Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Followers of the Way

While other Zen Schools disappeared only the teachings of Rinzai and Dogen (Soto) Schools of Zen were transmitted to Japan during the 13th Century. Hakuin Zenji (1685 – 1768) revitalized Rinzai's teachings and his lineage continued throughout Japan until this very day. Ryutakuji, founded by Hakuin Zenji continued the Rinzai lineage through the 20th Century with Gempo Yamamoto Roshi and Soen Nakagawa Roshi.

As a young monk Eido Tai Shimano received Rinzai Zen training at Ryutakuji. After many years of training he became Dharma Heir of Soen Roshi. Eido Roshi is currently the only bilingual and bi‐cultural Rinzai Zen master in America. He translated "The Book of Rinzai" (as quoted here) from the Chinese language into English. He has been teaching Zen Buddhism in the United States for over one half century and established the NY Zendo Shobo‐ji in 1968 and the Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo‐ji in 1976.

After Eido Roshi retired from the responsibility of Abbot of Zen Studies Society, a number of senior students asked him to continue his teaching, while respecting his retirement schedule and his personal duties. They continue to organize various Zen activities and traditional Rinzai Zen ceremonies. Eido Roshi has been leading sesshins in Switzerland and Turkey.

During his long career Eido Roshi has been a very effective teacher. We have strong karmic affinity with him and appreciate his teaching style. He is able to convey the True Spirit of Rinzai Zen and subtlety of Dharma.  Few of us feel responsible for his Dharma to continue and want him to lead us on the way, as long as he is able.

History teaches us that it may take at least two to three hundred years for the transition of any tradition from one culturally and religiously diverse nation to another. Eido Roshi often said that, "Westernization of Zen is inevitable, but with too quick Western transition the resulting practice loses the subtle essential taste of Zen." Eido Roshi emphasizes the importance of Zazen practice, instead of intellectual debates and analysis.

We are senior Zen students who wish to support Eido Roshi’s continued teaching of authentic Rinzai Zen. To realize this objective we declare the establishment of a new organization, the RINZAI ZEN SANGHA, which does not affiliate itself with any other Zen Buddhist organization. We have strong connections with Japanese Zen monasteries and Zen Centers around the world.

We requested that Eido Roshi remain active during his formal retirement years to guide us in our continued practice of Rinzai Zen. He responded, “As long as you take care of everything, and if my schedule and duties allow, I will lend my support whenever you ask.”

"Pursue not if he leaves, refuse not if he comes.”

This is our motto. Please come and do Zazen with us.


The Rinzai Zen Sangha