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    The Lineage: A Continuing History...

    The history of Zen Buddhism presents itself as a family saga. Each priest of the Sôtô school today belongs to an uninterrupted line which traces itself either to Gasan Jôseki Zenji (1276-1366) or to Meihô Sotetsu Zenji (1277-1350), two disciples of Keizan Zenji, all other Japanese lines having since become extinct. One is integrated into a lineage at the time of the ceremony of Transmission of the Dharma, by which the Master makes the Disciple his successor. Presented here is the chain of teachers that connects Eihei Dôgen Zenji to Gudo Nishijima Roshi, and in the 41st generation from Dogen, Jundo James Cohen of the Treeleaf Zendo. As well, its links are said to reach back in time through China and India, on to the historical Buddha, Śhākyamuni. The line is also closely associated, ever since the middle of the 15th century, with the temple Tôkei' in, located near to the Japanese town of Shizuoka. It is a long, yet continuing history. In an important sense, it is not to be limited to any place or nation, nor is it merely a timeline which flows from past to present: In Dogen’s teachings, past is present is future, while the future flows into the past as the past becomes the future. In this way, each teacher stands for all others, and all are with us now.

    References: For a history of the development of Zen in Japan, please refer to William Bodiford, Sôtô Zen in Medieval Japan... read more
    Kyonin 11-18-2014, 10:40 PM


    We are pleased to introduce our Friend and Brother Community, BLUE MOUNTAIN WHITE CLOUDS HERMITAGE, established by Rev. Taigu Turlur,... read more
    Kyonin 11-18-2014, 10:28 PM
  • Special Zazenkai with Rev. KOUN FRANZ! Please Sit-A-Long!

    Dear All,

    Thank you to all who sat and will sit with our visiting Teacher, Rev. Koun Franz ... (The video is now being edited to remove the first 25 minutes of technical non-problems as we searched for Koun! )

    It is an old tradition to have visiting Teachers come to other Sangha to offer a talk and lead Zazen. We are honored to have Koun here, and are grateful that such small glitches like sick children (thankfully now well) allowed us finally to have this time together.

    A word about Koun ...

    Koun Franz is a Sōtō Zen priest born in Helena, Montana. He has spent more than half of his adult life in Japan. He was ordained in 2001, then trained at Zuioji and Shogoji monasteries. From 2006 to 2010, he served as resident priest of the Anchorage Zen Community. Two years ago, Koun and his family moved back to Japan (Kumamoto), where he studies, trains, lectures, and does Buddhist-related translation work. I understand that he is soon moving to Canada. He is also a practitioner of sewing the Nyoho-e Kesa, as we are at Treeleaf. His always very interesting blog is ...


    As you can read about in his latest blog post, Koun is a great champion of preserving the Ways and Traditions of monastic Practice, and has been very active in organizing an international Ango, a three month special Retreat period, at Shogoji Temple in Japan to host non-Japanese priests and teach them the traditional ways of Japanese Soto Zen. He hosted our Mongen at Shogoji for a week or so a couple of years ago. At the same time, Koun is a dad with small kids, and believes in the Practice of Daily Life too.

    Today we sat for about 20 minutes, followed by a powerful talk by Koun, and then a Q&A.

    Koun at first refused any donation for coming to join us today, but I have suggested to him that a donation for his new Zen Center in Canada would be appropriate. He suggested some Amazon gift certificates for books for their library. I hope you will "put something in the bowl" there as your heart guides you ... and I believe you can include a message or send them anonymously as you wish.


    Please indicate the donation is for ...


    We hope that Koun will be the first of many guest speakers and Zazen leaders to visit us. Already, my Dharma Brothers Brad Warner and Gustav Ericsson (who is also a Christian minister) have agreed to offer Zazen here this summer. I will try to schedule the next visit on Europe time!

    Gassho, Jundo