965, Eido Tai Shimano, formerly a monk at Ryutaku-ji (Dragon Temple) headed by Nakagawa Soen Roshi, moved to New York. He assumed leadership of the Zen Studies Society and shifted it from its more intellectual study to the practice of zazen (Zen meditation). He established the New York Zendo Shobo Ji (Temple of True Dharma) in Manhattan in 1968, and then turned his attention toward the establishment of a rural Zen monastery. In 1971 land was purchased in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York for the International Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo Ji (Diamond Temple), dedicated in 1976. In 1972 Eido Shimano Roshi received inka, Rinzai Zen Dharma transmission in the Hakuin/Torei lineage, from Soen Roshi. Roshi now served as abbot of the Zen Studies Society and the spiritual teacher at it two centers.

The New York Zendo Shobo Ji provides a place for Zen practice to residents of New York City. Beginners are invited to Thursday evening meetings. Otherwise the Zendo is open at various times each week for zazen. There are weekend sesshin (zazen intensives) five times annually, and periodic all-day zazen sessions. Monthly Dharma studies sessions are held. After a period of regular attendance and practice, one may apply for full membership.

Dai Bosatsu Zendo was dedicated on July 4, 1976, partially as act of commemoration of America's Bicentennial. Here, twice annually in the spring and fall, a three-month traditional monastic training is held, which attracts students from around the world. Students follow a rigorous schedule which includes zazen, chanting, and physical labor. They also follow a vegetarian diet. A monthly "sesshin" is also held during which time the Zazen retreat population at the monastery swells.

Membership: In 1996 the society reported a constituency community of 5,000 though there are only several hundred members and students regularly engaged in zazen.

Periodicals: The Newsletter of the Zen Studies Society.


Daily Sutras for Chanting and Recitation. New York: New York Zendo of the Zen Studies Society, n.d.

Shimano, Eido. Golden Wind. Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1979.

—— ed. Like a Dream, Like a Fantasy. Tokyo: Japan Publications, 1978.

Shimano, Eido T. Points of Departure: Zen Buddhism with a Rimzai View. Livingston Manor, NY: Zen Studies Society Press, 1991. 194pp.

Shimano, Eido T., and Kosetsu Tani. Zen Ward, Zen Calligraphy. Boston: Shambhale, 1995. 154pp.