Materialien zum Neobuddhismus


Wilhelm II.: "Völker Europas, wahrt Eure heiligsten Güter!"

4. USA und Hawaii

4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika

2. Chronik

2. Ab 1970

von Alois Payer


Zitierweise / cite as:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --   4. USA und Hawaii. -- 4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika. -- 2. Chronik. -- 2. Ab 1970. -- Fassung vom 2005-07-14. -- URL: . -- [Stichwort].

Erstmals publiziert: 1996-05-15

Überarbeitungen: 2005-07-14 [Ergänzungen];  2005-07-07 [Ergänzungen];  2005-06-30 [Ergänzungen];  2005-06-23 [Ergänzungen];  2005-06-22 [Aufteilung des Kapitels, Ergänzungen];  2005-06-16 [Ergänzungen];  2005-06-14 [Ergänzungen];  2005-06-10 [Ergänzungen];  2005-06-07 [Ergänzungen];  2005-06-02 [Ergänzungen];  2005-05-31 [Ergänzungen]; 2005-05-24 [Ergänzungen]; 2005-05-22 [überarbeitet]; 2005-05-20 [überarbeitet]; 2005-05-07 [überarbeitet und erweitert]; 2005-04-30 [aufgeteilt und überarbeitet]; 2005-04-29  [überarbeitet und stark erweitert]; 2003-06-28 [stark überarbeitet]

Anlass: Lehrveranstaltung Neobuddhismus, Univ. Tübingen, SS 1987, SS 2003, SS 2005

Copyright: Dieser Text steht der Allgemeinheit zur Verfügung. Eine Verwertung in Publikationen, die über übliche Zitate hinausgeht, bedarf der ausdrücklichen Genehmigung des Verfassers.

Creative Commons-Lizenzvertrag
Diese Inhalt ist unter einer Creative Commons-Lizenz lizenziert.

Dieser Text ist Teil der Abteilung Buddhismus von Tüpfli's Global Village Library

Chronik des japanischen Buddhismus in den USA

Zu Soka Gakkai International USA siehe:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --   4. USA und Hawaii. -- 4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika. -- 3. Soka Gakkai in Amerika. -- URL:

Zu den Buddhist Churches of America siehe:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --   4. USA und Hawaii. -- 4. Japanischer Buddhismus in Amerika. -- 4. Buddhist Churches of America. -- URL:

Zum Beat-Buddhismus siehe:

Payer, Alois <1944 - >: Materialien zum Neobuddhismus.  --  4. USA und Hawaii. -- 5. Beat-Buddhismus. -- URL:


Abb.: Noboku Miyamoto
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-05]

Nobuko Miyamoto, eine amerikanische Liedermacherin, komponiert für das O-bon (お盆) Fest am Senshin Buddhist Temple in Los Angeles das Lied Tampopo Ondo

"Miyamoto Nobuko - Tampopo Ondo (dandelion Ondo) Lyrics
Tampopo Tampopo kiosuke-yo
moshi kaze fukeba aaa....
The seed of the dandelion
Scatters in the sky (Tampopo, Tampopo, hai hai)
A wind-blown weed, a wildflower
Watch it fly (Tampopo, Tampopo, hai hai)
Dancing on the wind, spinning from a world i tleaves behind
Dancing on wind
New life begins
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
Through all the forces (Okagesama de)
Through the shadows and the light (Okagesama de)
The unknown forces
Hai, hai, hai, hai, hai, hai, hai
Hai hai
The seed of the dandelion
Scatters in the sky (Tampopo, Tampopo, hai hai)
A wind-blown weed
A wildflower
Watch it fly (Tampopo, Tampopo, hai hai)
Dancing on the wind, spinning from a world it leaves behind
Dancing on wind
New life begins
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
On this special night (Okagesama de)
Past and present are one (Okagesama de)
On this night of Obon
Dandelions return
Hai, hai, hai, hai, hai, hai, hai
Hai hai
The seed of the dandelion
Bursting in the sky (Tampopo, Tampopo, hai hai)
A wind-blown weed
A wildflower
Watch it fly (Tampopo, Tampopo, hai hai)
Dancing on the wind, spinning to a world beyond the eye
Dancing on wind
New life begins
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
On this night (Okagesama de)
The old and the young (Okagesama de)
All the dandelions
Dance as one
Dance as one
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
Yare yare sore
Okagesama de
Not a rose or an iris (Okagesama de)
Not a bird of paradise (Okagesama de)
Not an orchid or a lily
Just a simple dandelion
(Tada no tampopo)
Just a simple dandelion (Tada no tampopo)
Just a simple dandelion (Tada no tampopo)
Just a simple dandelion (Tada no tampopo)
Tampopo tampopo
Tampopo tampopo

[Quelle: An verschiedenen Stellen im Internet angeboten]

Aus einem Interview mit Miyamoto Nobuko, 2000:

"From that work came Great Leap. I moved back to my home in Los Angeles. I put my roots there. I was teaching dance at Senshin Buddhist Temple which is a very active Japanese Buddhist temple. I began to create work in that temple based on custom, traditional music and dance performed by the community in the summertime at the Obon Festival.

The reverend of that temple asked me if I would write some music for Obon based on the tradition of doing this circular dance that helped us remember our ancestors. That started me on another journey of working with community and creating with community. Some of these songs that I've written with them and the dances we created go on every summer in the communities. Not only Los Angeles, but other places in the country too.

In Motion Magazine: How do the dances get created with the communities?

Nobuko Miyamoto: I borrowed the vocabulary of the music and the dances and worked with some of the local dance teachers that remember all these dances. Every year, we teach it to the community, re-teach it to the community, before July when Obon usually happens. I'll create it or work with the teachers to create it, and then we get together with the eighteen teachers from the eighteen temples from around southern California. We learn it and they go to their temples and they teach it to all their people. During the month of June they all practice these dances.

We recorded them also. We record the music so they are able to do them at their own festivals. The festivals are done not on one day but on different days during the month so that each temple, if they want to, can visit the other temples. It's a way that people can stay in touch with the larger community of Japanese Buddhists. The Buddhist temples are the places where Japanese culture, was retained because when we came here of course most of us became very Americanized. The Japanese Buddhist temples were the place where the customs were retained. Of course it was changed, somewhat. They began to sing "Buddha loves me this I know, for the sutras tell me so" (laughs). Especially this temple, Senshin Temple. It is one temple that really wanted to try to hold on to these traditions, develop them, actually. Make them contemporary and relevant to young people so that traditions will go on and young people will continue to be involved in the temples.

In Motion Magazine: Are there particular themes to the dances?

Nobuko Miyamoto: I brought one of the albums here. It includes a song about a coal miner's dance. I thought that would be interesting to do if we had a chance to teach it to the community here. Some of them were fisherman's dances that came from Japan, though they are done more now in the smaller villages. In Tokyo, and the bigger places, it has become professionalized and people usually come to watch people dance. They don't actually participate themselves. But in the villages, in the smaller places, the whole community does it. At one time, it was one of the few occasions when people could take off from work. Then, and at New Years were the two times when the people, the farmers, could take off and enjoy themselves. The young people weren't chaperoned and they might disappear overnight and children might be born or people might be married a few months later. Proprieties were dropped at that time.

The dance and the songs impart the essence of Buddhism as well. The idea is to just dance, to not worry about what other people think, or even what you think. Just be in the moment. Just dance. Obon is called "A Gathering of Joy".

In Japan, just one or two circular dances woud last for two or three hours, or all evening. Here we do nine or ten dances. But at that time it was almost like a trance. People would go into this motion, repetition with the taiko drum, flute or lead singer, a chorus of people singing, and dancing. It's interesting that in Japan the dance is done clock-wise, but in America it's done counter-clockwise. We don't know why.

That's one thing I have done with the community, the Japanese community in particular, besides creating pieces and songs that have told the stories of Japanese Americans and Asian Americans."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-05]


Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi (1907 - )  eröffnet das Mount Baldy Zen Center für Rinzai-Zen in Kalifornien

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21


Abb.: Lage von Shasta Abbey (©MS Encarta)

Jiyu Kennet (Peggy Kennet, 1924 - 1996) gründet Shasta Abbey in Shasta, Kalifornien. Kurz zuvor hatte sie die Zen Mission Society gegründet, die sie 1978 in The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives umnannte.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28

Dies ist meines Erachtens das bei weitem interessanteste monastische Experiment im westlichen Buddhismus!

Abb.: Jiyu Kennet

"The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives was founded in 1978 by Rev. Master P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett, a Buddhist Master in the Serene Reflection Meditation (Soto Zen) tradition. Born in England in 1924, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett became a Buddhist in the Theravada tradition. She was later introduced to Rinzai Zen Buddhism by D.T. Suzuki in London where she held membership in, and lectured at, the London Buddhist Society. She studied at Trinity College of Music, London, where she was awarded a Fellowship and obtained the degree of Bachelor of Music from Durham University.

Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett began her priest training in 1962, having been ordained into the Chinese Buddhist Sangha in Malaysia by the Very Reverend Seck Kim Seng, Archbishop of Malacca. She then went to Japan at the invitation of the Very Reverend Keido Chisan Koho Zenji, Chief Abbot of Dai Hon Zan Soji-ji, one of the two chief training monasteries of Soto Zen, in order to train there in that tradition. In 1963 she received the Dharma Transmission from Koho Zenji and later was certified by him as Roshi (Zen Master). She also received a First-Kyoshi and a Sei Degree, roughly equivalent to a Master and a Doctor of Divinity in Buddhism. She held several positions during her years in Japan including that of Foreign Guestmaster of Soji-ji and Abbess of her own temple in Mie Prefecture.

It had always been Koho Zenji's sincere wish that Soto Zen Buddhism be successfully transmitted to the West by a Westerner. He worked very hard to make it possible for Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett to train in Japan and, after his death, she left Japan in order to carry out his wish. In November 1969, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett came to San Francisco on a lecture tour. The Zen Mission Society was founded the following year and moved to Mount Shasta for the founding of Shasta Abbey in November of 1970. In 1978 the name "Zen Mission Society" was changed to "The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives."

Abb.: Jiyu Kennet

In addition to being the First Abbess of Shasta Abbey, Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett was an instructor at the University of California and the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, and a lecturer at universities throughout the world. She founded numerous Buddhist temples and meditation groups in Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Her books include Zen is Eternal Life, a manual of Zen Buddhist training; The Wild, White Goose, Volumes I and II, the diaries of her years in Japan; How to Grow a Lotus Blossom or How a Zen Buddhist Prepares for Death; The Book of Life, a treatise on karma and health, coauthored by Rev. Daizui MacPhillamy, and The Liturgy of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives for the Laity. In recent years, she edited three new translations of Serene Reflection writings and ceremonies: The Denkoroku or The Record of the Transmission of the Light, Buddhist Writings on Meditation and Daily Practice: The Serene Reflection Meditation Tradition, and The Monastic Office. For full descriptions of these books, please see Shasta Abbey Press.

Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett died in November of 1996."

[Quelle: . -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]

"Purpose of the Order

The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives was founded by Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett to act as the international administrative and support organization for the monastic disciples and lay ministers practicing within the Soto Zen lineage and tradition which she brought from the Far East.  The purposes of the Order are to bring together its members and congregations into one harmonious branch of the sangha, to assure to the public that the teachings and practices offered by our priests and lay ministers remain true to the Dharma Transmitted to her, and to establish shared rules of conduct, ethics and governance for the members.

Work of the Order

The Order promotes a harmonious sangha by fostering communication and the exchange of monks and lay ministers between our various temples in Europe and North America, by the publication of an international Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives plus this internet site and various other publications, by offering spiritual and material support to monks not otherwise supported by existing temples, by fostering and coordinating cooperative programs across different congregations (such as care networks for the ill and joint planning for retirement living) and by providing through its officers a source of advice and refuge-taking for members and congregations.  Its assuring role is carried out through its issuing of certification and ongoing licenses for lay ministry, monastic ordination, Parish Priest and Teacher of Buddhism, through its establishment and continuing recognition of parish temples (“priories”), monasteries and seminaries, through coordination and supervision of the activities of its lay ministers world-wide, and, as above, through the consultation and advising role of its officers.  The role of the Order in governance and ethics is carried out via the establishment and implementation of order-wide rules of conduct for monks and lay ministers, via the creation of procedures for addressing grievances and resolving conflicts and, as with its other functions, by providing consultation and refuge-taking through its officers.


The officers of the Order include a head of the Order and an assistant head of the Order, an advisor for European matters, an executive secretary and a corporate secretary, treasurers in both North America and Europe, an international lay ministry advisor, and a journal editor.  Offices are maintained at both Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in Britain and Shasta Abbey in the United States, with officers traveling frequently to our various temples and meditation groups in Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.  Please contact any of us through the Order’s main monastic centres listed below, if we may be of assistance.

Operating Structure

The Order was first incorporated as a non-profit religious organization in the United States and is seeking religious charity status in the United Kingdom; its legal structure allows it to have membership in any nation and to do its work world-wide.  Its various temples are established as their own charitable or corporate entities, and they fund their activities independently of the Order.  So as not to place a burden upon the members or the congregations, the Order attempts to fund itself without recourse to dues from members or temples.  Aside from voluntary contributions from some temples and a small income from publication royalties and the sale of incense, the Order relies upon the generosity of donations from individuals.  These funds are used for its operating expenses, the travel of officers, support of lay ministry activities, the liability and malpractice insurance needed for members in some countries, and  the physical support of monks who are establishing new temples or are otherwise not supported by existing temples."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]

"Monastic Life and Priest Trainig

The heart of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives is the life and practice of serene reflection meditation, keeping the Precepts, and studying the Dharma. Shasta Abbey is a recognized seminary for the Buddhist priesthood. Sincere men and women who wish to devote their lives to the Buddhist Dharma as priests are invited to apply for ordination in the Order.

At Shasta Abbey, an applicant to the priesthood must have already taken the Ten Precepts (Jukai) and become a lay Buddhist, have spent one year in the monastery as a lay resident, be single and unmarried, and be familiar with the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives and the practice of serene reflection meditation. When the applicant demonstrates the sincerity, willingness, and maturity necessary to pursue a monastic vocation, he or she may apply to enter the postulancy. A postulant wears monk's robes without taking formal monastic vows and participates fully in the life of the monastic community. Postulancy usually lasts one to two years. At the end of this time, if the postulant wishes to become a priest and has demonstrated that he or she is a suitable candidate for the priesthood, the postulant will be offered the opportunity to receive ordination at the Abbot's discretion.

Ordination is the beginning of the formal training of a Buddhist priest. A novice priest (priest-trainee) spends at least five years training with senior priests in the monastery, practicing meditation, learning ceremonial, studying the Dharma, doing manual work, and learning to embody the commitment to a life of selfless service. When the priest-trainee has demonstrated an understanding of training which expresses itself through sincerity of purpose and constant, steady commitment, he or she is offered the opportunity to receive Dharma Transmission and continue training as a full priest. Several more years are required to receive certification as a teacher of Buddhism. After teacher certification, most senior priests remain in a monastery and continue to deepen their understanding and meditation practice. Their responsibilities include teaching the laity, assisting with the teaching of novice monks, performing ceremonial, and selflessly serving the Sangha. Some priests choose to serve as parish priests in priories of the O.B.C. and minister to local congregations.

Prospective applicants are encouraged but not required to have sufficient funds to meet incidental expenses prior to entering the priesthood. The vocation to be a priest is a lifetime commitment. All postulants and priests of the Order are celibate. For further information, please write the Guest Master, 3724 Summit Drive, Mt. Shasta, CA 96067-9102 USA."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]

Abb.: A women's lineage
[Bildquelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XII, No.1 (Fall 2002). -- S. 37.]


Abb.: bell hooks

Gloria Watkins, alias bell hooks (1952 - ) lernt Gary Snyder kennen, der sie ins Ring of Bones Zendo mitnimmt. Seiher ist bell hooks Buddhistin.

"bell hooks, born September 25, 1952, is a U.S. Black feminist social critic best known for her critique of, and strategy against, what she terms "white supremacist capitalist patriarchy". She is currently Distinguished Professor of English at City College in New York and in addition to frequent speaking engagements has taught at Yale and Oberlin College.

Born Gloria Watkins, she uses the name bell hooks (spelled without capitals) to honor her mother and grandmother. In 1973, she graduated Stanford University, following that with a degree from University of Wisconsin in 1976 and with a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1983.

She believes, among other things, that many current social issues (especially race, gender, sex, class, and sexual orientation) are inextricably interconnected, and that positive social change requires confronting them "as a whole".

She is also Buddhist, and many of her writings and interviews deal with Buddhism."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-23]


Abb.: Richard Baker (geb. 1936)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-27]

Zentatsu Richard Baker-roshi (1936 - ) wird Abt des San Francisco Zen Center

"Baker was born in Maine in 1936. His family had been one of the first to arrive in America and used to be quite influential in New England. One of his forebears was elected governor of Massachusetts Bay four times; and he counts Benjamin Franklin, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Monroe (the fifth president of the United States) among his more distant former relatives (Tworkov, 208). As a boy, "I saw the world differently" (ibid.). He went to Harvard but left without finishing his course in European history and architecture. Somewhere along the way, he "decided to create an ideal society" (ibid., 207), not uncommon among the young at the beginning of the sixties. He went to San Francisco in I960, at the age of 24, and was investigating the beat scene there when he came across Shunryu Suzuki.

Suzuki Roshi had been sent to San Francisco in 1958 by the Soto school in Japan to act as priest at Sokoji, the temple that had been established in the 1930s for Japanese Americans. But he quickly attracted white Americans and inspired in them a deep loyalty and devotion. In Baker's words,

He was what he talked about ... a Buddhist text come to life ... I completely loved him and would have done anything for him. I only had one desire, which was to be Suzuki Roshi's attendant. (Tworkov, 212-13)

And that is exactly what happened. Within a few years of meeting Suzuki, Baker became the organizational force behind SFZC (which Suzuki created for his new American students in 1962). Baker himself says as much:

Suzuki Roshi. . . gave people the intangible sense of quality and integrity and enlightenment. And that's absolutely the most important. But when you look at the structure of [SFZC], the place, the location, the rules—I did all that ... I did not make a single decision without his okaying it, but basically he always agreed with me. (Tworkov, 215)

The Center, under Baker's guidance (and with Suzuki's inspiration) just got bigger and bigger. In 1966, Suzuki asked Baker to find a place where students could go for intensive practice. Baker came up with Tassajara, a former hot springs resort deep in the mountains, 160 miles south of San Francisco. And since Tassajara needed a priest, Suzuki made Baker a priest. The ceremony took place at Tassajara the day before it opened (in 1966). Baker shaved his head, wore the robes, chanted in Japanese and was given his Buddhist name, Zentatsu Myoyu (ibid., 219). He was one of the first Westerners ever to be made a Zen priest.

But this was just the beginning. Suzuki wanted Baker to be his Dharma heir, and in 1968 Baker and his wife went to Japan. They stayed there for the best part of three years (with two short visits back to California), while Baker practiced at Daitokuji (a Rinzai monastery) and at Eiheji and Antaiji (Soto monasteries). And in 1970, Suzuki Roshi formally appointed him as his Dharma heir at Rinso-in, the temple Suzuki had run before going to America.

The Bakers then returned to San Francisco and Baker took up the leadership of SFZC. He was installed as abbot by Suzuki Roshi in 1971. He was not the first Western Zen abbot—Jiyu Kennett was abbess of her own temple in Japan from 1963 to 1969, and Kongo Langlois was made abbot of the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago in 1970—but he was certainly the best-known. The ceremony was attended by Joshu Sasaki Roshi (the Rinzai teacher), Tripitika Master Hsuan Hua (originally from Taiwan but now with a monastery in California) and Lama Kunga (from the Evam Choden Center in Berkeley). Baker Roshi's first duty as abbot, just two weeks after his appointment, was to conduct the funeral ceremony (together with a number of Japanese teachers, including Suzuki's son) for Suzuki Roshi, who had been ill for some time.

Over the next ten years, Baker carried out his duties, both spiritual and managerial, with considerable vigour. Students who were there at the time say that SFZC developed into a community that was based on solid practice. There was nowhere else quite like it in the West at the time—and it was Baker Roshi who was primarily responsible for its existence. Between three and four hundred people would attend his public lectures (Tworkov, 247); and he ordained over 60 students as priests during his time as abbot (ibid., 231). He himself described SFZC as

"the container for a kind of nutrient-rich soup, something that would generate forms for Buddhism in America"—something, therefore, that should be bolstered financially, and made attractive as a place to taste the teachings. (Schneider, 132)

In 1972, just a year after Suzuki Roshi's death, he made the first of a number of daring moves: the purchase of Green Gulch Farm in Marin County, which Baker envisioned as being worked by hand and with horses, with a biodynamic garden (Tworkov, 228). It cost $200,000 and although he saw it as a bargain, there were others, including members of the SFZC board, who resisted the idea. But Baker persuaded them. There had been those who had not wanted to buy Tassajara either—but that had turned out to be a big success. Over the next two years, Baker was instrumental in setting up the Tassajara Bakery; the Green Gulch Greengrocery; the Shunryu Suzuki Study Center (which offered classes in Buddhism and Oriental culture with distinguished visiting speakers such as Chogyam Trungpa, Robert Aitken, Nancy Wilson Ross; and also provided a base for poets, dancers, artists, social activists and sensory-awareness therapists); a Neighborhood Foundation (which was concerned with the community around the SFZC headquarters); and the Alaya Storehouse (a factory and retail shop for meditation supplies: mats, cushions, and so forth) (Tworkov, 230-31). Greens, a vegetarian restaurant that received glowing reviews in specialist magazines like Gourmet, was opened in San Francisco in 1979. Baker devoted himself to every little detail: decor, glassware, cutlery, plates, even the menus. And, like Green Gulch Farm and SFZC itself, it was very successful.

The money involved in all this was considerable. The Center's assets were worth about $25 million (Tworkov, 203) and the gross annual income was nearly $4 million (Spring Wind, vol. 5, no. 4, Winter 1985-86, p. 194).' This included 5250,000 each (net) from Tassajara (where people paid for the use of the cabins during the guest season), the Bakery and the Greengrocer, as well as about $350,000 from Greens. (All these figures from Baker himself.)

In hindsight, many people who were there throughout this period of expansion now see it as inherently unstable. According to Baker himself.

I found myself landlord, mayor, administrator, entrepreneur, and fund-raiser, as well as abbot and teacher. This was too much power for me to have, and many people couldn't handle it over time. (Schneider, 136)

He now says that 'employer' should be added to this list—and that this role, above all, was problematic for the people at SFZC. Expansion can be intoxicating but it can also be confusing. According to commentators whose work I respect (Tworkov and Schneider), SFZC's businesses, and their success, distracted students from their primary concern: practice. The businesses "dazzled the public's eye" (Schneider, 135) and "thrust Zen Center into regional and sometimes national prominence" (ibid., 134). Tworkov refers to "glamorous cronies" and "Californian golden boys" (Tworkov, 235). Jerry Brown, governor of California from 1974 to 1982, was a frequent visitor to Greens. I do not know if it is fair to call him a Californian golden boy. But he was a personal friend of Baker's, thought highly of SFZC and appointed some of its students as advisors. "SFZC had a direct line to Sacramento" (Tworkov, 234).

Some or all of these assessments may be exaggerated.3 I wasn't there. But there seems little doubt that many people at SFZC thought this way. So the question is: Why? This brings us right back to Baker Roshi; his role and what might be called his personal style. He was certainly committed. He worked hugely long hours—but he was there for practice in the morning even if he had gone to bed only two or three hours before. And, he says,

I committed myself to those people [at SFZC] as deeply as to my own family. In many ways I sacrificed my personal family to the practice and development of the community. ('The Long Learning Curve', 36)

3 Baker certainly thinks that the 'direct line to Sacramento' is. 'It is the kind of thing people like to say but it is not true in any of the senses that phrase implies." He says that it could be taken to mean that SFZC, and himself in particular, were actively interested in political power. But they weren't.

But strong commitment can be hard to live with. "After Suzuki-roshi's death, Baker-roshi did more than influence Zen Center's policy, as he had done; he now dictated it" (Schneider, 133). Even Suzuki Roshi had "his qualms about Baker doing things too much his own way" (Tworkov, 226). And: "an exacting administrator-in-chief, Baker was brilliant, impatient, and critical. Those working in close contact with him were enchanted, intimidated, and exhausted" (ibid., 230). Baker himself says,

"Zen Center was designed around the upper limits of my particular abilities. It could not survive without me . . . And I overdid it" (ibid., 226-27).

This scenario—brilliant dynamic leader simultaneously inspires people and runs them into the ground—is relatively common in various walks of life: business, politics, theatre, the fashion world. It isn't so common in a Zen centre.

And this brings a crucial element in the situation into focus: that Baker had been given Dharma transmission by Suzuki Roshi and was his spiritual heir and abbot of the community. In other words, he wasn't just a community leader but a teacher in a long-established Buddhist tradition. Baker himself is adamant that he never confused his two roles as head of SFZC and Suzuki Roshi's Dharma heir.

If I had thought my authority to run Zen Center rested on something as personal as dharma transmission, I would have thought that was stupid. (Tworkov, 228)

Yet it appears that the vast majority of students did think that the two were linked. There is, I think, room for an interesting and informed debate about the relationship between them. But it never took place at SFZC during Baker's time there. Students thought that Baker had a special kind of authority because of his Dharma transmission. That is why his role in the community wasn't like that of a charismatic but perhaps over-demanding businessmen, politician, or theatre director. And it appears that nobody really got to grips with what was going on: not Baker himself, not the long-term students (whether his or Suzuki Roshi's), not the rank and file (if I can use that phrase). Despite everybody's efforts, beliefs, and ideals, the basis of the community just was not that solid.

Eventually things came to a head. In 1983, it became general knowledge in the community that Baker had fallen in love with a woman (whom he regarded as a friend but whom others thought was his student); that he had told his wife; that the woman had told her husband (also a friend of his); and that the husband was very unhappy about it. According to Schneider, this revelation "stunned most everybody" (Schneider, 138). Baker was charged with hypocrisy and many doubted his integrity as a teacher (ibid., 139).

The fall-out from this incident was considerable. And it is important for two reasons (which is why people should know about it). First, because of SFZC's high profile; its "unprecedented place in the history of Buddhist institutions" (Schneider, 132). Second, because of its intensity and bitterness, which still continues, somewhat muted, over a decade later.

There is no consensus as to the facts of the matter. Certainly, the Board of Directors acted against Baker for the first time, asking him not to teach; and a large number of students pointedly rejected him (Schneider, 144). The main charge was that he had operated a double standard. More specifically, first, that he had not acted in accordance with his own teachings on sexual morality—that he had said, amongst other things, that one should not set a bad example to the sangha but people thought that he had done just that; and secondly, that whereas he had a white BMW for his use, and his daughter had received $ 10,000 to go to college, nobody else came anywhere near being considered for such perks.

He denies the first charge outright. But he does now accept that he created the impression of applying a double standard; and perhaps more importantly, he acknowledges that his life did not have the transparency or impeccability that his position required. He also says that the BMW was probably a mistake. As for the stipend for his daughter, he says this has been misunderstood. There was only one other child at SFZC who was old enough to go to college and who had parents who had been in the community long enough (and working long enough) to qualify for financial help for her studies—and she had decided to put off going to college. And he stresses that neither of these matters—the car, the bursary—can in themselves explain the virulent hostility that was unleashed against him.

Attempts were made to keep the situation in hand. Robert Aitken, who was asked for his advice, made three recommendations: that Baker work alongside other students; that he take psychotherapy; and that he study with other teachers (Schneider, 147). Thich Nhat Hanh, whom Baker visited in France in an attempt to get his bearings, wrote a letter saying that

Zentatsu Richard Baker has a tremendous capacity of becoming one of the most illustrious Buddhist leaders of our time, if only all of us could correctly help and support him. To me, he embodies very much the future of Buddhism in the West with his creative intelligence and his aliveness. I am positive Zentatsu is now worth our trust and I completely invest my trust in him. (Schneider, 145)

Baker also wrote a handsome letter of apology:

[W]hen I think of the extraordinary effort and intelligence all of you have put into making Zen Center such a wonderful place of refuge and help to so many people, I am ashamed of my unmindful, imperious and busy manner which often prevented me from hearing your heartfelt concerns and criticisms over the years . . .

To this day I remain overwhelmed and humiliated by the irresponsibility and insensitivity of my actions that have so seriously threatened the existence of our wonderful Zen Center and cast such a shadow over the hope and trust that Suzuki-roshi placed in me. (Schneider, 146)

But the rift was too deep to heal and Baker resigned. He left SFZC and has never returned (though he was present at Hartford Zen Center, an outreach of SFZC, for ceremonies involving Issan Dorsey). He was succeeded as abbot by Roshi Reb Anderson.

What are we to make of this episode? It does not appear as if it can simply be explained as a series of mistakes that, taken all together, were too much for people to handle. Rather, it was as if the students (or the majority of them) felt as if the driver of a fast car had rolled it over—with them inside it. So it was no use the driver saying that he would do better next time; they just did not want to commit themselves into his hands again.

Baker himself believes that resolving the matter with those who were involved in it is far more important than any public discussion of it in a few paragraphs in a book like this. I can understand his position but the fact remains that SFZC is part of a larger-scale phenomenon—and so is he.

There are a number of issues that we need to be clear about. The journal of SFZC, Wind Bell, put these succinctly: that there should be no deception in relationships and no harming of others, and that a spiritual teacher should set a good example to others (quoted in Fields, 364). If these principles are violated, then the spiritual life is inevitably compromised, particularly the trust that has to exist between teacher and student.

It is the nature of spiritual authority that is at stake here. Zen rests foursquare on the understanding that the teacher has an insight that he uses to benefit others—ultimately, so that they can have this insight themselves. All Zen teachers, both Eastern and Western, make this claim. What is more, they link it to the Buddha himself: the enlightenment he attained has been transmitted from him right down to the present day. What, then, are the implications when someone who stands in this lineage behaves in a way that his own students will not accept?

Members of SFZC acknowledged that they had in a sense colluded with Baker by allowing him to become isolated from the community and by acquiescing to his wishes even when they felt he was wrong. (See for example Tworkov, 243-44.) People said and did things because they did not want to appear out of place. Imitation of what one does not understand is simply ignorance; and the spiritual life cannot be followed under such conditions. Of course, imitative behaviour can occur even around an unimpeachable teacher but at least he will not encourage it. But if they are imitating the teacher's strengths without seeing his weaknesses, and if he himself does not see his weaknesses, then there is ignorance all round.4

4 This last sentence is Baker's own—the result of him and me trying to give an account of what happened that is true to his understanding and my concern for the larger issues. I do not take what a teacher says without looking at it very carefully. But in this instance I think Baker has put it exactly right.

This is a complex issue but not an uncommon one. At about the same time as the SFZC debacle, a number of other Zen teachers—including Japanese roshis—were also discovered to be acting against the Buddhist precepts by indulging in sexual liaisons, drunkenness and luxurious living. Philip Kapleau, commenting on these incidents, made a distinction between a roshi and a master ('Abuses of Power and the Precepts', Zen Bow Newsletter, vol. VI, nos. 2 and 3, Summer—Fall 1984; quoted in Fields, 365). A roshi is one who has had kensho and been appointed as a teacher. A master is one who has removed his defilements—that is, he lives within the precepts effortlessly and naturally and not as a matter of restraint.5

5 Reb Anderson made a somewhat different but related distinction—between a master and an abbot: "Zen masters do not have to know others' subjectivities and feelings. Abbots do. Zen masters are not necessarily leaders of spiritual communities. Abbots are. So abbots have to understand the hearts and minds of the community. They must learn to see through the eyes of the community and hear through the ears of the community. Abbots are a subset among Zen masters. A Zen master does not have to be an exemplary model for a community. An Abbot does. A Zen master can be quite eccentric. An abbot cannot"

This, of course, raises questions concerning kensho (seeing into one's own nature, which is Buddha-nature) and enlightenment, for if we accept Kapleau's distinction then it seems to follow that it is possible to have genuine spiritual experiences and still act improperly. If this is so, then what is the value of kensho! I do not mean that it has no value—only that it has to be put in the larger context of human relations. And it may be that kensho (which some people call enlightenment even if it isn't full enlightenment) does not in itself confer any real wisdom about what it is to be human, or any real compassion either. In other words, there may be a real insight into the human condition (in the large) which is essentially unconnected with being human (in particular). That's why the traditionalists say the precepts are important: they are based on a wise and compassionate insight into human relations, and when they are broken it is other people who suffer. A good case can be made, therefore, for saying that kensho without the precepts is not worth as much as people think. It may even be dangerous.

And this argument is not restricted to Zen, of course. The more general version of it is that true spiritual knowledge cannot be divorced from acknowledgement of one's duties to others. Another way of putting the issue is in terms of realization and actualization. Realization, in Zen terms, is kensho. And some who were close to Baker Roshi are unequivocal in their assertion that he had attained it; one person even refers to him, in his capacity as a practicing meditator, as "a non-ego being" (Tworkov, 232). But it does seem that he fell down in his actualization—that is, his ability to live out his realization in his life, and in particular in his relationships with others (which is what counts the most, after all).

This is a complex issue that I cannot go into here. (I do in Chapter 3) There are teachers who say, like Lee Lozowick, "ultimately you can get the teaching even through a flawed teacher.'6 This may explain why he says of Baker: "Still love the way you skewered those S.F. bums." Then there are those, like Andrew Cohen, who hold the opposite view: "If you can't live what you have experienced, then you haven't realized it." (Lozowick and Cohen are friends and discuss this issue regularly; it is out of such encounters that the new vocabulary of the spiritual life will evolve.)

6 He was not referring to Baker when he said this and I do not mean to imply that he thinks that Baker is flawed. My point is simply that there is a view which separates 'insight' or even enlightenment itself from the vehicle or person who provides it.

There is also a cultural-cum-historical side to the issue. It is certainly true that in the transmission of Zen to the West, it was the Japanese teacher's role that was considered important by Westerners. But one of the reasons for this was that it is always difficult to relate to someone from another culture—and Japanese and Western culture are very different. It was inevitable, therefore, that Westerners understood Japanese teachers—as human beings—on a rather superficial level. The position of Western teachers, on the other hand, was the exact opposite. It was relatively easy to understand them as personalities but their role was suspect because they were not Japanese. (And to counteract this, there was a tendency to make their appointment as teachers very Japanese; Baker is a case in point.) Consequently, Japanese teachers were considered genuine' because of their realization and questions weren't asked about their actualization—after all, how do you tell if a Japanese in Los Angeles or New York is 'really' living Zen? It was only when Westerners became teachers that the question 'He or she may have realization but can he or she live it?' was seen as central. This is an instance of the West coming of age in its understanding of Eastern traditions (since these remarks are not restricted to Zen but apply to all the traditions).

Baker still has hopes that the rift with SFZC can be healed. Meanwhile, he has continued to teach and I would like to close by looking at his teaching over the last 13 years. In 1984, he moved to New Mexico and started the Dharma Sangha with half a dozen students who followed him from SFZC. It has since moved to Crestone, a small remote town in the mountains in Colorado, with 50 inhabitants and 60 miles from the nearest grocery store. The Crestone Mountain Zen Center is a decidedly low-key project compared with SFZC (eight residential students; 20 to 30 for the three-month practice periods; 24 to 40 for sesshins; about a hundred who consider it their primary place for practice: perhaps 2,000 visitors per year; by contrast, SFZC's mailing list was about 12,000). He is also head teacher of a somewhat larger community in Germany, a branch of the Dharma Sangha (whose headquarters is Johanneshof, formerly part of Graf von Dürckheim's centre—Dürckheim used to send Baker students), though there are only about seven full-time resident students.

In addition to his teaching duties, he continues to give Dharma transmission—most recently (in 1987) to Philip Whalen, the poet and long-time Zen student (he is Warren Coughlin in Kerouac's The Dharma Bums) who has been a student of Baker's for over 20 years; and (in 1989) to Issan Dorsey, head of the Hartford Street Zen Center in San Francisco, which he and Baker established for the gay community in 1981.

Baker gives many talks, and people who know him say that he is an original and gifted speaker, but he is not a very prolific writer. Maybe this is because, as he says himself,

I'm pretty traditional . . . Yogic insights are the root of Buddhist attitudes and practice . . . I'm not interested in adaptation but rather in greater accessibility to practice. ('The Long Learning Curve', 34)

In fact, he has many stimulating ideas concerning the ways in which Buddhism is entering Western culture.

Contemporary science, philosophy and art are functioning, unintentionally, as disguised forms of Buddhism—in effect, giving us permission to accept Buddhism and to some extent preparing us to understand it. They are also fertilizing Buddhist thought and practice. (The Long Learning Curve', 32)

And, no doubt drawing on his own experience, he also has some interesting things to say about the teacher-disciple relationship.

I believe that there is an ancient, deeply rooted urge to find a teacher or mentor. But mentorship is rare and fragile if there is no societal tradition to support it—and there is little of this tradition in the West. ('The Teacher and the Western "Self", 42)

He says that Westerners tend to have unrealistic expectations of a teacher, projecting a God-like supra-identity on to him or her, asking him or her to be the missing link in the completing of our own self. There is work to be done on the conventional self—what he calls our 'personal story'—and Buddhism is badly taught when it does not recognize that Westerners have this need ('The Long Learning Curve', 33). (Part of the problem at SFZC was that Baker advised students on personal matters—relationships, business matters, and so on— which they then took to be teachings; though he himself says that he never intended his advice to be taken that way.)

However, being traditional, he emphasizes that the teacher-disciple relationship is fundamentally an unequal one.

But it is an essential condition for the flow of understanding and teaching from past to future, and from generation to generation . . . Intimacy, connectedness, nondual vision, and a kind of elixir-like flow of a larger identity, are not just ideas or imagined realities, but the actual experience of the teacher-disciple relationship. (The Teacher and the Western "Self"', 46)

And I think it is true to say that he had this experience with his own teacher, Suzuki Roshi, and that he has tried to live up to this ideal himself.

Of course, the shadow of the SFZC is still there; a quarrel of this scale that has continued for well over a decade is no small matter. But Baker Roshi has a teaching about karma, delivered in his usual distinctive way, that can be applied to it.

Karma is not understood or experienced as being stored in some container called the unconscious. It is stored in the same processes (and in relation to the same processes) that created it and thus we most effectively access it through those processes . . . Feeling feels feeling. It is feeling that recovers the memories of feeling—as they are stored primarily in the field of feeling itself, and not in thinking. Likewise, within each sense-field (hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, smelling, mentality), there is memory and knowing and the recovery of memory . . . All these words (thinking, perceiving, feeling, knowing) overlap so much in their common usage, that I ask you to just accept that these can be quite independent, own-organizing realms.

The 'texts' of karma are found in physical, perceptual and mental processes, and in their possible inter-relationships. Karma is stored as a subtext of body, speech and mind ... of the six sense-fields, and in our interactions with the phenomena and situations of the world. ('Serving and Observing Karma')

This is fairly technical, I admit, but it is firmly based on traditional Buddhist teachings. And the essential idea is plain: we are not caught, helplessly, by our circumstances or ourselves but, simply by being alive, have access to the forces that have shaped our lives.

The Second Noble Truth—everything has a cause and an effect—means that we have a choice and hence a responsibility ... If the effect was not good, we try not to repeat it and try to become a person who doesn't repeat it. It is commonsense and it is difficult, (ibid.)

So while the shadow of SFZC still exists, it can be approached, according to Buddhist teaching as Baker Roshi presents it, in such a way that it can be resolved. He has every intention of doing just that."

[Quelle: Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 166 - 175]

1999 heiratete Richard Baker HGDH Marie Louise Elisabeth Mathilde Theodora Cecilie Sarah Charlotte Prinzessin von Baden

Abb.: Richard Baker, 2003
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30]


Abb.: Reiyukai America
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]

In Kalifornien wird Reiyukai America "as a [501(c)(3)] non-profit entity for the promotion of personal development, mutual understanding, and initiative for community service" gegründet.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29

Abb.: Aktivitäten
[Bildquelle:'s%20Activities.htm. -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]

"Reiyukai’s practice is not difficult. To be effective, it does require determination, aspiration for some kind of enlightenment, and compassion for other beings. It is an ongoing process to overcome and transcend the self-centered forces that lead us astray and sustain our egos.

Abb.: Familienaltar

The practices consist of Four elements:

  1. Sutra Recitation,
  2. Appreciation of Ancestors,
  3. Interaction with others in Reiyukai Activities, and
  4. Sharing your understanding and teaching others.

Sutra Recitation: We recite selections from the teachings found in the “Three-Fold Lotus Sutra.”They were the teachings of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, a human being who experienced life, found enlightenment, and shared it with others. The teachings were orally handed down from disciple to disciple after the death of Shakyamuni Buddha until they were transcribed in sutras, one of which is “The Three-Fold Lotus Sutra.” The Founders of Reiyukai, Mr. Kakutaro Kubo and Mrs. Kimi Kotani, selected portions from that sutra and made a daily meditation book for us called “The Blue Sutra.” They made the selections based on their own rigorous practice and sincere wish to compile something that all lay people could use to learn and understand the value of Shakyamuni’s teachings. We are encouraged to recite the Blue Sutra as a form of meditation, discipline, and appreciation for all things.

Awareness of Ancestors: We would not be here today if it were not for our ancestors. In order to make ourselves more aware of them, we make a family plaque that represents all the ancestors, known and unknown, which had to exist in order for us to exist today. Then we recite from the Blue Sutra to our inner self and to our ancestors represented in that plaque. By recognizing their existence and their influence, not only on us but also on the society in which they lived, we reinforce our awareness of cause and effect. We realize that our actions will also have consequences for our descendants and for the society that we live in.

Reciting the Blue Sutra helps us to maintain our determination to take charge of our own future, to guide our own future, and to help improve the future for other human beings. This recitation can also help our unconscious mind see situations more clearly. (Sometimes our daily grid clouds and colors our conscious mind.) Recitation of the Blue Sutra helps us to understand, find answers, and take actions that lead to a brighter future.

Interaction with others in Reiyukai activities: We have an opinion of our self that may or may not be true. We usually see our self from our own biased viewpoint. When we interact with others, we can more truly know our real self. Reiyukai activities provide a setting where we can develop other viewpoints. The activity of sharing the recitation of the Blue Sutra with your ancestors opens up new viewpoints. Listening to the life experiences of another member during a Reiyukai gathering can give you a new way to look at a situation that you may not have thought of before. Doing some kind of community improvement project with your fellow Reiyukai members and friends can give you the opportunity to do an unselfish act of kindness that will lead to a better you. Your improved self will in turn have an effect on those around you.

Sharing your understanding and leading others: After you have experienced a positive result from contact with Reiyukai’s activities, you can share your experience, feeling, and understanding with others. This too is part of the interaction with others that leads to an improved self and an improved environment. By leading others and practicing with them, you can see more of your inner self. The unselfish act of teaching others will polish your inner self and lead to a better society."

[Quelle:'s%20practice.htm. -- Zugriff am 2005-04-29]


Abb.: Herbie Hancock

Jazz-Pianist und Komponit Herbie Hancock (1940 - ) wendet sich Soka Gakkai zu.


Abb.: Prabhasa Dharma
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-30]

Gisela Midwer alias Prabhasa Dharma (1931 - 1999) wird als Osha anerkannt und erhält den Titel Geshhin Myoko

"In Deutschland geboren und vorwiegend in Kalifornien gelebt, studierte sie zunächst viele Jahre Zen bei dem japanischen Zen-Meister Joshu Sasaki, der sie zur Nonne und Lehrerin mit dem Namen Gesshin Myoko (Mond-Herz / Wunderbares Licht) ordinierte.

1981 schloss sich Gesshin Myoko der Schule des vietnamesischen Lam Te (Rinzai) Zen-Meisters Thich Man Giac an, von dem sie 1985 das Dharma-Siegel einer Großmeisterin erhielt. Sie wurde als Prabhasa Dharma (Leuchtendes Dharma) 45. Matriarchin in der Lam Te Zen Linie.

Aus ihrer japanischen und vietnamesischen Tradition entwickelte sich eine Form von Zen, die nicht an ein bestimmtes Land oder eine bestimmte Kultur gebunden ist. Ihre Zen-Erfahrung manifestierte Prabhasa Dharma Zenji als Dichterin, Malerin und Kalligrafin.

Seit 1980 hielt sie Vorträge, veranstaltete Seminare und gab zahlreiche Sesshin in Amerika und Europa. So entstand eine große internationale Sangha.
Im Jahre 1999 berief sie Jiun Hogen zu ihrer Dharma-Nachfolgerin. Jiun Hogen Roshi ist die heutige spirituelle Leiterin des Zen-Zentrums Noorder Poort und der internationalen Zen-Institute. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-30]


Abb.: Jakusho Kwong
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-24]

(William) Jakusho Kwong-roshi (1935 - ) gründet das Sonoma Mountain Zen Center bei Santa Rosa, California

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-24

"Jakusho Kwong was born in Santa Rosa in 1935 and began studying Zen with Shunryu Suzuki-roshi, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, in 1960. He received ordination at San Francisco Zen Center in 1970, and established Sonoma Mountain Zen Center in 1973 as his com-memoration to his teacher. Jakusho Kwong completed Dharma transmission in 1978 through Hoitsu Suzuki-roshi at Rinsoin, Japan. This authorized him as Dharma successor to Suzuki-roshi’s lineage. Jakusho Kwong has taught throughout the U. S. and has traveled for the past 15 years to Iceland and Poland to lead retreats for affiliate groups. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-24]


Abb.: Tina Turner
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-03]

Tina Turner (geb. 1939) wendet sich Soka Gakkai zu.


Rev. Shoku Matsunaga wird Chaplain des California State Senat.


Stephan Bodian wird zum Zen-Geistlichen ordiniert. Er wird später Lehrer für "Effortless Awakening":

Abb.: Effortless awakening

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-10

"Drawing on more than 30 years of spiritual practice and realization, Stephan has created a unique blend of the timeless wisdom of Zen, Dzogchen, and Advaita Vedanta with the insights of Western psychology. Trained as both a Zen monk and a psychotherapist, Stephan brings to his individual sessions, workshops, and retreats a passion for truth and a commitment to supporting you in awakening to your essential being.

Stephan is licensed as a psychotherapist in California and has received Dharma transmission (authorization to teach) from his teacher, Adyashanti, in a Zen lineage dating back to the historical Buddha. He's the author of several books, including the bestselling Meditation for Dummies."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-10]


Abb.: Nichidatsu Fujii (1885-1985)
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-13]

Der Nipponzan Myohoji Temple in Washington, DC, wird als erster Nipponzan Myohoji Dojo (place of practice) in den USA eingeweiht.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-13


Nipponzan Myohoji was founded by the Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii, known as "Fujii Guruji". He was born on August 6, 1885 in Japan, and was ordained a Buddhist monk of the Nichiren sect when he was seventeen years old. Until the age of thirty-one years, Fujii Guruji entered into authentic study and practice not only in the Nichiren school, but also in all the major schools of Buddhism.

In the late autumn of 1916, Fujii Guruji undertook the self-imposed austerity of fasting under the waterfall of Momo-o-no-taki in Nara prefecture. Out of this practice, he attained the supreme resolve that the principle of his lifetime practice was to chant Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo, while beating prayer drum and walking. Early in the following year, 1917, he went to Tokyo and began this practice in front of the Imperial Palace, following the traditional footpath of dissemination as a disciple of the thirteenth century Great Saint Nichiren. 


The first temple opened by Fujii Guruji was in Northern China, in 1918. In 1923, after the Great Kanto Earthquake shook Japan, he returned to pray to bring true security to the nation by raising the righteous teachings of the Buddha. His temples began to be built in Japan. 


In 1930, he left for India and devoted himself in fervent prayer to revive Buddhism in the land of Lord Buddha's birth. In 1933, Fujii Guruji met Mahatma Gandhi, the founding father of India. Deep spiritual ties developed as Fujii Guruji unreservedly offered spiritual practice in support of the non-violent liberation of India. He returned to Japan in 1938. During World War II, he tried to build Peace Pagodas in which the holy relics of Buddha would be enshrined. He also invited the generals of Japan to join in this Buddha work, with the hope to convert Japan away from war, as a Buddhist country. 


Since the nuclear holocaust of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Guruji made it his life's mission to work for abolition of nuclear arms. As an advocate of peace, he tirelessly acted for world pace and built Peace Pagodas to embody the universal spirit of peace which innately exists in the depths of the mind of all peoples. Recognizing his contribution to this end, India conferred upon him the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1978. He passed away on January 9, 1986 at the age of 100.




Chanting Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo is the essential practice of Nipponzan Myohoji, as well as most other sects of the Nichiren school of Buddhism. The Nichiren school was founded on the teachings of the Great Bodhisattva Nichiren, a Buddhist Monk of thirteenth century Japan. The wars, famines and other natural catastrophes of his time compelled St. Nichiren to search entire collections of Buddhist sutras to know the true will and guidance of the Buddha, to alleviate the severe sufferings of the people. His years of study led him to conclude that the Lotus Sutra [jp: 法華経 Hokkekyō] unified all other sutras, and expounded the ultimate truth, the source to bring relief to all sentient beings, especially in the distress of the modern era. 


The "great stream of relief" flows when we chant Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo, which is the heart and mind of the Lotus Sutra, wherein Lord Buddha revealed his true original nature. This original nature is the Eternally Enlightened Buddha, beyond time, Perfect Wisdom, Consciousness, Universal Compassion, Ultimate Truth. Thus, the chanting of Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo is identical to calling out the Eternally Enlightened Buddha in all directions. St. Nichiren wrote in his Kanjin Honzon Sho: "Sakyamuni Buddha's merit of practicing the Bodhisattva way (dedicating one's life selflessly for the salvation of others) leading to Buddhahood, as well as that of preaching and saving all living beings since His attainment of Buddhahood, are altogether contained in the five words of Myo, Ho, Ren, Ge, Kyo, and consequently when we uphold the five words, the merits which He accumulated before and after His attainment of Buddhahood are spontaneously transferred to us all.


The single practice of chanting Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo integrates the dual needs of spiritual dedication for peace within and without. It is the most needed spiritual practice of our time both to establish genuine peace in the world and to awaken true security within our heart and mind. 


"Civilization is neither having electric lights, nor manufacturing atomic bombs. It is not to kill human beings, not to destroy things, not to wage a war; it is to become mutually amiable and respectful. What constitutes its foundation is not the establishment of a judicial system but religious faith that seeks gentleness, peace, simplicity and uprightness." Most Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii.


The Nipponzan Myohoji Temple in Washington, DC, was inaugurated by Fujii-Guruji in June 1974 as the first Nipponzan Myohoji Dojo (place of practice) in the United States. Since then, many visitors have been welcomed at the Dojo."


[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-13]


Abb.: Laurie Anderson

Die Künstlern Laurie Anderson (1947 - ) nimmt in Barre, MA an einer zweiwöchigen Zensitzung teil. Sie bezeichnet sich als unkonventionelle Buddhistin.

"Laurie Anderson (born June 5, 1947) is an American experimental performance artist and musician.

Anderson was born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. She attended Mills College in California, and eventually graduated from Barnard College magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, studying art history. In 1972, she obtained an MFA in sculpture from Columbia University.

She performed in New York through the 1970s, becoming more popularly known in 1981 with the single "O Superman", which reached number two on the national pop charts in Britain. "O Superman" was part of a larger stage work entitled United States and included on the following album Big Science. Her more recent stage work includes a multimedia presentation inspired by Moby-Dick. She starred in and directed the 1986 concert film, Home of the Brave, and also composed the soundtracks for the Spalding Gray films Swimming to Cambodia and Monster in a Box. Her varied career even included voice-acting in the animated film The Rugrats Movie. In 1994 she created a CD-ROM entitled Puppet Motel.

She wrote the New York City article for the Encyclopædia Britannica.

Anderson has collaborated with William Burroughs, Mitchell Froom, Peter Gabriel, Perry Hoberman, David Sylvian and boyfriend Lou Reed. She also worked with comedian Andy Kaufman in the late 1970s (with a romantic involvement hinted at in some of her spoken word performances about him).

Anderson, who rarely revisits older work (though themes and lyrics occasionally reappear) went on tour performing a selection of her best-known musical pieces in 2001. One of these performances was recorded in New York City only a week after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and included a stirring performance of "O Superman" which contained lyrics that almost seemed to predict the events of 9/11. This concert was released in early 2002 as the CD, Live in New York, which remains her most recent album release.

In 2003, Anderson became NASA's first (and, she says, last) artist-in-residence (see the third external link), which inspired her most recent performance piece, The End of the Moon.

Rumors emerged of a possible new album release in the fall of 2004, but this turned out to be false as Anderson seems too busy mounting a succession of themed shows, as well as composing a piece for Expo 2005 in Japan."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-10]

um 1975

Abb.: Wayne Shorter

Der Jazz-Saxophonist und Komponist Wayne Shorter (1933 - ) und seine Frau konvertieren zu Sokka Gakkai

"Wayne Shorter ist aktives Mitglied der buddhistischen Religionsgemeinschaft Soka Gakkai International. Dazu kam er vor 30 Jahren, als seine Tochter an einer Gehirnverletzung litt. Seine damalige Frau Anna-Marie - sie kam 1996 bei einem Flugzeugabsturz ums Leben - und er hätten jedenfalls nicht mehr weiter gewusst, und da sei dann von Freunden der Rat gekommen, sich an Soka Gakkai zu wenden. Sie hätten sich dann auf einer Straße der Aufklärung, der Erleuchtung wiedergefunden, und so erfahren, dass die Erforschung des Lebens ein ständiger Prozess ist, berichtet Shorter.

Ihre Tochter sei zwar mit 14 gestorben, so gesehen hat es also nichts genützt, religiös zu werden, aber sie habe ihnen geholfen, sagt Shorter, habe ihr Leben bereichert und sei der Auslöser dafür gewesen, dass sie sich zusammen mit vielen Freunden dem Buddhismus zugewandt haben. Sie ein "Baby-Buddha" gewesen, sie habe "ihre Mission in vierzehn Jahren erfüllt". "

[Quelle: Christian Broecking. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20] 

um 1975

Abb.: Aus dem Katalog
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20

Gründung der Firma Myojo-Morning Star für Zen-Kleidung

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20


Die Nichiren Shoshu Academy feiert demonstrativ das 200-Jahr-Jubiläum der Unabhängigkeit der USA.

1976-07-04 (USA's Bicentennial)

Abb.: Ohne Worte
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-22]

Eido Shimano Roshi (1932 - ) eröffnet das internationale Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji, ein Rinzai Kloster,  in New Yok's Catshill Mountains

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-22

"EIDO SHIMANO ROSHI wurde am 1. Oktober 1932 in Tokyo geboren. Er praktizierte Zen im Ryutaku-ji Kloster unter der Anleitung von Soen Nakagawa Roshi und wurde dessen Nachfolger. Eido Shimano übersiedelte 1960 in die Vereinigten Staaten. Heute ist er Abt des New York Zendo Shobo-ji in Manhattan und des Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji Klosters im nördlichen Teil des Staates New York. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-22]


Nach der Teilnahme an einen transkontinentalen Friedensmarsch für die Rechte der Native Americans (Indianer) gründet die Nipponzan-Myohohoji-Nonne Jun Yasuda einen Tempel beim DQ Native American College

Abb.: Jun Yasuda

"Walks far woman / by Louise Dunlap

It is late December, the darkest time of winter one of the coldest spots on this continent-Wounded Kne Creek in South Dakota, where 300 unarmed Lakota people were mowed down by US cavalry 100 years ago. After a week riding across this frozen, windswept land, some 400 Native people on horseback are making the final descent to the massacre site for a ceremony called Wiping the Tears and Mending the Sacred Hoop.

A bitter, cleansing wind from the north brings stinging snow and a chill factor of 80° below as I walk the same road, behind a smaller group whose ancestors made the fateful journey on foot. With them, ahead of me, is a wiry Japanese-born Buddhist nun with a small prayer drum and a voice that carries. Honored with a white eagle feather and the Lakota name "Walks Far Woman," she is fasting along with many of the riders and supporting their ceremony by chanting Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo - the words of the Lotus Sutra.

It is my first experience with Buddhism or chanting of any kind, but I find my voice joining in. These mysterious seven syllables steady my heart in the numbing wind and help me feel my own emotions more keenly as we approach Wounded Knee -- pain and anger, and also the possibility of healing. The violence of the world has deepened steadily since the Wounded Knee Massacre. Our leaders now have the weapons to destroy the earth many times over, and the willingness to use them. This is certainly what the Lotus Sutra calls an "era of declined law." How do we live, in such times? Jun Yasuda, the Buddhist nun walking at Wounded Knee, has an active answer.

Her order, Nipponzan Myohoji, is better known to activists in this country than to Buddhists, perhaps because it is not a "sitting" order. As her friend, Native leader Dennis Banks, puts it, "...their only mission is to walk and to pray for peace. Maybe when the last nuclear bomb is dismantled and the last treaty is signed, maybe then they can rest and quietly meditate." Nipponzan Myohoji's founder -- dubbed Guruji by his friend Gandhi -- developed the practice of walking and drumming with the Lotus Sutra to proclaim the message of nonviolence, as Japanese imperialism returned in the early 20th century. (Like his predecessor, the 13th century Buddhist reformer Nichiren, he attempted to hold political leaders accountable.) The practice also includes fasting and hard physical work-all of it as public as possible, especially in times of crisis.

Jun-san (as she is called in the Japanese way) has fasted and chanted for days in rough weather outside the prisons of Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal. She has walked to challenge the root causes of nuclear weapons, the African slave trade, and many injustices to Native people. With community volunteers and scavenged materials, she has built a resplendent Peace Pagoda in the rugged mountains east of Albany, New York-the only woman-initiated project of its kind. Local people report that their first view of this huge white dome rising out of the forest brings mysterious tears to their eyes. (When she's not walking, Jun-san lives in an adjacent temple, where simple living includes woodstoves for heat and cooking and one cold water faucet.) And she has stitched together an intercultural network of friends and supporters. Her acute political sense; her creativity, wit, and charisma; and her deep connection to allies -- especially Native Americans -- are exemplary.

In the year 2000, Jun-san organized three major walks -- four months across the US carrying a live flame from Hiroshima; two weeks from Albany into New York City linking Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, and Native American prayers for September 11; and three weeks from Hiroshima to Nara, site of Guruji's "vision quest." In that walk she was joined by a family member of someone lost in the World Trade Center catastrophe.

In her widening circles, Jun-san has become a legend; yet, as one friend says, she manages to skirt the kind of attention given to other Buddhist leaders in America. Those of us who know her love to entertain ourselves with "Jun-san stories." How Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo kept an old car running. How people helping build the Peace Pagoda found her after a long day's work sitting in a deep hole with a spoon. "I was tired using pick," she explained later in her own evocative grammar. "I very always hitting stone. It hurt. I can sitting do something. Digging with spoon."

Jun-san herself will often dazzle walkers with rest-stop stories of fast motorcycles, artistic dancing, and radical student organizing against the Vietnam war during her twenties in Japan, or dumpster diving in California when she first came to this country.

Many Jun-san stories are about her thoughtfulness, service, and dedication. On a midwinter walk into Canada, for instance, plans changed at the last minute and walkers headed into an unscouted area with few arrangements for hospitality. "You're going to learn the power of `thank you," Jun-san told one uneasy young walker. Sure enough, he watched her honor those who stepped forward to help -- with heartfelt bows and small gifts of paper cranes -- and learned a life lesson from their joyous response. He also noted her "eye for people with a need they're not sharing." I remember her skillful shiatsu massage, especially with a proud but infirm African-American man who insisted on limping every single mile of Schenectady pavement to honor the Underground Railroad. A walker with insomnia remembers lying awake among fifty pilgrims sleeping on a floor in Mostar, Bosnia, and seeing a small light in one corner. It was Jun-san, wide awake, sewing repairs on another walker's clothing. Someone else remembers a fabulous meal she cooked that same night for those same fifty walkers on one feeble burner with one water faucet in a war-torn city where there was virtually no food.

Other stories show Jun-san's uncanny intuition, the synchronicity that swirls around her as she "connects" with people and puts them in touch with each other. "I always do whatever she tells me to do," says one old friend, "even if I don't understand why." Jun-san once asked him to drive an hour out of his way to visit a couple recently arrived from Burma. No reasons were given, but the mission soon became clear. Forced to leave their country suddenly, without their children, the Burmese couple were desperate. The friend just happened to know an international agency, that was able to reunite the family within days.

The walk atmosphere stimulates fairytale synchronicities. Hearing the drums, a Japanese friend from twenty years ago unexpectedly meets Jun-san on a suburban California street corner, and turns out to have information vital to the walk. Twelve years after the Wounded Knee experience, I find myself walking the streets of Manhattan to the World Trade Center with someone who was just a few steps ahead of me on that snowy day.

Stories also touch on the deep transformation possible on Jun-san's walks. Holding vigil at one of New York's proliferating prisons, a friend (now ordained himself) told me how Jun-san bowed to a particularly tough-looking guard, who, to everyone's amazement, bowed back with deep sincerity. The one seen as the enemy may not be the enemy when we are tuned to the Lotus Sutra.

I asked Jun-san recently how she came to ordain. From the age of ten, she told me, she always questioned "where go after die?" From childhood reading in Buddhist philosophy, she realized that "everything moving. You cannot hold it." Unlike her friends, she was not attracted to material things: "Getting rich, getting boyfriend is not interesting to me. You cannot hold." On family outings, she was drawn to poor people, starving people-and always "wanting to change it." By the time Jun-san was sixteen, the pull of radical anarchist activism created a break with her family that has only recently healed. In deep confusion, with no thought of Buddhism, Jun-san went to India with another young Japanese (who would later ordain also) and traveled to Bodh Gaya.

A guidebook revealed that "If you have no money, you can stay at Nipponzan Myohos," so they did. But it was only later that Jun-san's "religious mind started to grow." On one occasion she accompanied monks walking, chanting, and drumming in the slums of Bombay. There, extraordinarily poor people, people living in cardboard houses, came out bowing to the monks and giving precious offerings -"tiny rice, one cent, two cent." Their deep respect and their smiles were very beautiful to Jun-san. From that time, she "saw the world differently. If people bow, then peace," she told me.

Without researching Buddhism or comparing her order with any other, Junsan ordained in 1976. She was just under thirty years old. She is comfortable, now, with her "choice." Since Guruji's death (at age 100) in 1985, the order continues without a systematic hierarchy, a sangha that supports Jun-san's heartfelt approach to justice without violating her innate sense of freedom.

The verb "to connect" is big in Junsan's vocabulary. Perhaps her most profound connections-during her twentyfour years as a Japanese monastic in the United States-have been with the indigenous people of this continent. Not long after ordination, Jun-san found herself, less by choice than by a series of coincidences, crossing the Pacific to participate in the "Longest Walk."

This journey across the US in 1978, from Alcatraz Island to the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC, brought urban and traditional Indian people from many tribes together into their own civil rights movement. Guruji had long realized the importance of Native American teachings and must have felt their congruence with Buddhism. When he learned of the Longest Walk, he urged his monks and nuns to be there -- not to convert or spread Buddhism, Jun-san recalls, but "to support Native Indian people because they have a history of struggle, respect for the land, living things all in harmony... If ever the world back to peace way-Indian people very important teacher." The monastic role was to lend courage and strength to this process by "drumming and walking behind Naive people." This assignment suited Jun-sn perfectly.

"I just become nun and I don't know Buddhism much. I feel I can do this job. I understand how Native people important."

On that walk Jun-san became lifelong friends with Dennis Banks, cofounder of the American Indian Movement, who had carried a gun at the government's siege of Wounded Knee in 1973 but by 1978 was moving toward nonviolence as a long-term solution. (Banks has his own history with Nipponzan Myohoji, having once held a cocked rifle "defending" an expanding US airbase against monks and farmers on vigil during the Korean war.)

Sought by the law in for his 1970s activism, Banks lived in California taking sanctuary offered by a California governor. She lived at a Native American college, D-Q University, where Banks was chancellor and set up a temple for her practice. When the governor stepped down from office, Banks went underground to the Onandaga Reservation in New York. Jun-san accompanied him. It was there, during her monthly chanting vigils at the statehouse on his behalf, that a Native supporter offered her some wild mountain farmland for a peace pagoda.

Native Americans respect Jun-san's style of prayer just as she does theirs. She recalls a long bus journey with Indians to an antinuclear conference. At sunset, she looked out her window and bowed to the sun. People noticed. "Jun-san is praying" they said. "Let's stop the bus." Everyone got out so they could support her as she sat on the roadside drumming and chanting.

With this kind of solidarity, people don't need a translation of Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo. Guruji and Nichiren had taught that these syllables embody the teachings of the entire Lotus Sutra, making them accessible for ordinary people. Buddha nature is in all beings, even "evil" ones, and when the law of the Dharma is followed, this violent world can become the Buddha land. Jun-san explains that "when you pray from inside your heart, many emotions come up. Each of us will feel it differently," but all of us will be praying for peace. "If you want to know what the words mean," she says, "please try the chant."

When Guruji brought it to India, Gandhi understood Na Mu Myo Ho Ren Ge Kyo immediately without translation and incorporated the chant into daily prayer at his ashram. Noticing big differences in chanting styles among the Nipponzan monks and nuns, I asked Jun-san once if Guruji had ever instructed them on how to chant. "He say best wayloud," she told me, her eyes twinkling. Her own throaty voice I would recognize anywhere.

Of the 150 or so monks and nuns of Nipponzan Myohoji, many others besides Jun-san are also "free spirits" with interesting stories behind their commitment. This small number has spread out to the global trouble spots of our century, chanting the Lotus Sutra in this "era of declined law"-in Zambia, warwracked Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua. I have seen news photos of Nipponzan Myohoji monks and nuns with their picturesque drums in the thick of violent post-apartheid elections in South Africa and outside the besieged Church of the New Jerusalem in Bethlehem. A friend says their presence at the Great Peace March of 1982 (where over a million people gathered to say no to nuclear weapons) filled the streets of Manhattan with the sound of their drumming.

In the US, where so much global violence has its source, eleven monks and nuns have put down roots (including four European-Americans, two ordaining this past year). Besides the Peace Pagoda near Albany, there is a New England Peace Pagoda (in Leverett, Massachusetts), one under construction near the Oakridge Nuclear Weapons Lab in Tennessee, and another being discussed at the nuclear submarine base near Seattle. Temples also keep the practice going in Atlanta, Rocky Flats (Colorado), Bainbridge Island (Washington), New York City, and the nation's capital. Each temple, with lay supporters, is active in coalition-based peace and justice organizing in their region. We can be sure that Walks Far Woman and her brother and sister monks will keep on sounding the call to nonviolent social change in the hard times ahead.

Louise Dunlap teaches yoga, meditation, and writing in the Boston area. She is a member of the Old Path Sangha. This article was previously published in Turning Wheel and Fellowship"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-22]


In Los Angeles wird Jiko-in, der erste Tendai-Tempel in Nordamerika gegründet.


Sensei Bernard Teisugen Glassmann (1939 - ) gründet auf Bitte von Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931 - 1995) die Zen Community of New York

Abb.: Glassman Roshi

"Bernie Glassman was born in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York. His parents were immigrants from Eastern Europe and he grew up in a Jewish family with a strong socialist and Communist orientation. After graduating from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, Bernie went to work for McDonnell-Douglas in California in the early 1960s as an aeronautical engineer, concentrating on sending unmanned flights to Mars. He also obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from UCLA at that time.

In 1967, Bernie began his Zen studies with Taizan Maezumi Roshi, Founder of the Zen Center of Los Angeles, as well as with some other well-known Japanese Zen masters. He became Sensei Glassman - Maezumi Roshi's first Dharma Successor - in 1976.

After receiving Dharma transmission, Bernie moved back to the Bronx in 1980 to establish the Zen Community of New York in Riverdale. Being concerned with issues of social action and the integration of Zen practice with everyday life, Glassman founded the Greyston Mandala, a network of community development organizations, informed by Buddhist values, providing a variety of services in southwest Yonkers.

Today, what is known as the Greyston Mandala, consists of several successful social-economic ventures:

  • The Greyston Bakery, a $4 million business venture which hires and trains local Yonkers residents to make baked-from-scratch cakes and tarts as well as the brownies contained in Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream products. Currently, the bakery employs 70 people.
  • The Greyston Family Inn renovates and manages apartment buildings for formerly homeless and low-income working families. It has successfully developed 176 units of permanent housing for families and single adults. In addition, the program provides childcare and a wide range of supportive services.
  • Greyston Health Services operates Issan House, a 35 unit housing facility for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, and the Maitri Center, a day health program providing medical services and alternative treatment to people with AIDS, with an on-site child care center. The combined facilities, in a former Catholic nunnery, provide a full spectrum of health, rehabilitative, counseling and complementary services.
  • The Greyston Garden Project has brought together neighborhood residents, from pre-schoolers to senior citizens, to create five beautiful and bountiful gardens on formerly blighted plots of land.

All elements of the Greyston Mandala draw on their Buddhist roots and take a holistic approach, paying attention to both the whole person and the whole community. Fostering both self-sufficiency and a sense of the interdependency of all life, Greyston helps people envision their own path to long-term change and productivity.

In 1995 Bernie Glassman received inka, or the final seal of approval, from his teacher and became known as Roshi Bernie. He also served as Spiritual Head of the White Plum Lineage, founded by Maezumi Roshi, and as the first President of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of America.

In January of 1994, while leading a Bearing Witness street retreat in Washington DC, Roshi Glassman conceived of the creation of an Order of Zen practitioners dedicated to the cause of peace. Subsequently, the concept was broadened to become a global, multi-faith network. The Peacemaker Circle [Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28] , focusing on the integration of spiritual practice and social action, was co-founded by Bernie Glassman and his wife, Jishu Holmes.

Abb.: Sandra Jishu Holmes (1941 - 1998)

Bernie Glassman teaches and travels, giving talks and workshops on spiritual practice and peacemaking, and leading the street retreats for which he is well known. He serves as visionary for the Peacemaker Circle, shepherding its continuing growth and development as a global, multi-faith network of peacemakers.

He is the co-author of On Zen Practice I & II, The Hazy Moon of Enlightenment, and Instructions to the Cook (Bell Tower, New York, 1996) which describes his vision and work with the Greyston Mandala. Bearing Witness (Bell Tower, New York, 1998), deals with peacemaking and engaged spirituality. His most recent book is Infinitie Circle.


  • The Temple of Understanding
  • White Plum Sangha
  • Soto Zen Buddhist Association
  • Aids Interfaith National Network
  • Social Venture Network
  • Westchester Interfaith Housing Corp.


  • 1991 Best of America Award for Social Action (US News & World Report)
  • Ethics in Action Award, Ethical Culture Society of Westchester
  • E-chievement Award, E-Town, Tom's of Maine
  • Man of the Year, Westchester Coalition of Food Pantries"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]


Abb.: Issan Dorsey

Tommy Issan Dorsey (1933 - 1989) wird "Spiritual Advisor" des Gay Buddhist Club in Hartford Street, Sn Francisco

Webpräsenz des Hartfort Street Zen Center: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-25

"Dorsey was an ex-drag queen who ended up a roshi and, some say, a Bodhi-sattva. He was born in Santa Barbara in 1933, the eldest of ten children. He discovered he was gay at high school, and after serving in the Navy for two years (from which he received an Undesirable Discharge Under Honorable Conditions—guess why), he went to San Francisco in 1953 and joined the cool scene that was just beginning to develop there. He lived a hard street life for the next ten years: using every imaginable drug; "turning tricks"; touring as part of a three-man team of drag artists, and as soloist ("I was a bad queen"); and dating the occasional Chicago mobster. He was lucky to come out of it alive.

In 1964, he went back to San Francisco and discovered LSD, the hippie scene and Zen. To begin with, they were all mixed up (as they were for many at the time) but he managed to disentangle them. By 1968, he had met Suzuki Roshi:

a funny little old Japanese man that I couldn't understand. I couldn't understand his English but I just made myself go anyway. I went to all his lectures. There was something about him that attracted me. (Schneider, 92)

He moved into the San Francisco Zen Center/SFZC (where he met Reb Anderson) and started meditating regularly. He went to Tassajara, SFZC's retreat centre, soon after it was opened and was made head cook—a position that is highly regarded in the Soto tradition. He took the jukai precepts from Suzuki Roshi in 1970.

By this time, he had stopped taking drugs altogether, lived a responsible sexual life and was more or less a reformed character. But he kept his outrageous side. Some people were unsure how to pronounce 'Issan', his Dharma name. "It rhymes with 'piss on,'" he would say helpfully (Schneider, 115)

Suzuki Roshi died in 1971 and was succeeded by Richard Baker Roshi as abbot of SFZC. To begin with, Issan did not like Baker and did not think he could work with him. "But that turned around." He took tokudo ordination from Baker in 1975 and became one of his most loyal students. He stood by him throughout the 1983 debacle which ended up with Baker leaving SFZC and starting his own centre in Santa Fe. In fact, Issan went to study with him there for a while.

But his real home was San Francisco. Gradually, he became more and more involved in the gay movement there. When a Gay Buddhist Club was started in Hartford Street in 1980, Issan, who had already been practising for twelve years, became its spiritual advisor (with Baker's blessing). Then, in 1985, he found out that he was HIV-Positive. His response was entirely typical of the man: accepting things as they are—and not complaining. "Well, why shouldn't I have it? It's been my life. It's sort of appropriate. Why should I be spared?"

He had always had a genius for street life and he put it to good use now. AIDS was just beginning to hit San Francisco and people were confused, frightened, and angry. "The gay community is fucked," was Issan's way of putting it (Schneider, 167). But he pitched in with them anyway. "Those are my boys down there," he said once, surveying the Castro district from one of the surrounding hills (ibid., 165). He extended the Hartford Street Zen Center so that it included a hospice providing personal care round the clock—for $500 a month, a miracle in itself (ibid., 181-82). It was one of the first hospices that had a genuine community atmosphere. Anyone could go there, gay or not.

But of course he got sick himself. He readily admitted that he was as frightened and overwhelmed at the prospect of death as anybody else, in spite of all his years of zazen (and he was a regular practitioner). Yet he did not abandon his essential street style:

I don't want to hear about that 'clear-mind-no-drugs' talk . . . The mind we're talking about when we say 'clear mind' isn't affected by a little morphine. (Schneider, 198)

"Issan never acted much like an angel, nor like a particularly 'pure' person . . . He could be a dictatorial, fussy, bitchy pain in the ass" (Schneider, x, xi). But mainly he wasn't. In fact, he was "genuinely adored" (ibid., 236). He was kind, completely unjudgemental and accepted people as he found them. This is a rare quality. And it manifested itself in another way: he could get on with life—ordinary life—without trying to force it into a particular shape. According to Richard Baker.

When he lived at Santa Fe, the garden bloomed, the place looked good, everything was shining, the flowers and bushes were tended. He just did it. No one asked him, he just did it. He was a kind of—as a real bodhisattva is—a kind of housewife. The bodhisattva is ultimately a kind of houswife, just takes care of things. (Schneider, 157)

In fact, Baker had decided in around 1980 or so that he wanted to give Issan Dharma-transmission. They worked together towards this end over a number of years. In 1989, Baker installed Issan as abbot of the Hartford Street Zen Center, which he renamed Issan-ji. A year later, Issan gave tokudo ordination to three of his students (Schneider, 196). (But Issan also found time to officiate at the marriages of three of his sisters.) By now he was very ill. Baker made him a roshi in a private ceremony, and shortly afterwards Issan gave Dharma-transmission to his principal student, Steve Allen. Allen thus became Issan's successor1 (and as a result, Issan's name remains in the Soto lineage). Issan died five days later. He was 57.

1 But he has not remained at Hartford Street Zen Center/Issan-ji. The present abbot is another of Richard Baker s students, Philip Whalen (1923 - 2002). (See Lineage Tree 1.)

Issan had no teaching in any conceptual sense. But as Baker Roshi said at his funeral, he understood Suzuki Roshi's way better than anyone else. "In the Zen Buddhist world, Japanese or American, no higher compliment could be paid" (Schneider, 236). The Maitri Hospice still operates in the Hartford Street Zen Center and still ministers to those who need it. A lot of people still do. Many of them, though not all, are those have "misstepped or lost their way" (ibid., 194). They also have a place and one which, having been there himself, Issan Roshi knew very well.

[Quelle. Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 245 - 247.]

Über Issan Dorsey:

Schneider, David <1951 - >: In Tau gekleidet : Issan Dorsey: Drag Queen und Zen-Mönch / Tensho David Schneider. Mit einem Vorw. von Bernie Glassman Roshi. [Übertr. aus dem amerikan. Engl. von Bernd Bender in Zusammenarbeit mit Katja Wiederspahn]. -- Berlin : Theseus,1998. -- 296 S. : Ill. ; 22 cm. -- Originaltitel: Street Zen (1993). -- ISBN: 3-89620-125-5. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie  dieses Buch  bei bestellen} 


Abb.: Richard Clarke
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30]

Richard Clarke (1933 - ) trennt sich von Philip Kapleau (1912 - 2004) und gründet The Living Dharma Center

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30

"Clarke was born in 1933 and grew up in Toronto. When he was 13, he had what he now calls a spontaneous kensho. He met Philip Kapleau in 1967, soon after Kapleau returned to the States from Japan. He became his student, worked on koans and had a kensho at his third sesshin in 1969. (All this information taken from an interview in 1990.) The two men have not had an easy relationship. In 1975, Sharon Springs Zen Center, a residential community in New York state which Clarke had opened a few years earlier, was forced to close, partly because, according to Clarke, Kapleau insisted that it be affiliated with the Rochester Zen Center, saying that unless this was done, people at Sharon Springs could not attend sesshin at Rochester.1 Clarke says that he lost a lot of money as a result; but he continued to hold groups (Dharma talks; dokusan) in people's houses. The final rift with Kapleau took place in 1981—apparently because Clarke kept taking notes during sesshins while knowing full well that Kapleau did not want him (or anyone else) to do so. So Kapleau sent Clarke a letter saying that he should find another teacher. Instead, Clarke set up as a teacher himself: the Living Dharma Center was founded in Connecticut in 1981 (and now has an affiliated centre in Amherst, Massachusetts). Its brochure describes it as "a center for Zen Buddhist training and practice . . . Together we seek to translate the ancient tradition of Zen into forms appropriate to our time and place."2

1 Kapleau s version of events is that the Sharon Springs Center "was from the start an affiliate of the Rochester Zen Center. It was disaffiliated because Clarke would not follow the guidelines governing affiliates" (letter, November 1995).

2 But Clarke is not just an independent Zen teacher. In 1982, he founded the New England Institute for Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which offers courses on Communication, Personal and Professional Growth, and Strategies for Success. Clarke is described in the Institute's brochure as "an active business consultant" who has held trainings for a number of enterprises (including the Connecticut Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission). One of his trainings is called "Integrating Spirituality'.

According to the brochure for the Living Dharma Center, Clarke has undergone "formal training in the Harada-Yasutani-Kapleau line of Zen and received formal Transmission into a lineage of Buddhist teachers which is now more than 2,500 years old." When I was corresponding with Philip Kapleau about the whole question of authentic transmission, he took exception to this statement about Clarke's having received transmission, which, he said, was absolutely untrue. I do not want to get caught up in this particular dispute. But divergences of this kind are an integral part of the phenomenon of Western teachers—in fact, Kapleau himself has taken part in others, though they are rather different—and people should know about them."

[Quelle. Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 210f.]


Abb.: Gyomay M. Kubose
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]

Rev. Gyomay M. Kubose (1905 - 2000) beginnt mit DIAL-the-DHARMA (847) 677-8053

"Dial-the-Dharma is a 24-hour telephone service offered by the Kubose Dharma Legacy. Call any time to hear a short taped message by Rev. Gyomay or Rev. Koyo Kubose. Tape changed daily."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]

Es gibt dort auch Telephone TiSarana Buddhism Confirmation (Gründungsdatum konnte ich nicht ermitteln)

"Telephone TiSarana Buddhism Confirmation

The original rationale of the Kubose Dharma Legacy was to offer its TiSarana to persons particularly interested in our Way of Oneness approach to Buddhism. This would involve persons whom we came to know and whom we felt understood our vision and direction.

This perspective was broadened to provide the TiSarana Ceremony as a general gate to the Buddhist path. The purpose of the ceremony is to function as a personal expression of an individual's wish to confirm and deepen his or her commitment to the Buddhist path. Our confirmation ceremony does not necessarily imply that one becomes a follower of a particular approach or tradition. Although it is still felt that in-person participation should be encouraged, such participation can be difficult for persons who do not have easy access to a local organization. Due to the interest for an "at-home" confirmation ceremony, we have begun offering a ceremony via telephone for out-of-state persons who wish to have the ceremony in their own homes.

We were initially concerned that doing a confirmation ceremony over the telephone would significantly reduce the impact for participants. Yet, our experience has been that providing such a service meets a need for sincere persons who wish to have a confirmation ceremony. We were also concerned that providing a telephone confirmation ceremony would "cheapen" and lower the standards for such a ceremony. We would open ourselves to criticism from other Buddhist organizations. However, Rev. Koyo Kubose said, "That's the problem of other organizations; people's needs come first." Our confirmation is less an institutional standard and more a tool for individual spirituality.

We conceive of our telephone confirmation ceremony as a broad gate for anyone who wishes to confirm his or her religious identity. It should be mentioned that a confirmation ceremony is not necessary for a person to be considered a Buddhist. Institutional validation is not mandatory. Being confirmed is not required in order to receive Buddhist services such as weddings or funerals. People who are Buddhist because they were born into a Buddhist family rarely feel a need for a ceremony to confirm their identity as Buddhists. Perhaps because of the concept of baptism, persons coming to Buddhism from other traditions often feel the need for a confirmation ceremony. A confirmation ceremony is to be encouraged for all Buddhists, regardless of their backgrounds. Such a ceremony is an invaluable way to deepen individual spirituality. Our telephone confirmation ceremony is a "work in progress" effort to meet this important need.

Instructions for a Telephone Confirmation Ceremony
  1. Tell us your spiritual journey "story;" i.e. your religious background, what brought you to become interested in Buddhism, and how your current approach to Buddhism is developing. This information may be done in written form or communicated over the telephone.
  2. Set a date and time for the ceremony. Some suggested times convenient for us are: M-Th evenings, starting time between 7:00 and 9:00 P.M. (Central Time); or Sunday mornings, starting time between 10:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. (Central Time). If necessary, other mutually convenient times can be arranged.
  3. After your ceremony date is set, please cut several long strands of your hair and send to: Kubose Dharma Legacy, 8334 Harding Avenue, Skokie, IL 60076. These strands will be used during the ceremony and will be attached by a gold notarial seal to your TiSarana Certificate. This certificate will be sent to you.
  4. Suggested options to think about:
    • Establish a SPOT (Special Place of Tranquility) in your home. See "Daily Dharma" material. Use this SPOT as the site for your TiSarana Ceremony; prepare this SPOT with items such as candle, bell, incense, flowers, statues, pictures, sayings, etc.
    • Invite family or friends to witness the ceremony; share a meal after the ceremony. Wash up mindfully just before the ceremony; remember that water is a symbol of both purification and rebirth. Wear special clothes, not necessarily dress clothes but perhaps favorite clothing that has special meaning for you.
    • Engage in a short period of meditation just before telephoning to start the ceremony. During this quiet time, practice Three Treasures Breathing, which is simply taking three slow breaths. On the inhale, breathe in while pushing your belly outward. Make your exhale as long and slow as possible. Three Treasures Breathing is a good habit to cultivate. Use it whenever you want to center yourself. All of us at times get angry, frustrated, fearful, depressed, or just plain agitated. A calm mind is important because when the mind is calm, it can better reflect the truth that is all around us. A teaching that illustrates this is how the moon is reflected in a body of water. When the surface of the water is choppy, the image of the moon is distorted. However, when the water is calm and still, the moon's image is reflected very beautifully. Three Treasures Breathing can help when you want to disengage yourself from distracting thought patterns so you can focus completely in the present moment. It is a valuable tool promoting clarity and tranquility. It is also a good way to deal with insomnia. In any case, doing the Three Treasures Breathing just before calling to start the ceremony is strongly recommended. This will calm and "empty out" your mind so you can fully receive the ceremony.
  5. At the mutually decided upon date and time for your confirmation ceremony, you should call us at (847) 677-8211. We will be waiting for your call.
  6. Please have the Order of Ceremony that follows handy for the recitation.
  7. Any appreciation donations may be made to the Kubose Dharma Legacy.

Order of Ti Sarana (Three Treasures) Ceremony

Opening Aspiration

Three Treasurers Reading

Leader: Buddham Saranam Gacchmi
All: I shall become one with the Buddha. I resolve that I shall each day follow the
Way of Life he laid down for us to walk and awaken to his supreme wisdom.

Leader: Dhammam Sarana Gacchami
All: I shall become one with the Dharma. The gates of Dharma are manifold; I vow
to enter them all. The goal of wisdom is ever beyond; I shall attain it.

Leader: Sangham Saranam Gacchami
All: I shall become one with the Sangha. In the spirit of universal brotherhood and
as a member of the Sangha, I pledge myself to strive for the enlightenment of
all beings.

Incense Offering/Three Treasures Breathing

Ti Sarana Ceremony

Dharma Talk and Giving of the Dharma Name*

Closing Benediction

Leader: We surround all people and all forms of life with love and compassion.
Particularly do we send forth loving thoughts to those in suffering and sorrow,
to all those in doubt and ignorance, and to all who are striving to attain truth.

All: May the Infinite Light of Wisdom and Compassion so shine within us that the
errors and vanities of self may be dispelled; so shall we understand the changing
nature of existence and awaken into spiritual peace.

Leader: To all Enlightened Ones...

All: ...who are present in their teachings, we pledge our loyalty and devotion. We
dedicate our lives to the way of life they have laid down for us to walk. We
resolve to follow their example and labor earnestly for the enlightenment and
welfare of all people.

*The participant will be given a Dharma Name by Rev. Koyo Kubose, who also will explain the meaning of the name. This name will be written on the participant's TiSarana Certificate.

Kubose Dharma Legacy ( 8334 Harding Ave., Skokie, IL 60076 ("

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]


Sensei Bernard Teisugen Glassmann (1939 - ) gründet die Greyston Bakery

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28

In 1982, a Zen Buddhist meditation group led by a one-time aerospace engineer, Bernard Tetsugen Glassman, borrowed $300,000 to open a small storefront bakery in Riverdale, the Bronx that -- it was hoped -- would become profitable enough to free up its members from their workaday jobs. They would earn their own daily bread by turning out muffins, scones, and cakes for the neighborhood and for upscale restaurants in Manhattan. Within a few years, having realized this goal and moved to Yonkers, the group decided to spread its entrepreneurial wings by hiring the chronically unemployed and giving them on-the-job training as well as paychecks. Today, Greyston Bakery has been transformed into a gourmet wholesale-retail bakery whose cakes and tarts have been served at the White House. The Bakery generates more than $3.5 million in revenues and employs 55 people. Its master cake decorator has had 20 years of experience and its head of operations graduated from the American Institute of Baking. The bakery has also sent several employees to the Institute. It is a powerhouse revenue producer for Greyston Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the poor and the afflicted.

Gone are the muffins and scones. In are ravishing cakes, tarts & cookies, spectacular special orders, national distribution via UPS, and a contract with Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. the Vermont ice cream maker. Greyston bakes all the brownies and blondies used in Ben & Jerry's irresistible Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream and the Frozen Yogurt as well as in three new flavors: Blondies Are A Swirls Best Friend Low Fat Frozen Yogurt, Half-Baked, and Jerry's Jubilee. Gourmet specialty stores like Balducci's, Fairway, Todaro Brothers, the Garden of Eden Farmer's Market, and the Amagansett Farmer's Market carry Greyston's creations. The White House distributed Greyston's special chocolate chip cookies to participants in the annual Easter Egg Roll and to visitors during the Christmas holidays. Other clients range from the Mayor of Yonkers to a Westchester County fund-raising party for Hillary Clinton. In July 1999, the bakery produced a 5-tier cake and 10 smaller ones for a Lincoln Center celebration; the stunning creation fed 8,300 partygoers.

Perhaps the bakery's most gratifying praise has come from Zagat's 1999/2000 Survey of the New York City Marketplace. As the Survey explains, establishments "with the highest overall ratings, greatest popularity and importance are in CAPITAL LETTERS."

Zagat rates 160 Baked Goods establishments. For quality, only one Very Expensive bakery/patisserie ranks higher than Greyston, and by only one point. The Upper East Side shop gets 29 points for quality while Greyston (Moderate price) gets 28 -- a rating held by only four other bakeries."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]


Abb.: Toni Packer
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30]

Toni Packer (1927 - ) verlässt Philip Kapleau's Rochester Zen Center und gründet 1984 das Springwater Center for Meditative Inquiry and Retreats

Webpräsenz: -- -Zugriff am 2005-05-30

"There are a number of teachers in this book who might be called 'non-teachers'. Some of them say that Truth cannot be taught or even grasped by the mind and there are thus no means by which it can be 'attained'—no grand doctrines, no sublime rituals, no magnificent art, no dedicated practice, and certainly no magical touch from the guru or transformative transmission from a tradition. In short, truth is not transferable. Shunyata is perhaps the ultimate exponent of this view—by which, I mean, of course, non-exponent of this non-view. But Toni Packer runs him a close second. Like him, she makes very few claims (though it would be difficult to say less than he did) and this is what makes her distinctive.

She was born in Germany in 1927. Her mother was Jewish and the family lived in constant fear throughout the Nazi period. In fact, all the children were baptized as Lutherans in an attempt to avoid anti-semitism. Her family's unease, the hysteria of Nazism and the upheaval caused by bombing raids during the war—none of these made for a happy childhood. She was ¦wracked by guilt (without knowing why) and was plagued by the question, 'What is the meaning of life?'

After the war, the family moved to Switzerland, where she met an American student, got married and went back to the States with him in 1951. Then in 1965, after nearly 15 years of so-called ordinary life, bringing up their adopted son, she discovered The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau—the first book written by a Westerner who had actually practised Zen regularly over a period of years. (Others had also practised but they hadn't written any books.) It contained a description of zazen and Toni started doing it. Then she found out that Kapleau's centre was just down the road in Rochester. She went to see him and became his student. (All this early biographical information is taken from Friedman—both her own book and her Introduction to Toni's The Work of This Moment).

Kapleaus story can be found in his entry. All that we need to know here is that he had spent over a decade in Japan and therefore knew the tradition very well—or at least that form of it represented by Harada Roshi and Yasutani Roshi, his main teachers; that he was sent back to America to teach by Yasutani Roshi; that he introduced various changes into the tradition; that Yasutani Roshi did not agree with them; and that as a result, Kapleau reluctantly decided that he had to continue on his own without his teacher's blessing. This break occurred in 1967 just as Toni began practising under Kapleaus guidance.

I think it is fair to say that she was his star pupil. Not that she wanted to shine particularly but she just seemed to have a natural affinity for Zen practice. Within a few years, she was counselling other students about their personal problems—at Kapleaus request—and also giving public talks. Then she began to teach Zen at the Center, mainly when Kapleau was away. In 1975, he told her that he was thinking of retiring soon—he was 63—and that when he did, he would like her to take over at Rochester Zen Center. She did not really want the job but the nature of the tradition as she understood it at the time led her to think that it would be selfish to refuse. So she said she would.

Over the years, however, she had been having some difficulties with the way Zen was presented—not particularly by Kapleau himself, though that was part of it, but the whole tradition. To a large extent her questioning attitude, if not actually started, was at least reinforced, by her reading of Krishnamurti. (It was Kapleau who first lent her a book that referred to him.) Later, she attended several of his talks but never met him. And, as she herself is careful to point out, it is misleading to say that she was influenced by him.

It is not a matter of influence at all, but simply a matter of seeing clearly for oneself, what is pointed out clearly. This is freedom from influence. (Sidor, 26)

In any event, her doubts about Zen gradually deepened. For example, she found most of the texts unnecessarily inaccessible; she actually preferred a passage in Evans-Wentz's Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines. Why could one not use a Tibetan text if it was useful? She also began to question other aspects of what might be called formal Zen life: bowing, chanting, the keisaku (the hitting stick used to stop students' minds wandering during zazen), the rakusu (a sort of loose vest awarded to students who had passed the initial stages of koan study). Were they being employed in the right way? Did they not encourage dependence and hierarchy? Were they actually necessary?

In the end, after much heart-searching, she saw that she would have to leave the Center, and Kapleau. altogether, not only because the Zen tradition was making her search for Truth more difficult—"the system is very supportive to not questioning some things" (Friedman, 52)—but because she was beginning to doubt if there was even any value in calling herself a Buddhist. Kapleau was reluctant to let her go but could see that there was no point in trying to stop her. In a conversation I had with him in 1990, nearly ten years after the two of them parted company, he affirmed his high regard for her.

At the beginning of 1982, she left Rochester Zen Center and set up a centre of her own in another part of the town, taking 200 students with her. To begin with, she retained quite a few Zen elements. Her first book, Seeing Without Knowing, was subtitled, Writing on Zen Work, and she kept zazen and the use of koans. But her approach was always much more open than Kapleau's. Koans were chosen by the students, not simply handed out by her from the traditional stock; for example, 'What is love, really?' (taken by someone who had been through a number of affairs).

But even in this book, she was already divesting herself of all Zen connections.

Although Zen has come down to us as one of the many forms of Buddhist meditation, it is also independent of this traditional context. Zen is the mind that understands itself clearly and -wholly from instant to instant. It is the clarity of seeing wholly—seeing and responding freely without the limitations of self.1 It is the emptiness of no-division, and the effortless functioning of wisdom, love and compassion. 'Zen' is also used to denote the work of looking into oneself: the action of listening, attending, questioning carefully, profoundly, and discovering truth—which cannot be grasped, explained or expressed through thoughts, words, images or symbols of any kind. (Seeing Without Knowing, 8)

In 1984, she told a conference on 'Women and Buddhism in America' that

I don't call this work 'Zen' anymore, because the word is extra, unnecessary to the inquiry. {The Work of This Moment, 50; Sidor, 27)

In the same year, Toni and her group moved to 284 acres of untouched land near Springwater, a small town in New York state, and built their own centre. They called it, quite simply, The Springwater Center. It seemed to indicate what they wanted to say with the minimum of fuss.

Toni's central teaching is really a question:

Do we realize that we do not attend most of the time—that we are lost unawares in memories, thoughts, reactions, dialogues and endless personal problems?

Can we wake up from this sleeping and dreaming? Can we face ourselves as we are, and everyone and everything as it actually is with open eyes and ears—with an unclouded, compassionate heart and mind? (Seeing Without Knowing, 10)

Elsewhere she says:

This 'me', this 'self, this I', is the accretion of all our past experiences and the memory traces these have left in the brain. It is a bundle of ideas, images and memories we have accumulated about ourselves; images of what we are, what we are not, what we should or should not be, what we want to become . . .

An untiring struggle goes on to live up to the images we have of ourselves, no matter how painful the conflict that arises between the way we want to see ourselves (and want others to see us) and the way we actually are at any one instant. This perpetual dwelling in images, with its inherent struggles and conflict, keeps us out of touch with the actual flow of life instant by instant, and divides and separates us from one another. (Seeing Without Knowing, 14)

She calls the process of finding out 'questioning', 'meditative inquiry', 'meditation'. One of the great attractions of this approach is that it is completely unpressurized. The question really is simple: Can one listen "to all that is going on, inside and out, without judgement?"

You might say, "Wait . . . wait a minute. That's impossible . . . that's too difficult." But we're questioning whether it is possible. We're not saying, "Do it!" (What Is Meditative Inquiry?, 2)

And by extension, this lack of pressure—which is really a freedom from wanting or obsession—can be applied to issues that weigh down many of us, issues like the senselessness of war, torture, cruelty.

What we are doing right now is meditative inquiry, inquiring into the problems that affect all human beings throughout the world. Can this inquiry be free from conclusions, from already knowing what these problems are, what the solutions are, or that they're insoluble . . . ? (ibid., 6)

In other words, staying with the question is the real discipline—not finding the answer. (The answer is a function of the way in which the question is asked.)

So Toni does not hold any particular view or advocate any specific solutions. For example, she asked Leonore Friedman, who is a student of hers (though perhaps 'listener' would be a better word), why she wanted to join a Buddhist Peace Fellowship. "This is still reaching out from within our small boundary lines" (The Work of This Moment, 37). And when Friedman, clearly somewhat taken aback, asked if Toni thought that there was actually a danger in founding such a Fellowship, Toni replied,

Yes, to the extent that this reinforces, supports, or in any way maintains my identity of being 'this' in distinction to 'that'. All such self-images separate and divide. (The Work of This Moment, 38)

In short, the realization of emptiness, of no-self, allows the spontaneous arising of compassion.

When all walls break down, there is a totally new freedom—a boundless energy which is whole—a loving care for all living beings and things of the earth. (Seeing Without Knowing, 20)

This has been the ideal of Buddhism since the very beginning, and it is now being restated, independently, by a German-American woman in New York state with the minimum of fuss and technical terminology. She told me in an interview that she regards herself as a catalyst. She has the capacity to 'see' and may be able to communicate this to other people. But she does not know if there is a causal relation between her seeing and that of others. (This could be Krishnamurti talking.)

Toni encourages all and every sort of question—there is no dogma to conform to—including those that are critical of her. The Work of This Moment includes a letter from somebody who decided to stop working with her. This person wanted to practice within a Buddhist framework and felt that what Toni was offering was Buddhist although Toni herself said that it was not. So she or he asked Toni, "What is the context within which you teach awareness work? For example, I would really like to know whether you experience these things to be true: the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the precepts, the nature of form and emptiness as expressed in the Heart Sutra." Toni's answer is consistent with her principle of meditative inquiry.

You ask: "What is the context within which you teach awareness work?" Awareness cannot be taught, and when it is present it has no context. All contexts are created by thought and are therefore corruptible by thought. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever.

You want to know whether I experience the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the precepts, the nature of form and emptiness as expressed in the Heart Sutra, as true. No formulations, no matter how clear or noble, are the Truth. Truth is inexpressible in symbols . . .

I may be wrong, but human beings communicate, commune with each other freely and lovingly only when the mind is not anchored in any system whatsoever— when there is coming together empty-handedly. {The Work of This Moment, 29)

Not many teachers say that they could be wrong. The implication of what she says here is that she is empty-handed. So there is nothing to hide and no great claims are being made about anybody's attainment. There are no demands and no promises, and therefore no one to blame if it does not work out. Who said it should work out, anyway?"

[Quelle: Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 472 - 476]


Abb.: Maurine Stuart

Nakagawa Soen Roshi (1908-1983) macht Maurine Stuart (1922 - 1990) zum Roshi

"Maurine Stuart (who was for many years known by her married name of Freedgood) was an unusual teacher in a number of ways. She was a Rinzai roshi who never went to Japan—appointed in a private ceremony in America by Nakagawa Soen Roshi, renowned for his eccentricity (and I use the word in the best possible sense). She was taught by two other well-known Japanese roshis, Yasutani and Eido (sometimes known as Shimano), but parted company with both of them: Yasutani, excellent as he was, because she found his methods too fierce; Eido, because his attitudes towards women ultimately proved unacceptable to her. Yet she was far from being an exclusively feminist Zen teacher.

She was born in Canada in 1922 but married an American and lived in the States for 40 years. She was trained as a pianist and was a good one, too. It was while she was in Paris in 1949, studying under Nadia Boulanger, that she came across Zen for the first time; but it was not until 1965, when she had three children aged nine, seven, and four, that she started practicing Zen in 1965—at the Zen Studies Society in New York, where she and her family were living. The resident priest was Tai Shimano Sensei (later Eido Roshi or Shimano Roshi). Stuart began practicing with him right away, and soon after with his two main teachers, Yasutani Roshi and Nakagawa Soen Roshi.

In 1970, the family moved to Massachusetts, where she met up with Elsie Mitchell. She began teaching at the Chestnut Hill Zendo (actually her home in Newton, Massachusetts) in 1972 and succeeded Mitchell as president of the Cambridge Buddhist Association in 1979. Meanwhile, she had been ordained as a Rinzai priest (again, the term is inaccurate) by Eido Roshi in 1977. Yet within a few years, she had broken with him because of his poor treatment of women. The specific cause of the rift was his exclusion of women from intensive practice at Dai Bosatsu but his earlier sexual liaisons with women students, which Stuart regarded as exploitive, were a contributing factor (Tworkov, 190, 192). But she continued as a student of Soen Roshi, for whom she has nothing but praise, and he made her a roshi in 1982. Some of her students refer to her as 'ma roshi or 'mother roshi (Friedman, 77).

This transmission has a somewhat ambiguous status—and therefore so has Stuart. Soen Roshi gave Dharma transmission to five Japanese men (including Eido Roshi) but his ceremony with Stuart was informal and not recorded as the appointment of a Dharma heir in Japan (Tworkov, 155-56); consequently, Stuart did not refer to herself as a Dharma heir or lineage holder (Tworkov, 182). The use of the title 'Roshi' is largely a matter of convention and is not rigorously defined. Some elderly, respected and long-serving priests are called Roshi' even though they have never received Dharma transmission; but by and large, all Dharma heirs would be entitled to use the title. Clearly (if paradoxically), Stuart was in an anomalous position since, although she was of a 'respected' age, she could hardly be called a long-serving practitioner, and her appointment as Soen Roshi's Dharma heir was decidedly not in accordance with convention. Not surprisingly, therefore, there are those who do not regard her as a genuine roshi (Tworkov, 156).

Stuart herself, however, was happy to use the title. She makes a distinction between what she calls horizontal and vertical transmission: the first is just between teacher and student, the second is a matter of genealogies or lineages (Tworkov, 156). To put it another way, horizontal transmission is essentially personal, inner, and spiritual, while vertical transmission is social, outer and official. Stuart's own sympathies are naturally with the first:

Zen trying to define itself is not Zen. Zen must be flexible, must respond to time, place and circumstance. In Japan, dharma transmission became too concerned with status, with real estate, and with temple properties. True transmission is about recognizing the spirit, not the totem. (Tworkov, 156-57)

In the light of these remarks, it comes as no surprise that Stuart Roshi's teaching is itself somewhat unorthodox—though in a gentle way. A good example is her use of music—classical Western music. She used it as an expression of Zen herself—"I always say to people, 'I don't do calligraphy but come up to my house, and I'll play a prelude and fugue for you'" (Boucher, 196)—and in at least one instance assigned a number of Bach pieces from The Well-tempered Clavier as koans to a pupil, a pianist who would bring them to be 'assessed' at dokusan (the formal interview between master and pupil).

It was not a piano lesson; she did not critique my playing. It was dokusan, because I presented my koan and she directed a few words at the essence of what was coming through my playing. So I went back and worked on my koan some more, and she passed me and assigned me another one.

She loves doing things that way. One reason I appreciate her so much as a teacher is the creativity and flexibility she brings to her vision of Zen practice. (Boucher, 204)

In addition to being president of the Cambridge Buddhist Association (which is non-sectarian, though actually strongly orientated towards Zen), she was on the board of Ahimsa, an organization that funds animal protection. Yet she has little regard for institutions. She has no particular interest in monastic practice despite the fact that the Rinzai tradition rests foursquare on it: all Rinzai priests and roshis are celibate. She even has strong reservations about residential courses—because they tend to foster an exclusive attitude to society at large, which is essentially immature (Tworkov, 165). On the other hand, she has full confidence in what might be called the spiritual devices of Rinzai: dokusan and sesshin (a period of intense practice under the guidance of a teacher). Yet even here, she is gently unorthodox: she would sometimes massage meditators' shoulders during zazen rather than using the keikasu (the stick that is traditionally used to strike people's shoulders in order to focus their attention) (Tworkov, 196).

Is this Zen? Is it Japanese? These are the age-old questions that are always asked when a tradition crosses cultural boundaries. (For Zen' read 'Theravada', 'Vedanta', 'Sufism'; for 'Japanese' read 'Indian', Tibetan', 'Persian'.) Stuart Roshi's answer is that these questions—not the answers, the questions—cannot be properly understood without inner knowledge: that is, a touchstone within oneself that enables such questions to be asked from the heart and not out of neurosis. As a woman roshi, she led sesshins for women only. But this was purely a matter of pragmatics and not of principle. Zen is not concerned with gender—just as it is nor concerned with titles or lineages—and she did not consider that being a woman roshi was particularly significant (Friedman, 66, 83); and this, despite the fact that they are very rare and that she was the only one in the Western Rinzai tradition. She had little time for what might be called chauvinistic Zen feminism, which bewails the restrictions of patriarchy; rather, she emphasized what women can do in Zen (Tworkov, 157).

So the essential questions are not 'Why is Zen patriarchal? Can women be taught by men?' but 'Who teaches you? How am I taught?'—and by extension, 'What does it mean to be a teacher? What does "transmission" mean?' (Tworkov, 192). And the answer to these questions is to be found in what Nakagawa Soen Roshi called "this open-hearted, not-knowing, giving-up-your-self practice" (Sidor, 16) which has come to be called Zen. "No matter how lofty the teacher," Stuart says (following Soen), "in so far as that presence is outside of us, it's not real. It's not our own treasure" (Sidor, 15).

This is a deep teaching and until recently was being offered by an Canadian woman in her sixties (she died in 1990), who had been recognized by Japanese teachers but had never been to Japan. But then Zen isn't really Japanese at all but "the essential matter of every human being wherever you live " (Friedman, 72)."

[Quelle. Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 537 - 539.]


Abb.: Orlando Cepeda

Baseball-Star Orlando Cepeda (1937 - ) wird Mitglied von Soka Gakkai

"Orlando Cepeda (born September 17, 1937) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman and right-handed batter who played with the San Francisco Giants (1958-66), St. Louis Cardinals (1966-67), Atlanta Braves (1969-72), Oakland Athletics (1972), Boston Red Sox (1973) and Kansas City Royals (1974).

Cepeda was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. His father, slugger Pedro Cepeda, was a baseball legend in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Some called Cepeda the Babe Ruth of Latin America. Pedro's nicknames were Perucho and The Bull. Orlando became known as Peruchin and Little Bull.

In his first season in 1958, Cepeda batted .312 with 25 home runs and 96 runs RBI, led the National League in doubles (38), and was named Rookie of the Year. In 1967, he was named the National League MVP by hitting .325 and driving in 111 RBIs. The Cardinals won the pennant that year and then went on to become World Champions by beating the Red Sox.

Cepeda was a 7-time All-Star (1959-64. 1967). He retired in 1975 after hitting a .297 BA with 379 homers and 1365 RBI in 17 seasons.

Cepeda faced problems with drugs during his playing career, specially during the period he was with the Giants. This, in turn, caused him to have an extremely difficult time getting voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. By the early 1990s, when his time of eligibility was beginning to run out, many Puerto Ricans, commons and celebrities alike, began to campaign for his induction. Many of his backers alleged that other members of the Hall of Fame had done things equal or worse than drug use and were still inducted. Some international celebrities, former teammates and others also joined in the campaign to have Cepeda elected. In 1996, his last year of eligibility by voting, he came within two votes of becoming elected. Finally, in 1999, he was elected by the Hall's Veterans Committee, joining along with Roberto Clemente as the only other Puerto Rican in Cooperstown.

Cepeda was recognized nationally for his humanitarian efforts as an ambassador for baseball. He served as an honorary spokesman for the Crohn's and Colitis foundation of America, and participated in Athletes against AIDS."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-10]


Es wird bekannt, dass Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi (1931-1995) eine Sexaffäre mit Sensei Jan Cozen Bays hat.

"Bays started practising with Maezumi Roshi at the Zen Center of Los Angeles in 1973. She took the precepts in 1975 and was ordained in 1979—while continuing to bring up her three children. She had an intense drive to practice as fully as possible in the traditional way; and Maezumi recognized this and was willing to adapt the tradition to suit her circumstances. (If he hadn't, she would have had to have waited until her children were grown up and independent—which is what mothers do in Japan.) She became his fourth Dharma heir in 1983.

But in this same year, it became known that she and Maezumi had been having an affair (though I don't know how long this had been going on). Naturally, this shocked a lot of people. Bays's explanation of it is that she and Maezumi had become so intimate, spiritually and psychically, that it seemed a small step for their relationship to become sexual as well.

In serious Zen study, the teacher and student meet alone in the interview room several times a week for ten years or more, in the most intense and intimate study imaginable . . . The teacher continually strips away anything the student is clinging to, using any technique that works. The process is frightening, exhilarating, frustrating, horrible, and wonderful. The student and teacher become extremely close during this process, like people who have been through a war together. I think it's no ¦wonder that this closeness sometimes takes a physical form, not that it should, but it does. (Boucher, 216-17)

In fact, she says, the sexual aspect was very minor. "It was a very profound . . . relationship. And it taught me a lot about love" (Boucher, 218). It seems evident, therefore, that she does not regard the affair in itself as having been harmful to her spiritual life, and she still regards Maezumi as her teacher. (Barbara Rhodes says much the same thing under much the same circumstances.)1

As a result of the difficulties that arose in ZCLA after her relationship with Maezumi became public, she moved to Oregon (in 1984) and lived very quietly with her family. To begin with, she did not teach at all but she is now leader of a small group in Portland, which is described as "traditionally, but not officially, associated with ZCLA" (D. Morreale, Buddhist America: Centers, Retreats, Practices [Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1988], p. 169). Her teaching is low-key and exploratory. We have many different roles—woman, mother, meditator—but they are all changing. Relatively speaking, all these parts are us; but from the absolute point of view, none of them are. None can be denied (which we sometimes do by rejecting those roles that we don't like); but none of them define us, either (which it is easy to forget). So what is the solution? Don't hold on and don't exclude—the Buddha's middle way practised in the midst of everyday life (Sidor, 36).

1 And it should be pointed out that, despite this incident and Maezumi Roshi's occasional yet heavy drinking, all his Dharma heirs (with the exception of Joko Beck) have stood by him, even though they are critical of his behaviour. There is an important principle here—namely, that someone can be a great giver and still have great weaknesses.

[Quelle: Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 179]


Abb.: Charlotte Joko Beck / von ©Mary Lu Brandwein
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30]

Charlotte Joko Beck (1917 - ) verlässt Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi 's (1931-1995) Zen Center of Los Angeles und gründet das Zen Center of San Diego

"Charlotte Beck was in her 40s, when, in 1965, she attended a talk at the San Diego Unitarian Church given by Taisen Maezumi (then a sensei but later a roshi) from the Zen Center of Los Angeles. She was struck by what she calls his imperturbability and began to practice with him. She also practiced with Yasutani Roshi in northern California and with Nakagawa Soen Roshi, with whom she passed the koan Mu (though I don't know when) (Friedman, 117). In 1978, after more than a decade's practice, she became Maezumi Roshi's third Dharma heir. (Bernard Glassman and Dennis Merzel were the first two.) In 1983, she left ZCLA and started her own centre in San Diego. This was at the same time that it became known that Maezumi had had a number of affairs with female students and had also entered a dry-out clinic for alcoholics, and though she never mentions these incidents, they can hardly have been irrelevant to her decision to function as an independent teacher.

Both Beck's teaching and her teaching style are concerned with the everyday rather than the special (since the two are not essentially separate). She uses no Zen title and gave up wearing robes in 1984. She describes Dharma transmission as "no big deal" (Friedman, 118) and is doubtful of the significance of intense practice and intense experience. Her understanding of koan practice, for example, is very untraditional: that it is the student's re-creation, for the teacher, of moments of his life, but in such a way that the student can see through the ego structure that bound him to those moments.

I think it started out this way before it became a very formalized and almost dead system . . . Mu is simply this life itself, right here, right now ... As [the student] wrestles and struggles with the koan, he journeys through all parts of himself in attempting to solve it. And for some people this works. But more and more when I hear stories about the ancient monasteries, I wonder. They had a thousand monks sometimes, you hear about the star who 'did it'—but they don't tell you much about the other 999. I'm sure a lot of them didn't know what on earth they were doing . . . Now, my students pass Mu too, but a lot of them have never even heard the word! And still they pass it. (Friedman, 128, 115)

Nothing is sacred—meaning that nothing should be left unexamined. And that includes the teacher. We may need a teacher's greater experience but that is not the same thing as blind faith that the teacher knows something that we do not. This kind of idealization is actually sentimentality and "spells trouble for everyone—it's always up to us" (Friedman. 125). Similarly, she is quite prepared to make use of non-Zen practices like vipassana if she thinks it will help a student. And she approved of the replacement of a Buddha statue on the altar with a piece of uncut stone that only vaguely suggests a Buddha figure. Why? Because the change arose out of truly looking at what helps, and what does not help, practice—and by that she means experiencing life directly, with nothing taken away and nothing added. Attachment to tradition or to innovation for their own sake is actually contrary to this basic practice—which is why both strategies have to be abandoned. But then all 'life strategies' have to be abandoned because they are unnecessary and don't work. What might be called 'Zen strategies' are no exception to this."

[Quelle: Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 180f.]


Abb.: Gisela Midwer alias Prabhasa Dharma

Gisela Midwer (alias Prabhasa Dharma) (1931 - 1999) verlässt Joshu Kyozan Denkyo-Shitsu Sasaki Roshi  (1907 - ) und die Rinzai-Tradiion und schließt sich Dr Thich Man Giac (1929 - ) von den United Vietnamese Buddhist Churches in America an.

Sie ist die Gründerin des International Zen Institute of America and Europe

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30

"Gisela Midwer was born in Germany in 1931 but has lived in America since the mid-1960s. She was a painter before she became a Buddhist, and in 1964 had a number of spontaneous experiences of a "vast openness [that] was I, myself"  (Friedman, 229) while living (and painting) with her American husband in California. She became interested in Zen and started to practice with the Rinzai teacher, Joshu Sasaki Roshi (not to be confused with Shigetsu Sasaki/Sokei-an) in Los Angeles in 1967, immediately experiencing this same vast openness. She worked hard for five years, seeing her teacher every day. One morning, she 'lost' her koan:

I was sitting and it just went away. Suddenly I felt drawn into this immense radiant energy inside my abdomen, which started rising and spread throughout my body. I felt as if the sun were inside of me, not outside. So when the bell rang, I went to his room and said I had no answer. I was radiating warm feeling. He said, 'Now you are illuminating'. (Friedman, 235)

Sasaki Roshi ordained her as a teacher in 1972, giving her the name, Gesshin Myoko, and she became head priest of his Cimarron Center in Los Angeles. She subsequently spent a year and a half training in Japan with Hirata Roshi.

Yet in 1983 she left Sasaki Roshi and the Japanese Rinzai tradition and went over to Ven. Dr. Thich Man Giac, Supreme Abbot of the United Vietnamese Buddhist Churches in America. The reason for this was twofold.

  1. First, despite her acknowledged debt to Sasaki Roshi, it appears that he overstepped the boundary that should protect the teacher-student relationship. At a meeting of women Buddhists in Rhode Island in 1985, a questioner mentioned the difficulties that women have because of "direct and indirect abuse" by male teachers. In her reply, Gesshin Prabhasa Dharma said that "I went through that myself (Sidor, 65).
  2. Secondly, she came to doubt whether Rinzai s high-pressure approach is appropriate to Westerners, especially women and older people. She herself trained as if she was a man, with no concessions; but she found that she could not be comfortable in such circumstances (Sidor, 22).

Given these reasons for Gesshin Prabhasa Dharma's crossover from one Buddhist lineage to another, it is interesting to see what her own teaching is. She incorporates Soto and Pure Land elements in her teaching, as well as yoga (Friedman, 240). In effect, she has aligned herself with a tradition that is accommodating and open, and rejected one that is that she finds too unyielding. If one can find a tradition that is supportive—fine; but Zen is essentially free and not dependent on tradition. Or as she herself says, tradition is useful but not primary.

It's not a matter of transmitting teachings, but of working unbounded, unhindered, free from traditions, directly with whatever you have. That is the essence of Zen— the awakening of Buddha-nature directly, heart to heart. (Friedman, 239)

Elsewhere, she points out that in America, all the models—monk or lay, hierarchy or democracy—are mixed up: a unique situation (Sidor, 72). And her advice is that American Buddhism should forget both the old and the new; that "tradition comes from breaking traditions" (Sidor, 20). Perhaps a new tradition of what she calls the Total Person will emerge: "the transcendental personality . . . who relies only on Dharma . . . the underlying principle of emptiness" (Sidor, 59).

This, of course, is the central teaching of the Mahayana—and some would say, of all Buddhism. And it is also what Gesshin Prabhasa Dharma herself has experienced. It is natural, therefore, that she should teach that it is equally available to all, men and women. She is adamant that women are capable of the highest attainment and rejects the view that the Buddha placed special restrictions on women because they are in any way weaker than men; on the contrary, these rules were imposed because it is men who are weak. "I have personally investigated this matter by way of meditation, and I don't think the Buddha could have said anything that would have been discriminatory against women" (Sidor, 40).

It is within this free Zen, which acknowledges tradition but is not tied to it, which is simultaneously direct and open, that Gesshin Prabhasa Dharma has her place. In 1985, she received Dharma Mind Seal transmission from Ven. Dr. Thich Man Giac and received her present name and title. She is currently spiritual leader of the International Zen Institute of America in Los Angeles (which she founded in 1983). In that same year (1983), Dr. Thich Man Giac wrote a poem about her:

THE ZEN MASTER to Gesshin Myoko
the Master walks down the road
the oversized robe carries only compassion
time has no hold on her
who fills the night with laughter, (quoted in Friedman, 243)

At the moment, Vietnamese Zen is fairly culture-bound and has not attracted many Western practitioners—at least compared with Japanese Zen. Gesshin Prabhasa Dharma was one of the first—and she has become one of the first Westerners appointed as a teacher within the tradition. There will be more."

[Quelle: Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 478 - 480.]


Gründung des Zen Mountain Monastery Prison Program

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-23

"The Zen Mountain Monastery Prison Program began in 1984 with the request of a NY State prison inmate to start a practice group within the prison. This resulted in a court battle that reached the NY State Supreme Court and resulted in the formation of the first Zen practice group in the NY State Correctional Facilities. Since that time Zen Mountain Monastery has been actively involved in working with Buddhist inmates both within New York State and across the U.S.

Activities include weekly visits to several prisons by senior ZMM monastic and lay students who lead prison sanghas in meditation, liturgy, and dharma talks. Periodic intensive meditation retreats are also led by volunteers. Receiving of the precepts, weddings, Dharma Combat, face-to-face teaching and memorial services now take place on a routine basis within the Buddhist prison sanghas. As a result Zen Mountain Monastery was asked to function as an advisor on Buddhist activities for the New York State Corrections system as part of a religious advisory group that reports to the commissioner of prisons. The Monastery has thus also been active in helping to establish Buddhist practice groups at several other state facilities.

In addition, many more inmates across the country are supported in their Zen practice on an ongoing basis through correspondence, as well as by donated dharma books and audio tapes. Beginning with a scattered handful of inmates writing letters to the Monastery asking for guidance in their practice, this correspondence program has grown tremendously over the years.

In response to this growth, ZMM has initiated the National Buddhist Prison Sangha (NBPS), a nationwide network of Buddhist volunteers who make themselves available to interested inmates in their area. Depending on their experience with practice, as well as their time and personal resources, these volunteers may provide support through correspondence, visits, the creation and leading of practice groups, and more. The Monastery provides orientation and guidance when necessary."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-23]

um 1985

Abb.: Frederik P. Lenz
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21]

Frederick Lenz (1950 - 1998), bisher Atmananda (Sri Chinmoy Anhänger), nennt sich Zen Master Rama

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-09

"Rama (a.k.a. Frederick Lenz 1950-1998)

Zen Master Rama was Frederick P. Lenz, Ph.D. (in English literature) and businessman (Advanced Systems, Inc.). Lenz parlayed his knowledge of Hinduism and Buddhism into a cult. In the early 1980s he started calling himself after Rama, the last incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu. He started giving seminars in 1982 in Malibu, California. Eventually, thousands of people would pay as much as $5,000 per seminar to be enlightened by this self-proclaimed guru, psychic, and miracle worker. Here is what one of his followers said he learned from his master: "Spiritually advanced people work with computers because it makes a lot of money. The more money you make, the better you meditate" (Clark and Gallo 1993, 102).

Rama used a variety of so-called mind-control techniques to seduce his disciples. He had his subjects stare at him for long hours until they would hallucinate and "see" Lenz begin to glow or change shapes. Lenz told his followers that having these "visions" meant they were psychic.

Rama seduced many of his female followers by telling them that he only has sex with women who have a rare sort of karma. He also told women that having sex with him would elevate them to a higher plane of consciousness. It is hard for a skeptic to believe that such a line would work with any woman, but apparently it does.

Rama took religious freedom and tantric gullibility to new heights in his book Surfing the Himalayas: A Spiritual Adventure (1997). There he tells us of his adventures "snowboarding through Tantric myetiolem" and offers such bits of wisdom as

Ultimately, thinking is a very inefficient method of processing data...


The relational way of doing things is to move your mind to a fourth condition, a condition of heightened awareness. In a condition of heightened awareness, you elevate your conscious mind above the stream of extraneous data -- out of dimensional time and space, so to speak -- and you meld your mind instead with the pure intelligent consciousness of the universe.

Bob Frankenberg, Chairman and CEO of Novell, claims the book "entertains and enlightens" and calls it "a wonderful contrast of Eastern spirituality and Western pragmatism." Phil Jackson, coach of the Chicago Bulls, said the book "Brings levity and humor to a subject often relegated to a mundane, boring prospect." The book became a best-seller. Within a year Rama published another cult classic: Snowboarding to Nirvana.

Unfortunately, all his Tantric wisdom couldn't save him and the day before taxes were due in 1998, Rama drowned in Conscience Bay near his residence in the exclusive Old Field section of Setauket on Long Island, New York. Rumor has it that he was stoned when he fell off the dock. An unidentified woman described by police as ''incoherent'' was found to be in  Lenz's house at the time his body was recovered by police divers. Lenz was 48 at the time of his death. Cult expert Joe Szimbart claims that Lenz was suffering from liver cancer and committed suicide by overdosing on Phenobarbital (Skeptical Inquirer, July/August 1998). The Suffolk County Medical Examiner's office said it was Valium. Either way, Rama snowboards with the fishes."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-09]


Abb.: Reb Anderson, Kalligraphie seines Namens
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30]

Nach den Skandalen um Richard Baker Roshi wird Roshi Reb Anderson (1943 - ) Abt des San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC).

Webpräsenz von Reb Anderson: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30

"Anderson had been a student of Shunryu Suzuki but was given Dharma transmission by Richard Baker, Suzuki Roshi's successor. After Baker left the San Francisco Zen Center/SFZC (see his entry), there was an understandable uncertainty about how to proceed. But eventually, in 1986, Anderson was appointed as abbot—with the approval of the Soto headquarters in Japan.

Within a year, however, Anderson had also offered his resignation in somewhat bizarre circumstances. He was arrested and charged with brandishing a pistol in public, which is technically a misdemeanour in Californian law. He had come across the pistol four years earlier next to the body of someone who had committed suicide in Golden Gate Park. He had meditated next to the body for three days before informing the police—but he had kept the pistol, which he had hidden in the Zen Center's garage. When he was held up at knife point in the garage late in 1987, he had taken the pistol and chased his assailant to a nearby housing project, whose inhabitants called the police (Vajradhatu Sun, vol. 9, no.l, October—November 1987).

There is no need to get this incident out of proportion but it does point to a number of factors that highlight the difficulties of trying to follow an Eastern path in a Western environment. Meditating on a corpse is an ancient Buddhist practice—but it arose in India, where disposal of bodies in the charnel grounds was a public matter. To carry out this practice with a suicide in a culture where death is anything but public is surely rather different. It may be necessary to resort to firearms on occasion in a rough section of San Francisco—an SFZC member was knifed to death not long before this incident with Anderson took place—but from the Buddhist point of view it is perhaps not a good idea to use a pistol that does not belong to you, nor to pursue your assailant down the street.

In the event, his resignation was not accepted and he has continued as abbot. When I spoke to him in 1991 he made a number of interesting observations concerning the development of Zen in the West and at SFZC in particular.
  1. First, like many others, he distinguishes between what might be called 'nominal' Dharma transmission and true realization—that is, between the formal procedures that define Dharma transmission and the insight into one's true nature (which is what the Dharma, and therefore Zen, is concerned with). In short, a title is no guarantee of attainment. Although he uses the title 'Roshi' himself, he would prefer it if all such titles (including 'Sensei') were dropped, because people become attached to them. At the moment, it would be unnecessarily provocative to refuse to use them. But if the majority of practitioners— Western practitioners, that is—agreed, they could simply be done away with.
  2. Needless to say, such a move would not go down very well in Japan. And this leads to the second point he made: that the Japanese tend to be far more interested in formality than the Americans. For example, the Soto authorities in Japan insist that a photograph of the cutting of the hair at the tokudo ceremony (which is miles away from Dharma transmission) be lodged at the their headquarters. This is simply a convention and has absolutely nothing to do with training; it makes little sense in America and is bound to be dropped sooner or later. In a somewhat similar vein, the Japanese Soto authorities refused to recognize Richard Baker's transmission from Suzuki Roshi, despite the fact that it was scrupulously carried out, because Baker did not go through the zuisse ceremony in Japan—another formality that has nothing to do with training. And while they have since accepted Mel Weitsman, Les Kaye, Bill Kwong, and Anderson himself as Dharma-heirs (see Lineage Tree 1 for the various lines of transmission), they did so only after they had gone through exactly the same ceremonies in Japan as they had been through in America. Yet they will not accept any of Anderson's own ordinations—which is illogical. This state of affairs, which is nothing more than cultural chauvinism (that's my phrase, not his), cannot continue. And if it does not change, Anderson foresees that American groups will simply branch out on their own.
  3. Thirdly, there are several new circumstances which have arisen in the West but which Japanese Soto hasn't the answers to. There is no provision for lay transmission, for example; the path begins with tokudo. Yet Anderson says that he has lay students who are as advanced as many who have taken tokudo. He isn't sure what to do about this. Yet at the same time, there is no monastic ordination in Soto (as there is in Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism). Students ask for it and it would make sense to give it if they are suited to that way of life— but the tradition simply does not have a place for it. And generally speaking, the situation in the West—or at least at SFZC—with lay people and priests, male and female, all practising together, while not exactly irregular, is certainly not according to the Japanese pattern. Yet the Japanese model, where all of these are kept separate or simply do not exist, is not much help. This is another reason why he expects SFZC to go its own way: the procedures have to be adapted to the circumstances.
  4. Lastly, there is a definite need for more openness and democracy in American Zen. The problems at SFZC and Naropa (for the second of which, see Osel Tendzin's entry), Anderson says, were largely because of the fact that the communities were isolated. In Japan and Tibet there would have been a whole variety of people who could have helped—other teachers and other communities of equal or greater status. And being part of the same culture is also significant; Japanese and Tibetan teachers are limited in how much they can help Americans because they do not understand American culture. And the Americans do not help themselves by deferring too much to Asian teachers instead of pointing out when their solutions are inappropriate. Now that the lines of communication have been opened up at SFZC, any problems that arise (such as Anderson's arrest) can be dealt with and the community doesn't suffer too much. Anderson hopes that eventually SFZC will accept that Richard Baker's time as abbot had its good side and that they will acknowledge him for it.

This is spoken like a good student—in the best sense of that term—and he must surely be right. Meanwhile, he has four Dharma-heirs of his own, three men (Ananda Dalenburg (he gave himself the name 'Ananda', which is decidedly non-Japanese, and Anderson accepted it), Zengyu Discoe and Chikudo Peterson) and a woman (Sobun Thanas). Of these, only Thanas had a temple (in Santa Cruz) in 1991 (when I interviewed Anderson).

It appears, then, that Dharma transmission has taken root in America. (See Lineage Tree 1 again for the various lines.) Despite the rich soil provided by Shunryu Suzuki, it has had its difficulties and has not always grown directly towards the light. True, it is something of a hybrid—but hybrids are often the most vigorous species. No doubt it will bring forth its own fragrance.

Stop Press: Just as I was finishing this entry, I learned that Anderson had stopped being abbot at SFZC. As I understand it, this was not for any particular reason but simply because the community does not want anyone to become too much of a fixture. He was succeeded by two Dharma-heirs of Mel Weitsman: Blanche Shunpo Hartman and Norman Zoketsu Fischer."

[Quelle: Rawlinson, Andrew <1943 - >: The book of enlightened masters : western teachers in eastern traditions. -- Chicago : Open Court, ©1997.  -- xix, 650 S. : Ill. ; 25 cm..  -- ISBN: 0812693108. -- S. 162 - 164]


Das Buddhist Churches of America Ntional Council fast folgenden Beschluss zum Schulgebet:

"Prayer, the key religious component, is not applicable in Jodo Shin Buddhism which does not prescribe to a Supreme Being or God (as defined in the Judeo-Christian tradition) to petition or solicit; and allowing any form of prayer in schools and public institutions would create a state sanction of a type of religion which believes in prayer and 'The Supreme Being,' would have the effect of establishing a national religion and, therefore, would be an assault on the religious freedom of Buddhists."

[Zitiert in: Eck, Diana L.: A new religious America : how a "Christian country" has now become the world's most religiously diverse nation. -- [San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, ©2001.  -- xii, 404 p. ; 25 cm. -- ISBN 0060621591. -- S. 152. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch bei bestellen}]


Abb.: Haneda Nobuo
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-10]

Haneda Nobuo vom Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, CA äußert sich zur Zukunft des Shin-Buddhismus in Amerika folgendermaßen:

"Haneda Nobuo: The Future of Shin Buddhism in America

Haneda Nobuo is an important scholar and conveyor of Shin Buddhism to the West who works for the Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, California.

We see - or at least we hope to see - three forms of Shinshu Buddhism in America.
  1. Japanese Shinshu (i.e., the Buddhism of the issei, which uses the Japanese language.)
  2. Japanese-American Shinshu (i.e., the Buddhism of the nisei, which uses both Japanese and English.)
  3. American Shinshu (i.e., the Buddhism of the sansei and of some other Americans, which uses English.)

At present (1989), the sansei's average age is nearing forty. This means that we are moving from stage (2) to stage (3).

Although Shinshu temples in America need to make radical changes in the way they present the Shinshu, they still preserve the Buddhism of stage (1). For example, sutras are chanted in classical Japanese in spite of the fact that most of the congregation don't understand what they mean. In consequence, the sansei are turning their backs on Buddhist temples. Thus Buddhist temples are in a serious institutional crisis. Two forms of Shinshu Buddhism already exist in America. But can (3) American Shinshu exist here? Many people are asking this question.

Generally speaking, the religious activities of Shinshu temples in America fall into two categories:

  1. Funeral ceremonies, memorial services
  2. Educational activities such as studying Shinran Shonin's teaching

At present, the main function of the temple is performing (a); (b) constitutes only a very small part of temple activities. Although (a), which is based on the cult of ancestor worship, is important for the issei and the nisei, it has little meaning for the sansei. Interracial marriages are coming among the sansei; they are part of the American mainstream. For mainstream Americans, the main function of a religious institution is not performing rituals for the dead, but teaching a religion which is meaningful to their lives.

So whether there can be an American Shinshu depends solely on whether Shinshu temples can outgrow their 'funeral home' function and become educational institutions. The Shinshu Buddhism which has been imported from Japan must be critically scrutinized; its ethnic elements (which have meaning only for the Japanese) must be differentiated from its universal elements (which have meaning for everyone).

Abb.: Manshi Kiozawa

While interest in (a) is waning, interest in (b) is gradually increasing. A number of people have started to investigate the universal meaning of the Shinshu from both a religious and an academic standpoint. This makes me think of the importance of Rev. Manshi Kiyozawa (1863-1903), a famous Shinshu teacher. He considered the universal question 'What am I?' the central issue in the Shinshu. His emphasis on the universality of the Shinshu exerted a considerable influence on many Buddhists in Meiji Japan. I believe that he will play an important role in American Buddhism.

Lastly, I wish to discuss what hinders the development of American Shinshu. We have certainly encountered various difficulties in introducing the Shinshu to a different culture. But in my opinion, the greatest hindrances do come, not from American culture, but from Japanese and Japanese-American attitudes. For example, the strong sectarianism which we see among Japanese Buddhists and the ethnocentric attitude towards Buddhism which we see among Japanese-Americans are great obstacles to the development of American Shinshu. Unless they are transcended, Shinshu will become a historical relic recorded on one page of Japanese-American history.

I believe the Shinshu as revitalized by Rev. Kiyozawa will keep on shedding its light in America. To be sure, the number of Shinshu temples will decrease. But I am not pessimistic. In a sense, this is a good process. It raises the crucial question, 'What is the real Shinshu?' In the future, lifeless elements in Japanese Shinshu will be abandoned and forgotten. But vital elements will take root in the new soil of America and keep on growing.

The historical challenge that we are now facing is enormous. We must grasp the essence of Shinshu: self-examination. It is deep understanding of the self that has universal meaning for everybody
in the world. If we truly bring Shinran Shonin's teaching into our lives, we can share it with other people.

The 5th World Dobo Convention (Higashi Honganji)"

[Quelle: Andreasen, Esben. Popular Buddhism in Japan: Shin Buddhist religion & culture. -- Honolulu : University of Hawai`i Press, ©1998.  -- xiv, 199 S. : Ill., map ; 24 cm.  -- ISBN: 0824820282. -- S. 171 - 173]


Es erscheint:

Kikuchi, Shigeo: Memoirs of a Buddhist woman missionary in Hawaii / Shigeo Kikuchi ; translated by Florence Okada. -- Honolulu, Hawaii : Buddhist Study Center Press, ©1991.  -- 73 S.  ; 24 cm. -- Originaltitel: Kaikyō shoki no omoide. -- ISBN 0938474138  


Abb.: Briefmarke 25 Jahre SGI, Uruguay, 2000

Die Laienbewegung Soka Gakkai International-USA (SGI-USA) trennt sich von der von Geistlichen dominierten Nichiren Shoshu Academy. (Siehe oben!)

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-04-28

SGI-USA hat mehr afro-amerikanische und hispano-amerikanische Anhänger als irgendeine andere buddhistische Gruppierung. 


Der Jesuitenpater Robert E. Kennedy SJ wird Zenmeister in der New York Zen Community in Yonkers.

"Robert E. Kennedy, S.J., is an American Catholic priest and a Zen master (Roshi). Ordained a priest in Japan in 1965, he was installed as a Zen teacher in 1991 and was given the title Roshi in 1997. Kennedy studied Zen with Yamada Roshi in Japan, Maezumi Roshi in Los Angeles and Bernard Glassman Roshi in New York. He is chairperson of the theology department of Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, N.J., where he teaches theology and the Japanese Language. In addition to his work at the college, he is a practicing psychotherapist in New York City, a representative at the United Nations of the Institute for Spiritual Consciousness in Politics and the author of two books, "Zen Spirit, Christian Spirit" and, forthcoming in November, 2000, "Zen Gifts to Christians." Kennedy Roshi sits with his Zen students daily at the Morning Star Zendo in Jersey City and with students in 12 other zendos located throughout the tri-state area. He conducts weekend and weeklong sesshins (Zen retreats) at various centers in the United States and in Mexico."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2003-06-23]


Ein Leserbrief:

"A comment on the article "Buddhism, Racism, and Jazz" in the Summer Issue (Vol. II, No. 4).

African-Americans don't need you.

Mr. Fischer would make a great sociologist but what is a Zen man doing whining about why blacks are not involved in Buddhism. Why should Afro-Americans come to a white roshi who probably is unqualified to teach the dharma or even lead the way?

Many black people are masters of martial arts, and enjoy experiences similar to the kind that are produced in Buddhist practice. Also, just because you don't see them, there may be black Buddhist practitioners.

The point is Afro-Americans will find their salvation when and where they wish. They do not need a bunch of evangelistic American roshis looking for more clients to help them. The understanding America needs is the understanding of enlightenment as taught by the Buddha. His teachings transcend all racial problems and proper practice could do the same for America. Buddhism is an individual practice and unless, iVIr. Fischer, you have become a bodhisattva, sit down, shut up, and "work out your salvation with diligence."

Harold T. Reid
Femdale, Michigan"

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. III, No.1 (Fall 1993). -- S. 6.]


Ein Leserbrief von Robert Aitken (1917 - ):

"The Roshi Philip Kapleau remarks in your Summer Issue (Vol. II, No. 4) that sanctioning Catholic priests and nuns as teachers of Zen Buddhism is a bizarre corruption that threatens the integrity of the Dharma. Let me comment:

My teacher, Yamada Koun Roshi, who was also Kapleau Roshi's colleague in preparing translations for The Three Pillars of Zen, often said that he visualized Zen Buddhism becoming an important stream in the Roman Catholic Church. We find this vision actualized. Teachers authorized by Yamada Roshi are leading disciples in Christian contexts, predominantly Catholic, in Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and other European countries. Indeed it can be said that almost all Zen Buddhist centers on the European continent, with the exception of those in France, are at the same time Christian.

Some of these teachers transmute elements of Zen Buddhism to enhance their Christian contemplation. Others lead Zen meetings and retreats with no admixture of Christianity whatever. Still others lead traditional Zen retreats but with optional Mass each day during an otherwise free time. All of these teachers also lead Christian retreats. They continue to honor Christianity as Christianity, as they have come to honor Buddhism as Buddhism.

Father Patrick Hawk is independent as a teacher and Sister Pia Gyger and the Reverend Rolf Drosten are apprentice teachers in the Diamond Sangha tradition. They are "bigger containers," to use Joko Beck's felicitous metaphor. Just as Harada Dai'un Roshi and Dogen Kigen Zenji before him traced their lineage in the very different traditions of Rinzai and the Soto, so in our modern global village, with its instantaneous communication and its dangerous religious divisions, the three Diamond Sangha teachers are maturing as children of two parents who are much further apart than Rinzai and Soto, while venerating them both.

Of course this is not a metaphysical process. The Three Treasures of Buddhism or the Three Bodies of the Buddha are most certainly not the Holy Trinity of Christianity. God as a person doesn't fit anywhere in Hua-yen cosmology. The integration of Buddhism and Christianity is happening in deep experience, not as a kind of intellectual resolution.

Just as men and women fight like cats and dogs unless each can find the seed of the other within, so Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and followers of the other great religious traditions will be mutually confrontive unless they can cultivate the possibility of other religions as their own. The total failure of communication between mullahs and patriarchs in the former Yugoslavia was a major factor leading to the present civil war. There are similar abject failures involving Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Burma. Here at home, Native Americans struggle to defend their sacred places in the face of rigid misapprehension.

Christian teachers of Zen Buddhism are pioneers in a new phase of world religion. It's happening and it's a genuine movement. I urge that we explore its possibilities with sympathetic understanding.

Robert Aitken Roshi
Honolulu, Hawai'i"

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. III, No. 2 (Winter 1993). -- S. 84f..]


Abb.: DVD-Cover

Es erscheint der Film:

[Tina - ] What's Love Got to Do with It

Directed by Brian Gibson

Music: Stanley Clarke, Terry Britten, Tina Turner, Ike Turner

Writing credits Tina Turner and Kurt Loder, Kate Lanier (screenplay)

Cast: Angela Bassett ...
"Inhalt: Zusammen mit Ehemann Ike (Laurence Fishburne) erkämpft sich die temperamentvolle Rockdiva Tina Turner (Angela Bassett) den Platz im internationalen Musik-Olymp. Doch der Preis des Erfolges ist hoch - das Leben mit Ike wird zu einem brutalen Martyrium. Bis Tina den Mut findet, alles hinter sich zu lassen und mit nichts als ihrem Namen und ihrer Powerstimme ein neues Leben und eine neue Karriere zu beginnen. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-07]


David Collins gründet A Community for Contemplative Practice in Austin, Texas

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08

"A Community for Contemplative Practice joins grassroots Zen practice and the study of core texts from a range of contemplative traditions. It meets in south Austin, Sunday afternoons, 3:30-5:30.

Beginning Sept. 8, the group will focus on the book, Dream Conversations, by the 14th century Rinzai Zen master Muso Soseki. Suggested donation is $40 for six weeks. For further information, call David Collins, 280-9330.

The evenings begin with a brief meditation instruction, followed by 40 minutes of zazen. After a short break to stretch, there is then a talk and some time for extended discussion. The weekly talks are usually given by the group's organizer, David Collins, who has a doctorate in psychology and masters degrees in both Buddhist studies and Western theology.

The group's orientation is most strongly shaped by Soto Zen of the San Francisco Zen Center, but David's talks frequently draw on other contemplative traditions as well. Discussions are generally lively. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08]

"Activities and Schedule

A Community for Contemplative Practice meets every Thursday from 7:30-9:00 p.m. at Rolling Hills Yoga Studio. Meetings include a half hour of meditation followed by a talk and discussion. Courses on the history and teachings of Zen and other contemplative currents are offered periodically on Sunday afternoons.

Founder and Philosophy

After receiving a Masters degree in theology from the Graduate Theological Union, and another from Harvard Divinity School, David Collins was informed by an advisor that he might be better suited in psychology--since his interest was in the actual experiences that mean most to human beings in their lives. David went on to receive a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. His doctoral dissertation focused on the way identical experiential practices underlie the quite different religious vocabularies of the Soto Zen master Dogen’s instructions for Zen meditation and the Christian author of The Cloud of Unknowing’s instructions for contemplative prayer. (Collins was then informed by a psychology advisor that he might be better suited in religious studies.) Collins sees much of contemporary psychology as a form of contemplative spirituality, and vice versa. Leaving the academic distinctions behind, he moved to Austin, Texas, where he formed the group, A Community for Contemplative Practice (CCP). A Community for Contemplative Practice incorporated his years’ long training in Zen meditation, comparative religion, and psychology.

Legal Battles

When deciding how to list the organization in the Yellow Pages, he opted for "Churches-Buddhist", for lack of a better category. Said Collins, "The view that psychology is a religion is of course a postmodern perspective. Buddhists, on the other hand, have been ‘postmodern’ for 25 centuries." When CCP tried to open a checking account, the bank required articles of incorporation. Once incorporated as a religious non-profit, however, the Texas State Comptroller then refused to acknowledge CCP as a religious group. Combined with changes in the state’s counseling license laws, defining "facilitating spiritual development" as a form of counseling, the Comptroller’s position effectively made it illegal for Collins and his group to "just sit." David had no choice but to prove to the Comptroller that his practice of contemplative spirituality was religion. He took the Comptroller’s Office to court. The opposing lawyers argued that an organization must profess a belief in God in order to be considered a religion in Texas. This unwritten policy, however, would technically have made all Buddhists, Taoists, and many Hindus, unrecognized by the state (and not just CCP and the Texas Chapter of the Ethical Culture Fellowship, which had also been targeted by the Comptroller’s Office). Collins represented himself. With the help of expert witnesses, including a professor of theology, a Catholic nun, and a Presbyterian minister, he got the case dismissed, and the group was allowed to continue its practice in peace. The unusual case was covered by local newspapers such as the Austin American Stateman and the Austin Chronicle.


The group maintains a low profile and is currently rather small. Racially mixed, many members also practice with other spiritual groups, though most have a particular interest in Buddhism.


A Community for Contemplative Practice currently meets in a Yoga Studio. Participants sit in a circle with cushions. Lights are usually kept dim during the meditation period.

Center Activities

A Community for Contemplative Practice is totally pragmatic in its approach to meditation, seeing different contemplative traditions as a common essential experience described by many people. Meditators are encouraged to use whatever methods work best for them. Collins offers instruction on aspects such as spinal alignment and breathing. Readings often focus on Soto Zen but other topics include the historical Jesus, Rumi, art, and psychology. During discussion, members are encouraged to bring up any subject they want.

Contact Name and Title
David Collins, Ph.D.

Date Center Founded
April, 1994

Religious Leader and Title
David Collins, Ph.D.

Membership/Community Size

Ethnic Composition

Prepared by Student Researcher Joseph Laycock
Updated on September 18, 2003"

[Quelle: Joseph Laycock. -- -- Zugriff am 2005-07-08]


Ein Leserbrief:

"I have been a member of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) for seventeen years. And although I find that while Alfred Bloom's article ["The Western Pure Land: Shin in America," Summer 1995] makes many valid points, I do not entirely agree with his analysis of the crisis in which the BCA now finds itself. The organization has not failed "to make the transition into another culture," either in presentation of doctrine or in institutional trappings. On the contrary, our temples have become such typical American religious institutions, complete with Sunday schools, potluck dinners, etc., that the spectacle often upsets counterculture converts to Buddhism. That most members are Japanese-American scarcely makes those temples "foreign." Itmerelymakes them ethnic religious organizations, which have always been the heart and soul of American minority communities. No, the crisis is caused by the very identification with the Japanese-American community that has historically been the BCA's great strength. For one thing, that community is shrinking. For another, so long as language barriers and racism kept the community isolated, being simultaneously Japanese-American community organizations and Buddhist organizations caused no conflict for Shin temples. But now, precisely because making Shin accessible to nisei and sansei civil servants, architects, etc., has meant making it accessible to other Americans too, some of us other Mericans have joined the BCA. Some longtime members are supportive, others are appalled, and the largely unarticulated conflict leads to paralysis. But at least the BCA sometimes acknowledges the problem, unlike largely Euro-American dharma centers, which generally do not perceive their complete failure to reach out to racial minorities, even to the Asian-Americans who make up the religion's natural ethnic base here, as a problem at all.

Diane Ames
Editor, Sangha, newsletter for the Wider Shin Buddhist Fellowship
El Cerrito, California"

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. V, No. 1 (Fall 1995). -- S. 115.]


Charta of the Soka Gakkai International


"The Federal Bureau of Prisons has refused to allow the newsletter of the Engaged Zen Foundation, The Gateway Journal, to be sent to a California inmate because

"the material depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to use of physical violence or group disturbance . . . The publication constitutes a threat to the security, good order, and discipline of the institution."

The most recent issue of the journal contained the second installation of Zen Karmics (see the first installation in the Winter 1995 Tricycle), which gives meditation instruction and an article about the first Jukai ceremony (a Zen ceremony in which a practitioner formally becomes a Buddhist) performed at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York State. The Engaged Zen Foundation is currently considering legal action to defend the inmates' First Amendment rights."

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. V, No.4 (Summer 1996). -- S. 82.]


Abb.: Michael O'Keefe
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]

Michael O'Keefe (1955 - ) wird als erster Peacemaker-Geistlicher in Bernard Glassman's Peacemaker Community [Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-0-14] ordiniert.

"Michael O'Keefe (born April 24, 1955, Mount Vernon, New York) is an American film and televison actor. He is perhaps best known for his role as Danny Noonan in the comedy film Caddyshack.

He played the lead role of Simon MacHeath in the short lived Boston based television series Against the Law.

Married Bonnie Raitt on April 27, 1991 and annouced their divorce on November 9, 1999.

He is reportedly a practicing Zen Buddhist and became an ordained Zen priest in 1996."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]

"I  [Michael O'Keefe] became a Zen student in 1986. Prior to that I'd read a great deal about it. Authors like Kerouac and Ginsberg captured my imagination with their style and fascination with Buddhism. Straight Dharma books always caught my eye as well and I read a fair amount before finding a teacher. At the time my career was on a downswing and my love life had fallen apart. I knew I needed something to get me moving in a positive direction. On old friend, John Miller, a bassist and musical contractor in NYC, took me to an Introduction to Zen Practice at the Zen Community of New York (ZCNY) for my thirty-first birthday. I never looked back.

Bernie Glassman was the Abbot of the community at the time. The workshop was lead by Lou Nordstrom, a senior priest at ZCNY. After being hooked by Lou's presentation I signed up for a retreat lead by Peter Mathiesson. It was during that retreat that I first heard Bernie teach. It's been many years and Bernie is still my teacher. Besides learning to meditate ZCNY was a place of strong social action. Lead by Bernie's vision to establish a mandala for practice and livelihood ZCNY stepped out of the meditation hall and into the world. The Greyston Bakery was already up and running when I came along. The bakery provides employment for a bunch of local folks and some practitioners. Among it's achievements are winning the NY State Cheesecake contest and making the fudge brownies for Ben and Jerry's Fudge Brownie Ice Cream and Yogurt. Recently they been building a new bakery and Maya Lin is the designer.

After I'd been around about a year Bernie decided to create the Greyston Family Inn which is a place where permanent housing is offered to people coming out of temporary shelter. Several buildings in Southwest Yonkers have been renovated and serve as the foundation for the community. Last time I checked there were one hundred and forty seven apartments that are offered to the community. After the Inn was up and running Bernie decided to create a clinic for people living with HIV/AIDS. A Catholic convent for cloistered nuns came up for sale in the neighborhood and Bernie put together funding from the city, county, state, and federal governments to buy and renovate it. It's a full time clinic now with the offices of the Greyston Foundation taking up one of the buildings on the property. Bernie worked in Yonkers for fifteen years before moving on to start the Peacemaker Circle. If you're ever in the area you should make a point of seeing the Greyston Mandala. It's a sight to behold.

Within the Peacemaker Circle are a group of practitioners who have become members of the Zen Peacemaker Order and I am one of them. As I mentioned before my work is to bring Zen meditation to Belfast N. Ireland. Over the last several years we've conducted Many types of workshops that have been lead by Paul Haller, abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, Father Robert Kennedy, S. J. of St. Peter's College in Jersey City, U.S.A, and others.. You can find out about it by emailing Frank Liddy at and ask about Black Mountain Zen Centre. Belfast is an incredible place to teach meditation."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]


Andrew Shugyo Bonnici, Ph.D., Doctor of Applied Meditation Psychology gründet [Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]

"I am a 61 year old Doctor of Applied Meditation Psychology, a Zen priest, a minister of Faith, a published author and artist, a web page designer, a Zen gardener, and a temple home maker. I am grateful for thirty nine years of marriage to a wonderful woman, for two loving adult sons for their two precious wives, for a wondrous granddaughter, and for 2 new grandchildren on the way. I am a member of the Association for Humanistic Psychology. I received my Bachelors degree in 1967 & my Master's degree in 1969. Both degrees are from San Francisco State University. My Masters Studies focused on Carl Roger's "Client Centered Therapy", Abraham Maslow's "Psychology of Values & Being", and Alfred Korzybski's Cognitive Science of "General Semantics."

In 1978, I received my Doctoral Degree from the Saybrook Psychology Institute for Graduate Study & Applied Research in San Francisco. My Doctoral studies, dissertation, and intern experiences focused on the integration of Asian Meditation Psychology with Jungian Depth Psychology and the Humanistic Psychologies of interpersonal growth, character development, bio-energetics, self-actualization, somatic integration, peak experiences, and transpersonal values in the daily practice of living & being.

In my professional face-to-face & telephone counseling practice, I work with individuals, couples, and groups from all religious beliefs & walks of life. My fee based telephone counseling practice extends throughout the USA & to all countries around the world. In worldwide phone counseling, I educate, train, counsel, and mentor people in the behavioral skills, cognitive techniques, and mindfulness principles of Applied Meditation Therapy ®,---an "integrative somatic therapy" that promotes optimum health, personal growth, loving relationships, spiritual fulfillment, prolific creativity, enhanced sports performance, peak states of embodiment competitive integrity, visionary leadership, and multidimensional life success.

My therapeutic methodology of Applied Meditation Therapy ® (AMT) represents the distillation of thirty-nine years of my academic study, investigative research, and diligent somatic inquiry into the deepest pre-historical roots of that enduring human life science known as "embodied meditation". My somatic inquiry & training in the seated & engaged body of meditation is deeply influenced by the Japanese Zen Buddhist priest, Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi. From 1976 to 1987, I trained and practiced at Genjo-Ji Zen Temple of Sonoma County, California. In 1985, I received Jukai (lay-monastic ordination) through the embodied practice and everyday life teachings of Jakusho Kwong-Roshi, a Soto lineage descendent of Suzuki Roshi. In 1988, I was formally ordained as a Zen priest by my immediate family, affirmed my responsibility as a Dharma holder, and accepted my inner calling to independently teach the Way of embodied Zen Meditation. In 1988, I also established Jotoku-Ji Temple, a Zen training & counseling center where I have taught, mentored, and counseled a sangha of Buddhist meditation practitioners for the last sixteen years. On January 28, 1996 I extended my meditation life teachings as a Zen priest & my professional counsel as an Applied Meditation Psychologist to the global Internet community. Thus, this Internet Site was born and continues to this day to educate, inspire, and counsel people worldwide in the embodied practice of seated and engaged meditation life therapy."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]


Abb.: Goma-Ritual in Frankreich
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-13]

Shimizu Koyo (清水 公庸 ) von der esoterischen Kegon-Denomination vollzieht erstmals in den USA ein Goma, d.h. eine Feuerzeremone für den schrecklichen Bodhisattva Fudo. Anlass ist die Eröffnung der Ausstellung "Object as Insight: Japanese Buddhist Art and Ritual" im Katonah Mueum of Art  in Katonah, New York.


Abb.: William Frank Parker mit Rev. Kobutsu Malone
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07]

William Frank Parker wird in Arkansas hingerichtet.

"May 29, 1996

Deathrow Inmate Finds Transformation Through Buddhism


UCKER, Ark. -- William Frank Parker, a double murderer with a nasty habit of slugging corrections officers, was doing time in solitary confinement one day when he asked a prison guard, somewhat impolitely, for a Bible to read.

The guard, his sense of humor stimulated by Parker's insolence, opened the cell door, tossed in a copy of a Buddhist tract known as the Dhammapada, and slammed the door shut. Parker, with little else to do, began to read.

Seven years later, Parker is the only practicing Buddhist in the Arkansas prison system. And as his appointment with a lethal injection approaches, he has become a cause celebre among Buddhists worldwide. Earlier this month, the Dalai Lama himself joined the hundreds of clemency-seeking correspondents who have written Gov. Jim Guy Tucker on Parker's behalf.

Death row conversions are common, but Parker's seems to be different. His Buddhism, he says, concerns neither salvation nor repentance. It is less a religion than "a transformational psychology" that guides practitioners toward inner peace, a rather scarce commodity on death row.

"The Buddha said the greatest of all footprints is that of the elephant, and the greatest meditation is that on death," Parker said in an interview at the Maximum Security Unit here, the site of Arkansas's death row. "I needed to come to grips with death. I was having trouble with it. Buddhism teaches that it's the big lie, the big delusion.

"Now I know," he said, pointing to his chest, "that this vehicle will die. But what's in it moves on."

Indeed, the 41-year-old Parker has forbidden his lawyer, Jeffrey M. Rosenzweig of Little Rock, to file additional appeals of his convictions for killing his former wife's parents and wounding his former wife and a police officer in 1984. While he would not object to a commutation of his sentence to life without parole, he says he has no interest in delays of an inevitable execution.

"He has psychologically steeled himself to be executed and has reached a peace of some sort about it and is not sure he wants to disturb that," Rosenzweig said.

Until a last-minute unrequested reprieve bought him some time, Parker's execution had been scheduled for Wednesday. On Friday, Tucker delayed the execution until July 11 so the U.S. Supreme Court would have time to judge the constitutionality of a new federal law that limits appeals by condemned prisoners.

Many of the clemency pleas written to Tucker, whether from Buddhist priests in Sri Lanka or Zen masters in Honolulu, cite Parker's rededication of his life to Buddhism. His conversion has been so convincing that many inmates and guards call him by the Buddhist name he assumed several years ago, Si-Fu, which means "master" or "teacher." When he approaches, some bow, their hands clasped in front of their faces.

Each night, he waits for the rantings of the condemned to fade and then rises at 3 a.m. to meditate in silence for 40 minutes. His cell has become a temple, complete with a brass statuette of the Buddha and, when the warden allows, burning candles and incense. During crackdowns on such possessions, he makes do. "I can make candles," Parker said. "I can make incense."

He has read dozens of books on Buddhist wisdom and laces his conversations with references to Zen masters, the Bible and Carl Jung. He has learned to fashion intricate origami flowers and birdcages from paper supplied by his mother. He has shaved his head in devotion and wears a ritualistic black apron, called a rakusu, over his prison whites. During a recent interview, he wrapped brown prayer beads around his hands while silver cuffs shackled his ankles.

"He has the most impressive understanding of Buddhism of any inmate I've ever met," said Kobutsu Shindo (also known as Kevin C. Malone), a Buddhist priest who ministers to inmates at the Sing Sing Correctional Institute in New York and who is leading the campaign to spare Parker. "And he has as deep an understanding as many Western Buddhist teachers. The man belongs in a monastery, not on death row."

Even Parker's mother, Janie N. Parker of Bastrop, Texas, who has had reasons for skepticism about her son over the years, said she was convinced of the depth of his conversion. "I thought it might be a fake at first because so many of them get jailhouse religion," Mrs. Parker said. "But the longer I talked to him, the more I realized he was into it."

Parker said the religion seized him when he read Buddha's teachings that impure thoughts led to trouble. "I said, This is me here," he recalled. "I knew that in my own crimes, my own history, I had acted with an impure heart."

His education has not always been easy. When a prison chaplain refused his orders of Buddhist books, Parker threatened to throw him over a second-floor railing. "I know it was anti-Buddhist to say that," Parker said, adding, "Now I don't have any problems."

On Nov. 5, 1984, Parker, high on liquor and cocaine and desperately unhappy about his recent divorce, killed his former in-laws at their house in Rogers, Ark., and later abducted his former wife. For reasons he says he cannot now fathom, he took her to a police station where he shot her and wounded a policeman three times before being disarmed. His lawyer's efforts to appeal the convictions, mostly on the ground of double jeopardy, have been unsuccessful.

At a state clemency board hearing earlier this month, a prosecutor said that Parker once joked that he had turned the Warrens into "worm food." His former wife, Pamela Warren Bratcher, told board members, "Frankie Parker has been given 111/2 more years than he gave my parents." The board voted 5 to 0 to advise the governor not to commute Parker's sentence.

Parker said that he was remorseful, but that he had not written Ms. Bratcher because any apology would be inadequate. "What are you going to do?" he asked. "Say, 'Sorry I killed your Mom and Dad?' "

But he also mocks Ms. Bratcher's devotion to his demise. "My death is her life," he said, "and when I die, she's going to be lost."

On Saturday, Kobutsu Shindo visited Parker and performed a jukai ceremony, a high-level initiation into Buddhism during which Parker received a new name, Ju San, or "mountain of everlasting life." An abbot's inscription on a certificate encouraged him to "depart with dignity like a mountain, trusting that his life is everlasting."

Parker said he would do so.

"My friends on death row used to say, 'If you think those Buddhists are going to get you off death row, forget it. Those Buddhists love death,' " he said. "I don't want to die. But I'm ready. In fact, I'm sort of looking forward to the journey. I've studied it for so long."

Copyright 1996 The New York Times Company"

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07]


Abb.: Madeline Ko-i-Bastis
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07]

The College of Chaplains zertifiziert die Soto-Geistliche Madeline Ko-i-Bastis als ersten buddhistischen Krankenhausseelsorger (chaplain) in den USA.

"Madeline Ko-i Bastis is a Zen priest, the first Buddhist to become a board-certified hospital chaplain, and the founder and director of the Peaceful Dwelling Project. The Peaceful Dwelling Project is an educational organization that seeks to improve the quality of living for people with life-challenging illness and their caregivers by promoting the use of meditation for spiritual, emotional, and physical healing. She is a Soto Zen priest in the White Plum lineage and was ordained by Peter Muryo Matthiessen Roshi in 1993.

Bastis has worked at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, New York University Medical Center, and in the AIDS Unit at Nassau County Medical Center on Long Island, offering pastoral care and leading retreats and meditation groups for people with AIDS, cancer patients, professional caregivers, people in detox, residential psychiatric patients, battered women, prisoners, teen substance abusers, emotionally disadvantaged adults, and Alzheimer's patients, as well as for the local community. Bastis is the author of Peaceful Dwelling: Meditations for Healing and Living and Heart of Forgiveness: A Practical Path to Healing.

She has published many articles about meditation and healing and has reported on her work at several conferences, including: the College of Chaplains National Conferences in 1997, 2001, and 2003; the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education Eastern Region Conference; the 1998 Buddhism in America Conference; the 1999 Association for Death Education and Counseling Conference; and the 2001 Asian Cancer Therapies Conference. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-07]


Abb.: Umschlagtitel

Es erscheint:

Victoria, Brian (Daizen) A. <1939 - >: Zen at war. --  New York : Weatherhill, 1997.  -- xii, 227 S. : Ill. ; 23 cm.  -- ISBN: 0834804050


Abb.: Einbandtitel

Victoria, Brian (Daizen) A. <1939 - >: Zen, Nationalismus und Krieg : eine unheimliche Allianz. -- Berlin : Theseus-Verl.,  ©1999. -- 399 S. -- Originaltitel: Zen at war (1997). -- ISBN: 3-89620-132-8

Das Buch gibt eine heilsame Desillusionierung über von Westernern so verehrte "Roshis" und den "edlen!" Zen-Weg


Abb.: Sobe Zen Blend®

Die Getränkefirma SoBe (South Beach Beverage) bringt SoBe Zen Blend heraus. Sie hat in ihrem Sortiment auch  SoBe Nirvana.


Frederik P. Lenz 3d., alias Zan Master Rama (1950 - 1998) begeht Freitod in New York.

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-21

"Yuppie guru Frederick E Lenz 3d, also known as Zen Master Rama, who committed suicide last year on New York's Long Island, left an estate valued at $18 million, and the National Audubon Society wants it. The author of Surfing the Himalayas and Snowboarding to Nirvana stirred controversy when he was alive— many questioned his authenticity as a Buddhist teacher as he amassed a fortune through sales of his books and fees collected for his lectures on meditation and other subjects. His will has stirred a controversy with even higher stakes.

At issue: Lenz's 1994 will, which states that his family was to be disinherited, all of his pets were to be killed, and his riches were to go to a foundation to promote his ideas unless he had taken "significant steps" prior to his death to establish such a foundation. If not, the National Audubon Society should be the recipient. The executor of the estate, Norman Marcus, claimed that the money should go to the Frederick E Lenz 3d Foundation for American Buddhism. Marcus established the foundation and named himself president of it after Lenz's death.

In a vigorous court battle, the society is calling Lenz a charlatan whose claim to Buddhism was a sham and insisted that it should receive the entire estate. The estate argued that Lenz had initiated such steps to create a foundation. The New York Times reported that the Society's counterargument noted that "the world would be better off if the money went to the society." It's an interesting argument, which, if successful, would give the Society an amount equal to more than one third of its annual budget. To prove their assertions, the Society's lawyers presented a three-inch-thick book of negative clippings about Lenz. By April, the estate was still being surfed and bird lovers were holding their breath."

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. VIII, No. 4 (Summer 1999). -- S. 14f.]


Abb.: Webseite von ZoZa selig
[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-14]

Mel und Patricia Ziegler stellen Norman Fischer, ehemals Abt des San Francisco Zen Center als Consultant bei ihrer Firma ZoZa an "to reflect Zen values". ZoZa, ein Internet-New-Economy Unternehmen machte 2001 Pleite.


Abb.: Einbandtitel

Es erscheint:

Martin, Philip <1955 - >: The Zen path through depression. -- San Francisco : HarperSanFrancisco, ©1999.  -- xiii, 146 S. ; 22 cm. ISBN: 0060654457. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie  dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

"Drawing on his own struggle, Philip Martin reveals another path people can travel to get through depression - one that not only eases the pain, but mends the spirit. Extremely accessible to people with little or no Zen experience as well as to longtime students of Buddhism, The Zen Path Through Depression shows how the insights and exercises of Zen offer relief for those suffering from depression. This groundbreaking guide shows how to cope and heal, and even how to see the experience as an opportunity for spiritual growth and learning. Leading readers step-by-step through a recovery process that uses walking meditation and other meditative ways of enhancing awareness, koans, and other Zen teachings, Martin offers true help and spiritual guidance on the path to healing and contentment. "



Abb.: Mitglieder des BFF üben Kripalu Yoga bei einem Retreat, 2005
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]

Gründung der Buddhist Faith Fellowship (BFF) in Connecticut

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20

"The Buddhist Faith Fellowship (BFF) is an independent and progressive lay Buddhist community in Central Connecticut, established in the spring of 2001. We are the only integrated Shin and Zen Sangha (congregation) in the state. We offer an open, caring, and nurturing environment for all who seek the Buddhist experience. We see ourselves as spiritual pioneers of the 21st century, expanding the boundaries of the Buddha Dharma and helping to create a new American Buddhism.


Our Mission: We are a Buddhist community for spiritual seekers of all ages. Our mission is to awaken to the Heart of Great Compassion, to live by its calling, to gracefully experience the unfolding of Life, to practice loving kindness, and to share the blessings of this spiritual experience and the teachings with all.


 Our Inspiration:  We are dedicated to the teachings of the historical Buddha and the 13th century Japanese reformers: the founder of Shin Buddhism or Jodo Shinshu, Shinran Shonin, and the originator of the Soto Zen School, Dogen-zenji. We are also open to all Buddhist traditions and the entirety of world spirituality and wisdom.


 Our Journey:  We are called to entrust ourselves to the Heart of Great Compassion, symbolized as Amida Buddha. As a result, we are spiritually transformed, experiencing a new life of joy, hope, and gratitude and dedicated to promoting the welfare of all sentient beings. 


 Our Practices: While our inclusion of Soto Zen practice acknowledges the value we place on meditation, the heart of Shin practice is on integrating spirituality with daily living by developing deeper compassion; practicing  monpo or deep hearing (mindfulness); and voicing the Nembutsu (Namo Amida Butsu) as an expression of our trust in and gratitude for the ultimate perfection of life. We engage in community service, support one another’s spiritual growth, and strive to remember that we are all foolish humans doing the best that we can. "


[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]


Abb.: Umschlagtitel

Es erscheint:

Downing, Michael: Shoes outside the door : desire, devotion, and excess at San Francisco Zen Center. -- Washington, D.C. : Counterpoint, ©2001. -- xx, 384 S. ; 25 cm.  -- ISBN 1582431132. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie  dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

"Michael Downing's Shoes Outside the Door is an account of San Francisco Zen Center's growth from a small circle of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi's students into one of the largest and most culturally significant centers of Zen Buddhism in America. While Downing seeks not to make the much-publicized scandals of 1983 the primary focus of the book, his lengthy natrative returns to them repeatedly in the telling of the history of Zen Center—and the rise and fall of Suzuki's charismatic heir, Richard Baker Roshi.

The title of the book is a reference to the shoes of a female Zen student that were discovered outside the door of Richard Baker's private cabin at Tassajara. The cabin was one of several homes belonging to Baker, who, as the center's abbot in 1983, held residential quarters at all three of its institutions: the main City Center on San Francisco's Page Street; the Tassajara monastery, a training temple primarily for ordained students as well as a retreat center/hot springs resort during the off-season; and Green Gulch, a farm in Marin County oriented toward lay practice.

In 1983, no other Buddhist organization in America owned such vast properties, with hundreds of members participating in a holistic vision of Buddhist practice (city/country, monastic/lay, meditative/engaged). The organization was largely self-supporting. In addition to its three main practice facilities, Zen Center owned and operated several businesses, including a restaurant and a bakery, which, by the early eighties, brought in several million dollars a year in revenue. The influence of the center, and particularly that of Richard Baker, extended into the political realm. Then-governor Jerry Brown, for instance, and members of his staff were frequent guests. By most accounts, Zen Center was an unqualified success, a measure of what Buddhism could achieve in America. There were problems, however. Some of them were to be expected in light of the center's dramatic growth and the ambiguities of a semi-lay, semi-monastic arrangement; others were specific to Richard Baker's style of leadership and his alleged financial and sexual improprieties.

The discovery of the student's shoes outside Richard Baker's cabin, and the subsequent revelation of their affair (both were married at the time), opened up a Pandora's box of resentment and uncertainty about the conduct of the spiritual and organizational leader of Zen Center, especially regarding what were considered to be his extravagant spending habits, celebrity lifestyle, and autocratic control of the organization. Other members of the community came forward to acknowledge that Richard Baker had sexualized the teacher-student relationship. Readers of Downing's book will hear many voices chronicling the details of these accusations and counter-accusations, including those of almost all of the subsequent abbots of Zen Center as well as many longtime practitioners.

But Shoes Outside the Door is not simply a narrative history; it raises the larger question of what constitutes the Americanization of Zen. Downing seems to suggest that the very questioning of the abbot's absolute authority in 1983, which led to Baker's resignation and, in due course, to the implementation of a more diffuse authority structure, was an integral aspect of the process of Americanization. He quotes people who describe a shift from a Japanese-style conception of authority, in which those invested with dharma transmission (such as Baker) held absolute authority, to a more American-style democratic system of leadership, in which co-abbots ensure checks and balances of power. In all fairness, however, Downing's view of the Japanese system is far too simplistic. In both the Japanese monastic setting and in parish temples, with rare exception, the abbot in Japan has always had to contend with a multitude of checks and balances on his authority. In fact, in many Japanese temples, the chief lay parish representative (danka soda'i) is more powerful than the temple abbot. Even in the case of major monasteries, by the late medieval period, the dominant system had become one of rotating abbots (rinban seido) in which abbots served in short-term capacities.

That said, Downing's book does help introduce the complex background behind the development, after 1983, of an organization based less on charisma than on consensus-building. The fallout around Baker Roshi's personal indiscretions brought into sharper focus issues of sex, monastic and lay practice, and the role of families in Zen communities. While American Zen practitioners faced the same issues prior to 1983, the maturing of Zen Center's community (by the early eighties, many practitioners were supporting families, and doing so on meager work compensation) led to heightened tensions and closer scrutiny of leadership roles, bringing the entire model for practice into question.

Lay Zen Buddhists in Japan have always had the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of religious practices, but very few engage in the monastic or meditative practices so closely associated with Zen in America. The traditional hierarchical distinction between the monastic and lay was challenged in the American countercultural context of the sixties and seventies, and these practices came to be seen as not only viable for lay people but a normative aspect of American Zen. The San Francisco Zen Center experiment—which continues today—is a useful marker of how this lay-monastic issue might be worked out in America.

Shoes Outside the Door joins a growing list of works on Shunryu Suzuki and the San Francisco Zen Center, including Erik Fraser Storlie's Nothing on My Mind: Berkeley, LSD, Two Zen Masters, and a Life on the Dharma Trail; and David Chadwick's Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Zen Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki and To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shunryu Suzuki. Downing's book, however, is broader in scope; it provides both a history of and context for the events that culminated with the near-implosion of Zen Center in 1983. It includes Reb Anderson's tenure as abbot and chronicles Richard Baker's move to Santa Fe, Europe, and the mountains of Colorado in an attempt to reestablish his lineage. The final chapters delve into the various reconciliation attempts over the years between Zen Center and Richard Baker.

Since San Francisco Zen Center offers such valuable insights into the Zen experiment in America, the more accounts of it, the better. Although this book lacks the critical scholarly apparatus (such as footnotes and citations of secondary literature) that would be expected for accuracy and accountability, and although it sometimes reads too much like a novel strung together by a lengthy series of quotes, Downing's work is a very important addition to the literature on American Zen and, more broadly, American Buddhism. ?

DUNCAN RYUKEN WILLIAMS is an ordained Soto Zen priest and assistant professor of Japanese Religions and Culture at Trinity College. He is the co-editor of Buddhism and Ecology (Harvard, 1997) and American Buddhism (Curzon, 1998)."

[Quelle: Duncan Ryuken Williams. -- In: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XI, No.2 (Winter 2001). -- S. 80f.]


Diana Eck berichtet über ihren Besuch im im Senshin Tempel in South Central Los Angeles, einem Jodo Shinshu Tempel, Anfang der 1990er-Jahre:

"That morning as people assembled for Sunday worship at Senshin Temple, each person walked to the front of the sanctuary to the incense burner set on a stand in front of the main altar. With a deep bow, each grandmother, each teenager, each small child lit a stick of incense and placed it on the bed of glowing ashes in the burner. I took my place in the pew and noticed the familiar hymnbook in a pew rack in front of me. The organ began playing, and the Sunday service was under way. At every phase of the service, I found myself struck by the extraordinary juxtaposition of what was familiar to me as a Protestant and what was quite different. The ritual idiom reminded me of my hometown Methodist Church in Bozeman, Montana. We stood for a hymn, sat for a scripture reading, stood for a responsive reading, just as I had all my life. And yet the content was Buddhist, and the overall feeling I had as a worshiper was of a Methodist-Buddhist blend, the Methodism being supplied from my own religious background. The hymn we sang together seemed to be a direct adaptation of Protestant hymnody. We sang:

Sweet hour of meditation, The quiet hour of peace,
When from life's care and turmoil I find a blest release.
In silent contemplation, New faith and hope I win.
More light and deeper knowledge, New strength to conquer sin.

Klicken Sie hier, um "Sweet hour" zu hören

Gesang und Begleitung: Leong Kin Oon/Wayfarers

Quelle der mp3-Datei: -- Zugriff am 2005-07-14

The reader took his place at the front of the congregation to read from scripture, the Avatamsaka Sutra: "Do not seek to know Buddha by his form and attributes; for neither the form nor attributes are the real Buddha. The true Buddha is enlightenment itself." At one point in the service we all stood for what I would call an affirmation of faith. Opening to a page in the worship book, we recited a version of "The Threefold Refuge." Reverend Kodani led off, saying:

Difficult it is to receive life in human form, now we are living it.
Difficult it is to hear the Dharma of the Buddha, now we hear it.
If we do not cross over to the Truth in the present life, in what life shall we cross over? Let us with sincerity and true reverence take refuge in the Three Treasures of the Truth.

The congregation responded, "I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Dharma. I take refuge in the Sangha."

Reverend Kodani preached a sermon, kneeling at a low lectern at the front of the Buddha Mall. His subject was the upcoming observance of the birthday of the Buddha. He reminded us of the story of the Buddha's birth and how all of nature resounded with the great event. Trees blossomed out of season, and earthquakes shook the hills. "The story sticks in your head because it is so real," he said. "When a child is born, when you go to first grade, when you go to your first day of high school, there is all the beauty of springtime newness. But there are also earthquakes. Beauty and newness come with earthquakes too. Nothing stays springtime forever. This is the teaching ofdukkha. It is the pain of being off-center like a wheel. When you are in the midst of enjoyment, you begin to hold on to it, and you lose it. When you arc in pain, the minute you look at the pain, it is already beginning to dissipate." There was nothing sentimental about this very Buddhist sermon, and yet this sunny, even jocular preacher, connected the evanescence of springtime with the pain of life without a trace of cynicism or negativity.

Announcements concluded the service, including that of a lively junior high schooler who said she would be going to Japan for the summer. Reverend Kodani chuckled and said, "Wait till you get to Japan. Within twenty minutes of getting off the plane, you know you are in a foreign country, even though everybody looks just like you!" Everyone laughed. Finally, the temple celebrated all members with birthdays that month, and right there in the sanctuary a longtime member gave out cupcakes with lighted candles.

After the service, people lingered to socialize in the foyer and in the outside courtyard. Some hurried off to "Sunday school" Dharma classes. 1 visited two children's classes. In one, second and third graders were coloring Dharma School workbook pages entitled "My Obutsudan." One of the children explained that an obutsudan is a Buddha altar. It is found in every Jodo Shinshu temple and home, and there was one in the classroom too. At the center of the page was the standing image of Amida Buddha, surrounded by an incense burner, a bouquet of flowers, a candle, and a small dish of rice. The children colored and cut out the Buddha altar, putting Amida Buddha and the various offerings in the proper places. Placing their palms together in the gesture of reverence called gassho, they recited a prayer that emphasizes one of the cardinal virtues of the tradition -gratitude. Amida Buddha, I offer rice to say "thank you." I burn incense to say "thank you." I offer beautiful flowers and say "thank you." I light the candle and say "thank you." Namu Amida Butsu "'Praise to Amida Buddha,'" the teacher said, "is the Buddhist way to say'thank you.'"

In another classroom, I sat with a group of six- and seven-year-olds. Their lesson emphasized another of the deepest teachings of the tradition: the interdependence of all things. We arc linked in a vast, intricate web of relationships that ultimately extends to the whole of life, what the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh calls "intcrbeing." The students were cutting strips of yellow construction paper, which they circled and taped into a paper chain. They explained to me that they were creating Buddha's "golden chain." They all knew by heart the recitation that goes with this chain making, for they say it week after week in Dharma School and often in the Sunday services when they go with their parents. It is the childhood creed for these young Shin Buddhists:

I am a link in Amida Buddha's golden chain of love that stretches around the world. I must keep my link bright and strong. . . .
May every link in Amida Buddha's golden chain of love become bright and strong, and may we all attain perfect peace."

[Eck, Diana L.: A new religious America : how a "Christian country" has now become the world's most religiously diverse nation. -- [San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, ©2001.  -- xii, 404 p. ; 25 cm. -- ISBN 0060621591. -- S. 152. -- S. 172 - 175. --{Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie dieses Buch bei bestellen}]


Jan Chozen Bays (1945 - ) , Ko-Äbtissin des Great Vow Zen Monastery startet Jizos for Peace

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20

"Jizos for Peace

A project to promote peace in the world through art, Jizos for Peace invites people from all walks of life to make a contribution to peace. The mission of Jizos for Peace is to support people in cultivating and expressing peace in their lives. Our hope is that by participating in the project, people will uncover the qualities of Jizo within themselves, and then manifest those qualities in the world around them.


August 6 and 9, 2005 will be the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Japan. In memory of the nearly 270,000 people who died during and soon after the bombing, members of Great Vow Zen Monastery will take 270,000 images of Jizo to Hiroshima and Nagasaki – one Jizo for every man, woman, and child who died as a result of the atomic bombs. Art panels, banners, origami, ceramic statues, and quilts with Jizo images, each fashioned from the heart of one person, will touch the heart of another.


Usually depicted or shown in the form of a wise and kindly spiritual protector, Jizo is considered the guardian of those who have died. He watches over travelers and is the protector of women and children. Jizo also aids those who are ill. The qualities of Jizo are compassion, optimism, and courage. As each Jizo is drawn or created, the artist sends a thought of peace into the world. Our hope is that the lingering effects of compassion and peace will uplift not only the artist, but each person he or she meets.

How Jizos for Peace Began

Jan Chozen Bays, co-Abbot of Great Vow Zen Monastery:

"I was born on August 9, 1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. I believe that I was led to become a Buddhist in a Japanese tradition partly because of the many people who died in Japan just as I was born. Our monastery is dedicated to Jizo Bodhisattva and as part of our practice we make images of Jizo."

“In September, 2002, I visited the Peace Park in Hiroshima, and left a Jizo statue there. I felt I should return in 2005 on the 60th anniversary of the bombings, with a Jizo for each of the hundreds of thousands of people who have died.

“It wouldn't be possible for me to do this alone--how could it be accomplished? Artist Kaz Tanahashi had an inspiration. In Japan, people often copy sutras on paper. What if people copied or drew or stamped Jizos on cloth panels the size of a sheet of paper?

The small panels could be sewn into strings of prayer flags and large banners.

“We tried out the project by making panels of 108 Jizos at a retreat and people really enjoyed it. They worked in silent concentration, whispering the Jizo mantra, and created a most wonderful and creative array of Jizo images. Several people asked to take this project back to meditation groups at home. This seemed to be the signal to take the project forward.""

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]


Abb.: Einbandtitel

Es erscheint:

 Warner, Brad: Hardcore Zen : punk rock, monster movies & the truth about reality. -- Boston : Wisdom Publications, ©2003. -- xiv, 202 S. : Ill. ; 21 cm. -- ISBN 086171380X. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie  dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

Selbstdarstellung von Brad Warner:

Abb.: Brad Warner

"My name is Brad and I'm a Buddhist.

I was ordained in the Soto School of Zen Buddhism, the sect brought to Japan by a dude named Dogen in the 13th century. My teacher is Gudo Wafu Nishijima. He originally studied under Kodo Sawaki, a radical teacher who set out to overturn pretty much all of what had become established as Buddhism in Japan in the early 20th century. I began studying Zen in the early 1980s in Ohio under Tim McCarthy whose teacher was Kobun Chino who was brought to America by Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind Beginner's Mind. In those days, I was the bassist for ODFx (or Zero Defex), a hardcore punk band who none other than MDC cited as one of their fave groups. After ODFx bit the dust, I signed to Midnight Records and made five albums under the band name Dimentia 13. In 1994, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and got a job in Tokyo, Japan with the company founded by the special effects man behind the classic Godzilla films. I still work there.

I also wrote a book called Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality published by Wisdom Publications. That does not mean, however, that I am an employee of, or in any way presenting myself as a spokesman for Wisdom Publications. They have no responsibility for the content of this page.

I write this page because I enjoy writing. It's an ongoing process. There's stuff in the older articles on this very page and in my book which I would not express quite the same way today, which I might even deny. And there's plenty of contradiction here too. Life is like that. I am not trying to convince anyone that what I say is true. I know that what I say is true and that is enough for me. Whether you believe it or not is of no concern at all. I don't want followers. All I'm saying is: Here's what I see from where I sit.

Whatever you do, I beg you not to ever believe in what I say. Take every single thing with a grain -- no, make that a shaker full -- of salt. See if it makes sense. If it does not, maybe you should throw it away immediately. Or maybe not. And if what I say does make sense to you, question that even more deeply.

Enjoy. "

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-06]

Zum Verständnis seines Buches schreibt der Autor:


I recently got the missive below via e-mail:

"I find your approach, for lack of a better word, interesting. You dislike so-called American Buddhism, yet that very attitude is what makes American Buddhism what it is. Words are useless yet you write a book. You put Japanese Buddhism on an altar, and assume the standards of Dogen's time are appropriate for ours. This is a culture that supported caste systems, abuse of peasants and a unilateral religious hierarchy to rival the Christian church. But as J. Krishnamurti said, "Because they didn't listen to him, there is Buddhism."

Reading this, I thought that I must be explaining my ideas really poorly for anyone to think I really believed anything like that. It might even be that there are other folks who think I think like this but who don’t write me sarcastic e-mails because they agree with it. So I thought I’d better state my position a bit more clearly on these matters. I’ll take the writer’s points up one by one.
  1. “You dislike so-called American Buddhism” 

    I wouldn’t put it quite that way. But I would invoke what science fiction geeks (like me) call “Sturgeon’s Law.” Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon once said, “95% of science fiction is crud. But, then again, 95% of anything is crud.” The same rule, unfortunately, may also apply to 95% of what goes by the name “Buddhism,” not just in America, but throughout the world.  

    It’s easier for me to talk about American Buddhism because I am an American Buddhist. If I were to start lashing out about the problems of Thai Buddhism or Vietnamese Buddhism, it could be taken the wrong way. Plus American Buddhism is such an easy target, what with guys like Gempo Roshi claiming you can get Enlightenment in an afternoon and people offering machines that supposedly allow you to meditate deeper than a Zen monk in mere minutes. It’s like a cartoon, fer cryin’ out loud.

    That being said, there is plenty of good Buddhism in America. Most of it takes place in little tiny Buddhist centers no one will ever hear of.


  2. “Words are useless yet you write a book” I

    I am not sure I ever said “words are useless” — though someone with more patience than me might be able to find that phrase by going through everything I’ve written. The Truth can never be expressed in words because the Truth is unlimited and ever-changing while words are fixed. And words mean different things to different people. In Japan, the word “aoi” is applied both to the color of the sky on a sunny Summer day and the color of traffic lights that mean “go” — even though the traffic lights are the same color in Japan as they are everywhere else in the world. It’s simply that the word “aoi” stands for a wide range of colors which include both what we call “blue” and what we call “green.” By the same token, the meaning of any word I may use and the meaning you apply to it when you read it may not be at all alike.

    However, words themselves are far from useless. The only way we’d ever learn that words are limited and cannot express the Truth is when we hear someone say those things using words. Words are extraordinarily useful. So I plan to keep on using them.


  3. “You put Japanese Buddhism on an altar”

    Not really. And I’m sorry I’ve created that impression, because this writer isn’t the only one who seems to have assumed I think this way. Sturgeon’s Law applies to Japanese Buddhism as well. In fact, American Buddhism may be slightly better than Japanese Buddhism overall because generally in America people become Buddhists out of a sincere desire to understand the Truth. In Japan, on the other hand, Buddhism is a mainstream belief and plenty of people over there are Buddhists just because everyone else they know is a Buddhist. It helps them fit in.

    No, Buddhism in Japan is mostly crud. Plenty of temples make extra cash by selling recently bereaved families “Buddhist names” for their deceased relatives for hundreds or even thousands of dollars — just like the Catholic church used to sell places in Heaven. There are showy monks who drive around in flashy cars just like members of the yakuza. Most thoughtful young people in Japan reject Buddhism out of hand because of this kind of shitty attitude on the part of a large number of Japanese Buddhist monks. And well they should! Had I grown up in Japan, I probably wouldn’t have ever considered studying Buddhism at all.


  4. “You assume the standards of Dogen's time are appropriate for ours”

    I’m not sure where the writer got this idea. But maybe some others reading my page also think I believe this. I don’t.

    I have tremendous respect for Dogen. He clearly understood reality much more deeply than just about anyone else who’s work I’ve read. But the standards of his time most certainly do not apply to ours. His was an agrarian society where only very few people had the time or inclination to study and practice Buddhism. Therefore those who did study it needed to seclude themselves from the world at large in temples — depending upon the charity of others for their livelihood — and work solely on their Buddhist practice to the exclusion of all else simply in order to be able to practice Buddhism at all.

    The average person today has a lot more leisure time than anyone in Dogen’s age could have dreamed of. So today it is possible to study and practice Buddhism while remaining a functioning part of the mainstream society. One can be a monk without ever quitting their day job or running off to live in a temple. All you need to do is set aside an hour or so each day for zazen practice. While in Dogen’s era a working person might have risked starvation by devoting that much time to their practice, for most of us all that means is an hour less watching Seinfeld reruns or screwing around on the Internet reading dodgy "Buddhist" web pages (oops!).


  5. “As J. Krishnamurti said, ‘Because they didn't listen to him, there is Buddhism.’”

    I like J. Krishnamurti’s writing a lot. I believe what Krishnamurti is referring to here is the fact that Buddha told his followers not to memorize his words or make them into scripture. Yet after the old guy bit the big mushroom, they went ahead and did just that.

    Still, you have to remember that the Buddha himself did establish an order of monks with permanent living quarters and specific places of retreat. He set up a code of behavior and a method of dress for those who he practiced with. There was an initiation ceremony for folks who joined his order. He preached his message far and wide and attracted hundreds, perhaps even thousands of followers before he died. Without a doubt it was Buddha himself who created Buddhism.

    But it is certainly true that Buddha’s message became distorted over time. It is extremely difficult to discern which among the many hundreds of volumes of words claiming to be his were actually spoken by Buddha. This would be a tremendous problem if we approached Buddhism the way most people approach their religions. To a follower of some supposedly Almighty Being, whatever words he believes that Almighty Being spoke must be considered right whether they makes any sense at all or not, simply by virtue of the fact that the Almighty Being said them. It's like that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where God appears to Arthur and makes a suggestion. Arthur says, "Good idea, Lord," and God replies, "Of course it's a good idea, I thought of it!"

    Buddhists, however, don’t give a crap who said the words attributed to Buddha. If the words themselves are true we accept them and if they are not we don’t. This attitude comes from the Buddha’s (or whoever’s) own instructions that it was proper to doubt even his words and that we should not accept them unless we see their truth. Hardly useless words!"

So there you go. Please feel free at any time to write me and ask for clarification. I get such a deluge of e-mail, plus I work a regular job, that I might not be able to get back to you. But I read everything I get and I try to reply whenever I can."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-06]




After initial suspicions, a small Oregon town comes to terms with its Buddhist neighbors.

STANDING BEFORE the two hundred people assembled at the defunct elementary school of Clatskanie, Oregon (pop. 1,528), one woman didn't mince words about her opinions. "The aura of Satan is taking a foothold. We do not want Buddhism in here."

Many of the others shared her views. Soon the suspicions of some residents of this small town ninety minutes from Portland would bring it into the public eye, forcing it to wrestle with difficult issues of religion, freedom, and community in an age of fear and uncertainty.

When Hogen and Jan Cho2en Bays, husband and wife co-teachers of the Zen Community of Oregon, began their quest for a monastery, they didn't expect to stir such passions. ZCO was founded in the mid-1970s, and Hogen and Chozen arrived in 1984, sent from the Zen Center of Los Angeles to lead the growing sangha. They had always yearned to establish a monastery where full-time residential students could take the dramatic plunge into the deep end of Zen training, but nothing permanent materialized, and the group ended up sitting in campgrounds around the state. So in 2001, when they discovered that Clatskanie's Quincy Mayger Elementary School was on the market, they jumped at the chance to finally bring about their vision for Buddhism in America.

It wasn t long, however, before the problems began. By early 2002, rumors of a cult had spread around Clatskanie, so ZCO decided to hold an open town meeting at the school to address local concerns and answer questions. Many of the people who showed up were simply curious about all the fuss, but the largest single contingent had come from a local fundamentalist church opposed to what they considered a threat to their way of life. Accusations flew about Buddhists coming to target the town's children, leading them onto a path of darkness.

The Zen group would have to do some serious work to overcome the suspicions they encountered. Hogen Bays took the lead, describing his approach this way: "Our basic philosophy is to be wide open—that's the best way to make the community comfortable, and for us to get to know them." Day after day, he made the rounds, meeting with the Kiwanis, the postmaster, the mayor, with local business leaders, with ministers, with people on the street. Everywhere he went, he listened to people's concerns, did his best to explain what would and would not take place at the monastery, and learned about the community he and Chozen would be moving to.

As months passed, the process of leasing the school site dragged on, with opponents turning up at school district board meetings to voice their objections, lodging appeals whenever decisions in the ZCO's favor were passed.

The media caught wind of the conflict, and soon articles, editorials, and letters to the editor began appearing in publications around the state. People began to argue about what it meant to be an Oregonian, an American, a neighbor. Ultimately, it was this public debate that seemed to make the difference.

"That was the best thing that happened to us," Hogen said about the media's interest. "People came out of the woodwork from all over to support us. This incident really gave a voice to people who have a broad, generous heart, Christians as well as non-Christians." Concerned that their town was being portrayed as a bastion of intolerance, more and more Clatskanians came forward to encourage the Zen group and let their leaders know that there was room for all in their community. Finally, at the end of May, the last appeal was dismissed and the way was cleared for the founding of Great Vow Monastery.

Hogen and Chozen Bays now live at the former school, along with a dozen other full-time residents. The school's former library has become the zendo, and students have the privilege of practicing at perhaps the only Zen center in the West with a cafeteria and gymnasium. Requests for admittance have come in from all over—Oregon, Alaska, New York, even as far away as Japan. The initial conflict with the surrounding community and the eventual triumph of the ZCO helped confirm the Zen group's open, patient approach to problems, and highlighted the need ro stay engaged with the wider community, both supporters and detractors. "The monastery is the center of a community—that's been our model," said Hogen. The result has been many friends made, who smile when they see Hogen's shaven head passing by on the street, and many Clatskanians have come to the monastery to take part in activities. Though they are currently leasing the property, the Zen Community of Oregon hopes to buy the school and its twenty acres for $1.02 million in the next couple of years. "

[Quelle: Jeff Wilson. -- In: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XII, No.3 (Spring 2003). -- S. 90f.]


Abb.: Prinz Siddhatta, aus Vol. 2

Abbildungen aus Vol. 1

Es beginnt die englische Übersetzung des achtbändigen japanischen Comics zu erscheinen:

Tezuka, Osamu <手塚 治虫> <1928-1989>: Buddha. -- 1st American ed.  -- New York, N.Y. : Vertical, ©2003-2005 . -- 8 vol. : hauptsächlich Ill. ; 21 cm.

Vol. 1.: Kapilavastu
Vol. 2.: The four encounters
Vol. 3.:  Devadatta
Vol. 4.: The forest of Uruvela
Vol. 5.:  Deer Park
Vol. 6.:  Ananda
Vol. 7.: Prince Ajatasattu
Vol. 8.: Jetavana

Webpräsenz (mit weiteren Beispielen): -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20

Aus den Besprechungen:

"Tezuka…manages to cover all manner of emotion and story with wit and pulp instincts that make
these mammoth volumes page-turners.” –Washington Post

“Siddhartha’s contemplative life becomes a swash-buckling adventure.” –Newsday

“In handsome volumes designed by Chip Kidd, the Vertical books present Tezuka at his best.” –National Post

Buddha is a work of exceptional artistic beauty; Tezuka was at the top of his game here, balancing stylized character concepts against finely detailed backdrops.” –Bookslut

“Ten out of f***ing ten!” –Diamond Comics Previews

“This is one of the great achievements of the comics medium, a masterpiece by one of the greats.” –

“(Tezuka’s) stunning work is inspiring and deeply sobering.” –NY Press

“I have been, and continue to be an ardent admirer of Osamu Tezuka, so I am especially pleased to have a chance to study his brilliant storytelling and narrative art that rises above the casual style of Tezuka’s imitators.”
–Will Eisner, author of A Contract With God

Buddha stands as the opus of Japan's greatest cartoonist, and a high watermark for the medium. Tremendously inspiring, overwhelming, breathtaking, etc. etc... I wish it could go on forever.” –Craig Thompson, author of Blankets

“Osamu Tezuka invented a whole new grammar of comics storytelling and his place in the history of Japanese comics is about as central as Siddhartha's place in the history of Buddhism.” –Art Spiegelman, author of Maus

“The books are all I’d hoped they’d be. Tezuka’s dramatic skills make the pages fly by... Tezuka’s drawings add to the impact of the work; he places his lively, cartoony figures in beautifully rendered landscapes.”–Chester Brown, author of Louis Riel

“Exciting, humanly moving, revealing, it makes the Buddha's achievement much more real than just reciting the traditional facts. I read each volume without putting it down! Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! Three times excellent!” –Tenzin Robert Thurman

“Tezuka’s most ambitious and succesful work available in English to date.” –Comics Journal

“There’s more to Buddha than Pali Canon-meets-Spiderman.” –Dharma Life

Buddha is one of Tezuka's true masterpieces. We're lucky to have this excellent new edition in English.”
–Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics

“With quality like what Buddha gives us, the adult manga audience better grow as Tezuka's vision of the Buddha spreads (literally) across the spines of the eight volumes of this series.” –Franz Metcalf, author of What Would Buddha Do?

“Those expecting to see something along the lines of one of those dumbass religious comic books full of bland images and whiter than white characters will be sorely disappointed. This is a rough, often sexy book full of daring reinterpretations of the traditional Buddhist tales.” –Brad Warner, author of Hardcore Zen

“In Tezuka’s world, the exquisite collapses into the goofy in a New York minute, the goofy into the melodramatic, the melodramatic into the brutal, and the brutal into the sincerely touching. The surprising result is a work wholly unique and downright fun.” –Time Out NY

“Tezuka’s Buddha is a striking and memorable confluence of ancient wisdom and contemporary popular art.” –Yoga Journal

“Infused with humor and history, the epic of Siddhartha is perhaps Osamu Tezuka’s crowning achievement and illustrates why, without irony, Tezuka is referred to as ‘The King of Japanese Comics’.” –LA Weekly

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]

Über Osamu Tezuka:

Abb.: Japanische Gedenkmarken auf Osamu Tezuka

"Dr. Osamu Tezuka (手塚 治虫 Tezuka Osamu, November 3, 1928 - February 9, 1989) was a Japanese manga artist and animator born in Ōsaka. He is best known as the creator of Astro Boy.

His prolific output and his pioneering techniques and genres earned him such titles as "the father of manga" and "the god of manga." The distinctive "large eyes" style of Japanese animation was invented by Tezuka, who based it on cartoons of the time such as Betty Boop by Max Fleischer and Mickey Mouse by Walt Disney. As an indication of his productivity, the Complete Manga Works of Tezuka Osamu (手塚治虫漫画全集, published in Japan) comprises some 400 volumes, over 80,000 pages (in fact, his complete opera includes over 700 mangas in about 170,000 pages); even so, it is not quite comprehensive.

He was formally trained as a physician, but devoted his life to the production of an enormous body of manga work, the vast majority of which has never been translated from the original Japanese and is thus inaccessible to Western audiences. He began his career as a manga creator while a university student. His medical and scientific knowledge enriched his sci-fi manga, as well as Black Jack, a series about a genius rogue surgeon.

Famous creations include Astro Boy (Tetsuwan Atomu in Japan), Black Jack, Princess Knight, Phoenix (Hi no Tori in Japan), Kimba the White Lion (upon which a minority says Disney's The Lion King was probably based), and Adolf. His "life's work" was Phoenix—a story of life and death, concerning an eponymous phoenix whose blood endows those who drink it with immortality.

Tezuka headed the animation production studio Mushi Pro ('Bug Production'), which pioneered TV animation in Japan. The name of the studio derives from one of the kanji {"虫") used to write his name.

It is well-known that many of the yet-to-flourish young manga artists once lived in the apartment where Tezuka lived, Tokiwa-so. (As the suffix -so indicates, this was probably a small, inexpensive apartment.) The residents included Shotaro Ishinomori, Fujio Akatsuka, and Fujiko Fujio (both of the duo).

In 1994 the city of Takarazuka, where Tezuka grew up, opened a museum in his memory. In 1997 stamps were issued in his honor."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20]


Abb.: Dainin Katagiri Roshi (1928 - 1990)

Es erscheint:

Goldberg, Natalie <1948 - >: The great failure : a bartender, a monk, and my unlikely path to truth / Natalie Goldberg.  -- [San Francisco, Calif.] : HarperSanFrancisco, ©2004.  -- 192 S. ; 22 cm.  -- ISBN 0060733993. -- {Wenn Sie HIER klicken, können Sie  dieses Buch  bei bestellen}

Abb.: Natalie Goldberg
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 200506-20]

"THE GREAT FAILURE recounts Natalie Goldberg's deep disappointment with the two most important men in her life: her father, Ben Goldberg, and her teacher, the Zen Buddhist master Dainin Katagiri Roshi [1928 - 1990], who died in 1990. Although Goldberg has now published eight books, including a novel and a volume of poetry, she is best known for her immensely popular creative writing manual, Writing Down the Bones. This latest work is a well-intentioned, somewhat unfocused sequel to her 1994 memoir Long Quiet Highway, extending the earlier narrative with discoveries made in the intervening years.

A few years after the publication of Long Quiet Highway, a fellow Zen practitioner informed Goldberg that Katagiri Roshi had had illicit affairs with several students while serving as abbot of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, from 1972 until his death. The exact details remain hazy in the book, but it appears that Katagiri made oblique and often inept approaches to his female students. Looking back, Goldberg now suspects that her teacher was flirting with her in an awkward conversation they shared during a potluck dinner at her house, though she didn't realize his intentions at the time and nothing came of the incident. As she recounts it, Katagiri s advances were usually misunderstood or rebuffed, though in a few cases he was apparently successful.

Much earlier in her life, Goldberg's father had failed her in other dark and disturbing ways. She quotes a letter she sent him as an adult:

You never knocked before entering my bedroom. You commented often at the dinner table about my young breasts and tried to kiss me on the lips in a way that made me uncomfortable. I carried constant anger around as a defense, to ward you off. You tried to peek at me when I was an adolescent, naked in the shower.

Later, Goldberg says of Katagiri's behavior, "This was the same thing that happened with my father—different but the same." However, while the pain she felt at these two betrayals is obvious, the connections between Ben Goldberg's inappropriate parenting and Katagiri Roshi's inappropriate teaching are never fully explored. The discussion floats along the surface of these powerful issues, interspersed with various mundane details of Goldberg's life. There are moments of the clear, vibrant prose we have come to expect from Goldberg, including some amusing anecdotes about her failed attempts to explain Zen to her parents, but overall, the presentation is meandering and surprisingly flat.

Katagiri Roshi was part of that generation of Soto Zen teachers—including Taizan Maezumi Roshi, Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, and Kobun Chino Roshi—who arrived in California in the 1950s and '60s, and profoundly shaped Buddhist practice in America. By now it is well known that in the course of spreading the dharma, virtually every Buddhist lineage has been touched by scandal. To anyone familiar with books like Shoes Outside the Door, Michael Downing's account of Richard Baker Roshi's infidelities at the San Francisco Zen Center, Goldberg's shock at learning of Katagiri's missteps will seem quaint, if not disingenuous. "I had made him perfect so I could feel safe to go deep and let my life bloom," she writes. Students today no longer have that luxury.

The discussion of Katagiri Roshi's flirtations is especially unsatisfying. Although Goldberg describes some perfunctory attempts to dig deeper into the reports of misconduct, her investigation does not go much farther than a few phone calls and a pointless dinner with one of the women involved. If something about Katagiri Roshi made his transgressions more startling or devastating than those of other teachers, Goldberg doesn't tell us what it was. In fact, we too begin to wonder why no one found out about his behavior sooner.

The Great Failure is an immensely personal work and reads as if Goldberg followed her own advice to aspiring writers: letting the hand move continuously across the page, recording an unconstrained outpouring of memory and emotion. In the introduction she tells us she "wanted to learn the truth, to become whole," and "to illuminate the path of honesty." One can't help but feel that it was a necessary and healing book to write. But not, alas, to read.

Dan Zigmond is a writer, software engineer, and Zen priest living in California. He is a frequent contributor to Tricycle."

[Quelle: Dan Zigmond. -- In: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XIV, No.1 (Fall 2004). -- S. 98f.]


Abb.: Inserat von Zen by Design in Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XIII, No. 4 (Summer 2004). -- S. 109

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20


Abb.: Inserat von Carolina Morning Designs in Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XIII, No. 4 (Summer 2004). -- S. 110

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20


Akiko' Buddhist Bed and Breakfast, Big Island, Hawaii inseriert in Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XIII, No. 4 (Summer 2004). -- S. 124

Webpräsenz: -- Zugriff am 2005-06-20


Abb.: Tina Turner
[Bildquelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30]

Tina Turner (geb. 1939) gehört immer noch zu Soka Gakkai und bringt Farbe unter die amerikanischen, schweizerischen und französischen Buddhisten.

"Celebrity Buddhist - Tina Turner

One of the living example of how Buddhism can change ones life can be illustrated by the American black singer Tina Turner.

She was born on November 26, 1939, Brownsville, Tennessee, USA with her maiden name as Annie Mae Bullock. She had a lonely difficult childhood, with her parent constantly fighting each other. At 16, her father left her to marry another woman, and while she was still in high scholl, she was "discovered" by the R & B Band leader Ike Turner, who changed her name to Tina. He later made her a well known singer in the 60's. She beared a child named Raymond with the saxophone player of the Band, who left her without any notice.

Tina began to move into Ike's house and the two lived together. As "the Ike and Tina Revue" became well known and popular in America, the two got married in 1962 in Mexico. Tina expected a fantastic marriage, but Ike simply gave her a piece of paper and told her to "sign here". Throughout their relationship, Ike was in complete control of her life, beatting her up if she went out of his wishes. In another word, their marriage was stormy and violent. And for 14 years, she looked happy and wild in front of her audiences, but after the shows, she would return to a home with tears, fights and turbulance. It was her make-up that covered up her bruises when she sang on stage. She reached her lowest point in life .....until a Prince who lived 2,500 ago in India came into her heart and gave her strength and confidence.

In 1974, she met a woman named Valerie Bishop, a new secretary of the Turner Revue. Valerie was a Buddhist, who began to counsel her spiritually. Tina knew nothing about Buddhism before, and, almost immediately, the teachings of the Buddha - that nobody but you yourself is in control of your fate - struck a cord within her. Learning to chant "Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo" turned her anger into strength.

On July 2, 1976, while she and Ike were on a tour in Dallas, she finaly decided to hit back hard and walked out on him, ending a 16 years relationship of unhappiness and brutality. When she left, she only had 36 cents in her pocket, and had to seek refuge at her friend's house. Two years later, at the divorce court, she gave up everything materially, because to her freedom from suffering and happiness is more important than materialistic weath. And, believing in the Buddha's teaching that fate is in her own hands, she worked hard to restablish her singing career in the 80's and 90's. Finally, the seed that she planted was rippened and she won three grammy's awards in a row in 1985. The Tina without Ike was proven to be sucessful once again.

Today, Tina and her boyfriend for more than ten years, record executive Erwin Bach, live happily together in Zurich, Switzerland, and in their estate in the south of France. She plans to spread the words of Dharma after she retired from her singing career."

[Quelle: -- Zugriff am 2005-05-30]


Ein Leserbrief:

"In his profile of Trudi Jinpu Hirsch ("Embracing Everything," Spring 2005], John Kain writes that I gave dharma transmission to Hirsch. Actually, I gave her denkai, or Preceptor Transmission. The distinction is significant, as denkai empowers her to perform liturgies such as funerals and to give precepts and ordinations. These activities are in accord with chaplaincy work. Dharma transmission, on the other hand, is authority to teach in a formal way.

I enjoyed the piece, which I felt was very well done, but this distinction is an important one to make.

Roshi Enkyo O'Hara
Village Zendo New York, New York"

[Quelle: Tricycle : the Buddhist review. -- ISSN 1055-484X. -- Vol. XIV, No. 4 (Summer 2005). -- S. 11.

Zu 4.3.: Soka Gakkai in Amerika