Seiso Paul Cooper

Seiso Paul Cooper took jukai – the ceremony in which one formally accepts the precepts and declares oneself a Buddhist – for the first time with Eido Shimano in the Rinzai tradition in the 1980s. He was unable, however, to form a personal relationship with Shimano as a teacher. “I’d just see him on retreatsContinue reading “Seiso Paul Cooper”

Hozan Alan Senauke

In the midst of the Vietnam War, students at Columbia protested the university’s involvement in the war effort by occupying the administration building. The police intervened with force. 132 students, four faculty members as well as twelve police officers were injured, and over 700 protesters were arrested. Alan Senauke – now Vice Abbot of theContinue reading “Hozan Alan Senauke”

Rebecca Li

Rebecca Li teaches within the North American Chan tradition. “Zen” is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese character denoting “Chan” – 禪. The practice first arose in China, and the classic koan collections are all Chinese. Rebecca is a second-generation Dharma heir of Chan Master Sheng Yen, whose Dharma Drum Foundation now has affiliate centersContinue reading “Rebecca Li”

Zengetsu Myōkyō Judith McLean

Enpuku-ji is a small Rinzai temple on rue Saint-Dominique in Montreal. It is entered through a small side-garden. The only signage is a notice on the gate post bearing the single word “Zen,” an arrow pointing right, and the street address. The abbess, Myokyo Judith McLean walks up the street just as I pull intoContinue reading “Zengetsu Myōkyō Judith McLean”

Jan Chozen Bays

The Great Vow Monastery is located in Clatskanie, Oregon, a self-proclaimed Christian township of 1700 persons. It is the residential practice center for the Zen Community of Oregon and is under the leadership of Jan Chozen Bays and her husband, Hogen. Great Vow is dedicated to Jizo Bodhisattva, the protector of children, which seems appropriateContinue reading “Jan Chozen Bays”

David Weinstein

Koan study is central to the work being carried out at John Tarrant’s Pacific Zen Institute, but when David Weinstein, a supervising teacher at the Institute, first encountered koans, he resisted them. His Buddhist practice began in Nepal, where – while taking a break from teaching English abroad – he visited the Kopan Monastery outsideContinue reading “David Weinstein”

John Tarrant

One of the Zen teachers I was most eager to meet when I undertook my pilgrimage was John Tarrant. I had been taking a medication for osteoporosis – Fosamax – which had this peculiar side effect: it resulted in spontaneous femur breaks. One didn’t fall and break one’s leg; one’s leg broke and then oneContinue reading “John Tarrant”

Sojun Mel Weitsman

During my meeting with the abbots at the San Francisco Zen Center, all three were wearing rakusus – the bib-like garment which represents the Buddha’s patch-work robe.  Steve Stücky wore his over the traditional brown robes of a monk, Blanche Hartman over black, and Mel Weitsman wore his under a worn jean jacket. None ofContinue reading “Sojun Mel Weitsman”

Zenkei Blanche Hartman

               This is the story Blanche Hartman told me about how she first became engaged in Zen practice: “One day in 1969 I was at the house of my best friend, and we were just having coffee. She had a headache, and it was so bad she asked me, ‘Could you see that?’ I said,Continue reading “Zenkei Blanche Hartman”