Friday, February 2, 2018


Though I'd been meditating with one teacher or another since 1966; I consider the early 80's with Hirotaka Okubo Sensei the time when I became 'serious' about my training.

Rev. Kaizan Kosaka is who I consider my root teacher. The training with Kosaka Sensei was in kyudo (Japanese Zen Archery); but it was much more than that. His indepth knowledge and experience in traditional Japanese Culture and arts is amazing. 

But the Buddhist Monks path I follow now really began only in 2000 with Rev. Ryugen Watanabe, my Zen Teacher. The training and practices at our temple, Kanzeonji, are in my bones... and a wonderful way to live.

When he asked me to mind the temple for him in 2016, it was an easy answer for me to say, 'of course'. But I realized that although I knew our daily way of living, there were ceremonies and other practices that were not in our daily lives. So I started to visit other Buddhist, temples, to see how things are done beyond our small walls.

Once they recognized me as a Buddhist Priest they gave me the opportunity to participate in their ceremonies. This has been a great experience for me to participate in ceremonies in several Buddhist Sects and temples. 

Thank you to all the Temple Priests who have allowed me to join them in their ceremonies.

Before I was recognized as a priest, I would just participate as a visitor for either regular services, zazen at the Zen Temples, or ceremonies like this Hanamatsuri.

Sesshin at Mongolia Zen Temple

Friday, December 29, 2017


As we re-establish the Zendo at Kanzeonji as Jizo-an, a new 36cm statue for the butsudan has arrived.

This Jizo that was always at Jizo-an since we first established it in 2012 was a wonderful little one. Maybe it's around 10cm high, which would now be overshadowed by the Kannon and Amida Butsu that are on the sides of the the same altar shelf.

The Kannon Bosatsu is about 34cm so it fits nicely to the side of the Jizo at Jizo-an with Amida Butsu on the other side.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Jukai - The 10 promises of the Bosatsu

10 Precepts:

1. Do not kill.
2. Do not steal.
3. Do not commit inappropriate sexual acts.
4. Do not lie.
5. Do not become intoxicated.
6. Do not gossip.
7. Do not brag.
8. Do not be stingy.
9. Do not be angry.
10. Do not speak ill of the Buddha, Dharma, or Sangha.

Different schools and teachers say these a bit differently; but the gist is the same on doing good, and not doing bad things.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mochitsuki 2017

It was great to participate in the Mochitsuki Day at the local Zen Temple. We chanted, pounded mocha, and a whole group of community activities. Lots and lots of volunteers spent the whole day, from early morning to evening. I spend most of my time in the kitchen peeling and cutting potatoes and other chores. It was a great day.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Soto Zen in the USA Timeline (a work in progress)

Soto Zen in U.S. (left in those that mix soto with other sects as well).

Early history
  • 1913: Shoboji founded by Hosen Isobe. It started off as a temporary Betsuin in a building named Yakushi Hall built by the Reverend Ryogo Mitsunaga, who died before the completion of the building. The present temple on Nuuanu Avenue was completed and dedicated in 1921 under the efforts of the Reverend Zenkyo Komagata who was the resident minister of the time.
  • 1922: Zenshuji Soto Mission is established in the Little Tokyo section of Los Angeles, California. Zenshuji was founded by Reverend Hosen Isobe to serve the growing Japanese-American community of Los Angeles.
  • 1934: Sokoji, San Fransisco area, founded by Hosen Isobe.
  • 1938: Soyu Matsuoka comes to U.S. as the Assistant Abbot at Zenshuji.
  • 1949: Soyu Matsuoka establishes the Chicago Buddhist Temple (now the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago).


  • 1953: Philip Kapleau begins formal Zen training in Japan with Soen Nakagawa.
  • 1956: Taizan Maezumi arrives in Los Angeles to serve at Zenshuji Soto Mission.
  • 1959: Shunryu Suzuki arrives in San Francisco to lead Sokoji.
  • 1959: Robert Baker Aitken and Anne Hopkins Aitken found the Diamond Sangha in Honolulu, Hawaii.


  • 1961: Yamada Reirin Arrives at Zenshuji after Suzuki Daito passes away.
  • 1962: The San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) is incorporated, led by Shunryu Suzuki.
  • 1964: Sojun Mel Weitsman begins practice at the old Sokoji Temple in San Francisco with Suzuki-roshi.
  • 1965: Sumi Roshi arrives at Zenshuji.
  • 1965: Philip Kapleau finishes The Three Pillars of Zen and returns to United States with permission from Haku'un Yasutani to teach Zen to Westerners.
  • 1966: San Francisco Zen Center acquires Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.
  • 1966: Philip Kapleau establishes the Rochester Zen Center with the help of Chester Carlson (founder of Xerox), and Carlson's wife.
  • 1967: January 1; The Zen Center of Los Angeles is founded by Taizan Maezumi and his students.
  • 1967: Daikaku Kongo Richard Langlois (1935 – 1999) ordained by Soyu Matsuoka.
  • 1967: Kobun Chino Otogawa arrives in San Francisco to assist Shunryu Suzuki.
  • 1967: Sojun Mel Weitsman and Shunryu Suzuki co-found the Berkeley Zen Center.
  • 1969: Zenkei Blanche Hartman begins sitting in 1969 at the Berkeley Zen Center with Sojun Mel Weitsman and in San Francisco with Suzuki-Roshi.
  • 1969: Shunryu Suzuki gives Zentatsu Richard Baker Dharma transmission.
  • 1969: Sojun Mel Weitsman receives priest ordination from Suzuki-Roshi.


  • 1970: Edward Espe Brown publishes the Tassajara Bread Book
  • 1970: Shunryu Suzuki's book Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind is published by Weatherhill
  • 1970: Shunryu Suzuki ordains Tenshin Reb Anderson.
  • 1970: Shasta Abbey is established in Mount Shasta, California by Jiyu Kennett.
  • 1970: Santa Cruz Zen Center is founded by Kobun Chino Roshi.
  • 1971: Daikaku Kongo Richard Langlois received dharma transmission from Soyu Matsuoka. Served as abbot of the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago for 28 years from 1971 to 1999.
  • 1971: Edward Espe Brown ordained by Shunryu Suzuki as Jusan Kainei
  • 1971: May 2nd, James Ishmael Ford received Dharma transmission from Houn Jiyu Kennett.
  • 1971: Soyu Matsuoka estalishes Zen Center of Long Beach in Long Beach California.
  • 1971: Taihaku Priest is sent by Suzuki Roshi to Japan to study Buddhism.
    She practiced under Noiri Hakusan and Tanaka Shinkai.
  • 1971: Shunryu Suzuki dies.
  • 1971: Yamada Koun moves to Diamond Sangha in Hawaii to lead sesshin.
  • 1971: Kobun Chino Otogawa becomes abbot of Haiku Zen Center.
  • 1972: Green Gulch Farm opens in Muir Beach, CA as part of the San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 1972: Dainin Katagiri founds the Minnesota Zen Center.
  • 1973: Jakusho Kwong founds the Sonoma Mountain Zen Center.
  • 1974: Robert Baker Aitken receives teaching permission from Yamada Koun.
  • 1974: The Chicago Zen Center is founded by Philip Kapleau.
  • 1975: Taizan Maezumi founds the White Plum Asanga.
  • 1975: The Nebraska Zen Center is founded by Dainin Katagiri in Omaha, Nebraska, currently led by Rev. Nonin Chowaney.
  • 1976: Bodhin Kjolhede ordained...
  • 1976: Shohaku Okumura helps found Pioneer Valley Zendo in Charlemont, MA.
  • 1976: Tetsugen Bernard Glassman becomes Taizan Maezumi's first Dharma successor.
  • 1977: Kyogen Carlson receives Dharma transmission from Jiyu Kennett.
  • 1977?: The Atlanta Soto Zen Center is founded by Zenkai Michael Elliston.
  • 1977: Zenkei Blanche Hartman priest ordained by Zentatsu Baker-roshi.


  • 1980: Dennis Genpo Merzel receives shiho (permission to teach) from Taizan Maezumi.
  • 1980: Hartford Street Zen Center is established.
  • 1980: Zen Mountain Monastery in founded in Mount Tremper, New York by Taizan Maezumi and John Daido Loori.
  • 1982: Taizan Maezumi founds Yokoji Zen Mountain Center.
  • 1983: Jan Chozen Bays receives Dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi.
  • 1983?: Charlotte Joko Beck receives Dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi.
  • 1983: Zentatsu Richard Baker confers Dharma transmission to Tenshin Reb Anderson.
  • 1983: Taizan Maezumi is confronted about his sexual relationships with some students and enters alcoholism treatment.
  • 1983: Gengo Akiba dedicates Kojin-an in Oakland California.
  • 1984: Kanzeon-ji in Mount Washington California is Dedicated as a Zen Temple by Soyu Matsuoka and Zenko Ryugen Watanabe is installed as its Abbot.
  • 1984: Sojun Mel Weitsman receives dharma transmission from Suzuki-roshi's son, Hoitsu.
  • 1984: Zentatsu Richard Baker resigns as abbot of San Francisco Zen Center amidst controversy.
  • 1984: Katagiri Roshi, abbot of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, agrees to serve as interim abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 1984: The Kanzeon Zen Center is founded by Dennis Genpo Merzel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • 1984: The New Orleans Zen Temple is founded by Robert Livingston in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1984: Sojun Mel Weitsman receives Dharma transmission from Hoitsu Suzuki, son of Shunryu Suzuki.
  • 1985: Hogaku Ken McGuire establishes a sitting group in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
  • 1985: Tenshin Reb Anderson succeeds Dainen Katagiri Roshi as abbot of San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 1985: Robert Baker Aitken receives Dharma transmission from Yamada Koun.
  • 1985: Sojun Mel Weitsman is installed as abbot of Berkeley Zen Center.
  • 1986: Daido Loori received shiho (dharma transmission) from Taizan Maezumi.
  • 1986: Bodhin Kjolhede received dharma transmission.
  • 1986: Bodhin Kjolhede is installed as abbot of Rochester Zen Center as Philip Kapleau retires.
  • 1986: Sojun Mel Weitsman joins Tenshin Reb Anderson as co-abbot of San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 1986: Toronto Zen Center is incorporated.
  • 1986: Village Zendo is established in New York in the apartment of Pat Enkyo O'Hara.
  • 1987: Maitri Hospice begins caring for AIDS patients at the Hartford Street Zen Center (the first Buddhist hospice of its kind in the United States)
  • 1987: Issho Fujita becomes abbot of Pioneer Valley Zendo in Charlemont, Massachusetts.
  • 1988: Taihaku Priest receives Jukai from Noiri Hakusan Roshi.
  • 1988: Blanche Hartman receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman.
  • 1988: Daijaku Judith Kinst was ordained in 1988 from Sojun Weitsman.
  • 1988: Yamada Koun gives Dharma transmission to Ruben Habito.
  • 1988: Sojun Mel Weitsman is installed as co-abbot of San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 1988: Zoketsu Norman Fischer receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman.
  • 1989: Issan Dorsey becomes abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center.
  • 1989?: The American Zen Teachers Association is founded.
  • 1989: Nonin Chowaney receives Dharma transmission from Dainin Katagiri
  • 1989: Yamada Koun dies.
  • 1989: Shotai De La Rosa began her practice in Bogotá, Colombia


  • 1990: Issan Dorsey dies of AIDS.
  • 1990: Gerry Shishin Wick receives Dharma transmission from Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi.
  • 1990: Dainin Katagiri dies.
  • 1990: Trudi Jinpu Hirsch Abramson  received Jukai.
  • 1991: The Maria Kannon Zen Center is founded by Ruben Habito in Dallas, Texas.
  • 1991: Zenshin Philip Whalen becomes the new abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center.
  • 1991: The Mount Equity Zendo is founded by Dai-En Bennage in Pennsdale, Pennsylvania.
  • 1991: Trudi Jinpu Hirsch Abramson is ordained on Oct 20th.
  • 1994: John Daido Loori received a Dendo Kyoshi certificate formally from the Soto school of Japan.
  • 1994: Charles Tenshin Fletcher receives Dharma transmission from Taizan Maezumi.
  • 1994: Still Mind Zendo founded by Janet Jiryu Abels and Father Robert Kennedy in New York City
  • 1994: Enkyo Pat O'Hara receives shiho from Tetsugen Bernard Glassman.
  • 1994: Taigen Dan Leighton founds Mountain Source Sangha.
  • 1995: Taizan Maezumi dies May 15
  • 1995: Steve KoZen Hon and Nita JunShin Hon founded the Sangha of the Compassionate Heart in Long Beach, California.
  • 1995: Charles Tenshin Fletcher appointed abbot of Yokoji Zen Mountain Center.
  • 1995: The Ordinary Mind School is founded by Charlotte Joko Beck.
  • 1995: Taitaku Pat Phelan receives shiho from Sojun Mel Weitsman.
  • 1995: Zoketsu Norman Fischer becomes abbot of San Francisco Zen Center, and serves until 2000
  • 1995: Shodo Harada founds One Drop Zendo on Whidbey Island in Washington state.
  • 1996: February; Zenkei Hartman becomes Abbess of San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 1996: Daido Loori gave dharma transmission to his student Bonnie Myotai Treace.
  • 1996: Blanche Hartman becomes co-abbot of San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 1996: The Zen Peacemaker Order is founded by Bernard Glassman and his wife, Sandra Jishu Holmes.
  • 1996: The Sanshin Zen Community is founded by Shohaku Okumura in Bloomington, Indiana
  • 1996: Jiyu Kennett dies November 6
  • 1996: Jiko Linda Cutts receives Dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson.
  • 1996: The Hazy Moon Zen Center is founded by William Nyogen Yeo in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1996: Bonnie Myotai Treace receives Dharma transmission from John Daido Loori in The Mountains and Rivers Order.
  • 1996: Ejo McMullen ordained by Joshin Keira Roshi of Sendai, Japan.
  • 1996: Bernard Glassman confers Dharma Transmission to Dennis Genpo Merzel.
  • 1997: July, Geoffrey Shugen Arnold received Shiho from John Daido Loori.
  • 1997: Catholic priest Father Robert Kennedy receives inka from Bernard Glassman.
  • 1997: Soyu Matsuoka dies.
  • 1998: Maylie Scott receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman.
  • 1998: Hozan Alan Senauke receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman.
  • 1998: Trudi Jinpu Hirsch Abramson received Denkai from Enkyo O’Hara Roshi, on December 30th.
  • 1999: Taihaku Priest receives priest ordination from Tanaka Shinkai Roshi.
  • 1999: Genjo Marinello founds Chobo-ji.
  • 1999: Joan Halifax receives Dharma transmission from Bernard Glassman.
  • 1999: John Tarrant establishes the Pacific Zen Institute.
  • 1999: Zen Center of Pittsburgh - Deep Spring Temple is founded by Nonin Chowaney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 1999: Ejo McMullen succeeds into Keira Roshi’s dharma line.


  • 2000: Taigen Daniel Leighton receives Dharma transmission from Tenshin Reb Anderson.
  • 2000: Harvey Daiho Hilbert ordained by Rev. Hogaku Shozen McGuire.
  • 2000: Harvey Daiho Hilbert is installed as abbot of Daibutsuji Zen Temple and re-establishes the Zen Center of Las Cruces in New Mexico.
  • 2000: Sweetwater Zen Center established in National City, California.
  • 2000: Janet Jiryu Abels received dharma transmission from Robert Jinsen Kennedy.
  • 2000: Ryushin Creedon begins training with Chozen and Hogen Bays
  • 2001: Maylie Scott dies May 10, age 66
  • 2002: Peter Schneider receives Dharma transmission from Sojun Mel Weitsman.
  • 2002: Zenshin Philip Whalen, abbot of Hartford Street Zen Center, dies on June 26.
  • 2002: Great Vow Zen Monastery founded by Jan Chozen Bays and Hogen Bays in Clatskanie, Oregon.
  • 2002: Kobun Chino Otogawa drowns in Switzerland.
  • 2002: Seirin Barbara Kohn becomes head priest and guiding teacher of Austin Zen Center in Austin, Texas.
  • 2003: Paul Haller becomes abbot of San Francisco Zen Center.
  • 2003: Daniel Doen Silberberg receives Dharma transmission from Dennis Genpo Merzel.
  • 2003: Kosho McCall receives Dharma Transmission from Zenkei Hartman Roshi.
  • 2004: Philip Kapleau dies on May 6 from complications of Parkinson's disease.
  • 2004: Daijaku Judith Kinst receives dharma transmission from Sojun Weitsman.
  • 2004: Angie Boissevain receives Dharma transmission from Vanja Palmers, a Dharma heir of Kobun Chino Otogawa.
  • 2004: Ejo McMullen founds Buddha Eye Temple.
  • 2004: Enkyo Pat O'Hara receives Dharma transmission from Tetsugen Bernard Glassman.
  • 2005: Harvey Daiho Hilbert receives Dharma transmission from Hogaku Shozen McGuire and founds Order of Clear Mind Zen.
  • 2005: Taihaku Priest receives Dharma transmission from Tanaka Shinkai Roshi. She establishes Shao Shan Temple, a small country temple in Vermont.
  • 2005: Ryushin Creedon is ordained.
  • Shotai De La Rosa receives Dharma transmission from Shohaku Okumura Roshi.
  • 2006: Gerry Shishin Wick receives Dharma transmission from Bernard Glassman.
  • 2006: Merle Kodo Boyd becomes first African-American woman to receive Dharma transmission from Wendy Egyoku Nakao.
    2007, Gudo Wafu Nishijima names Brad Warner the leader of Dogen Sangha International which Nishijima had founded.
  • 2007: Rochester Zen Center completes country zendo in Batavia New York called Chapin Mill Zen Retreat Center.
  • 2007: Shotai De La Rosa receives the title of kyoshi of the Soto Zen Buddhist School.
  • 2008: Daishin McCabe receives Transmission by Abbess Dai-En.
  • 2008: Eric Travis Begins sitting at the Austin Zen Center.
  • 2009: Ancient Dragon Zen Gate is founded by Taigen Daniel Leighton in Chicago.
  • 2009: May; Kosho McCall becomes Teacher and Head Priest of Austin Zen Center
  • 2009: John Daido Loori dies in New York at age 78 in Mount Tremper.


  • 2010: Robert Aitken dies in Hawaii at age 93.
  • 2010: Daishin McCabe recognized as a teacher within the Soto Zen Buddhist Association in North America.
  • 2010: Eko Little resigns as abbot of Shasta Abbey due to misconduct and subsequently disrobes
  • 2010: The Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) approves a document honoring the women ancestors in the Zen tradition at its biannual meeting on October 8th, 2010. Female ancestors, dating back 2,500 years from India, China, and Japan, may now be included in the curriculum, ritual, and training offered to Western Zen students.
  • 2011: February, Dennis Genpo Merzel steps down as abbot of the Kanzeon Zen Center and resigns as elder of the White Plum Asanga due to sexual misconduct.
  • 2011 Ryushin Creedon moves to Portland Oregon to support the founding of Heart of Wisdom Zen Temple, and he currently serves as the Head of Zendo.
  • 2011: Joko Beck dies.
  • 2012: Jan 7th, Ryugen Watanbe of Kanzeon-ji dedicates Jizo-an in S. Pasadena California as a Zen Temple and installs his disciple Jyozen as its Anjyu.
  • 2012: Helen Cortes, Lee Ann Nail and Maria Reis-Habito received Dharma Transmission from Ruben Habito of Maria Kannon Zen Center.
  • 2012: Dana Kojun Hull receives Dharma Transmission from Jan Chozen Bays and Hogen Bays at Great Vow Zen Monastery.
  • 2012: December; Eric Travis receives the bodhisattva precepts at the Austin Zen Center.
  • 2012: April Brad Warner dissolves Dogen Sangha International.
  • 2105: Dec. 1st Ryugen Watanabe confers dendoshi on Jyozen.
  • 2016: Jyozen assumes jushoku roll at Kanzeonji with the semi-retirement of Ryugen Watanabe.
  • 2017: January 6, Joshin and Genzan complete the transmission ceremony with Roshi Joan at Upaya Zen Center.

Sources: Wikipedia plus other online websites and pages from each individual their organizations or personal accounts.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Rev. Kushita Visits Nov. 15 2017

Though Rev. Kushita and I performed our practice at Kanzeonji, we also had a moment to visit Zenshuji, during is brief visit.