Inoue Gien Roshi (1894-1981)
Born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1894. He enlightened in 1919 at the age of 25 and inherited the Dharma discovered by the Buddha. In 1924, he became abbot of Ryusenji Temple in Hamamatsu. From 1925, he was the Zen teaching master at Kokutaiji Temple, Kahaisai Temple, Nitaiji Temple, and Toyama Nunnery. He also served as president of the Soto Sect Teachers' Association. In 1970, he was invited to the New York Zen Center to teach zazen, and traveled again to the US and France in 1971. In 1984, he appeared on Japanese national television, NHK’s “Shukyo no Jikan” (“Religion Hour”), exposing many viewers to the true Dharma for the first time, and caused a sensation. Many of his teisho (Zen lectures) have been compiled in Japanese.
Gien Roshi was known as a Zen master of the calibre seen only once in 600 years, as he taught with profound clarity. He conveyed the true essence of Zen in colloquial terms, without using difficult Buddhist terminology, and both monks and laypeople from throughout Japan went to learn from him. He died in 1981 at age 88.
Recently published in English:
A Blueprint of Enlightenment: A Contemporary Commentary on Dōgen Zenji’s Gakudō Yōjinshū “Guidelines for Studying the Way”
Inoue Kando Roshi
Kando Roshi was born in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1944, the fifth son of Inoue Gien Roshi. His mother died when he was two, so he found comfort in staying at his father’s feet. This meant that from a young age, he was often in the presence of monks in training. He himself ordained at the age of 10. When he was 14, he began training at Hosshinji under Harada Sogaku Roshi and Harada Sessui Roshi. He enlightened at age 16, and twenty years later, received inka shomei from Gien Roshi, who designated him as his Dharma heir. At age 20, he began training at Daihonzan Sojiji Temple to be shike (one qualified to guide ascetic monks). He completed his training at age 25, and has since been appointed to teach at various Soto Sect training monasteries. He was abbot of Shorinji Temple in Shizuoka Prefecture from 1971 to 2015. He now dedicates his time to conveying the true Dharma far and wide. There are many videos and compilations of his lectures in Japanese. In April 2020, he began online zazen due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In 2021, he began Dharma talks online at the Olympia Zen Center.
His talks at Olympia Zen Center (with English interpreting) are on YouTube.
Aug 25 Our next zazenkai will be in November. Please check here for dates.
Aug 7 Please reserve early. Reservations will close 24 hours prior to the start of zazenkai.
July 31 August zazenkai are Aug 9 (18:00 Japan time) and Aug 23 (7:00am Japan time). Click here for reservations.
July 13 We changed our name from "Simply Zen" to "Simply Zen Online."
We started zazenkai twice a month! Regardless of your time zone, there is zazenkai at least once a month. See the group zazenkai page for the schedule.
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