Brevard Zen Center

Our Teachers

The Venerable Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi, founder, White Plum Asanga

Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi The Venerable Hakuyu Taizan Maezumi Roshi, 64, Abbot of the Zen Center of Los Angeles and a seminal influence on the growth of Zen Buddhism in the United States, died suddenly in Tokyo, Japan in the early morning hours of Monday, May 15 (Japanese time), 1995.

Maezumi Roshi was ordained as a Soto Zen monk at the age of eleven. He received degrees in Oriental Literature and Philosophy from Komazawa University and studied at Sojiji, one of the two main Soto monasteries in Japan. He received Dharma transmission from Hakujun Kuroda, Roshi, in1955. He also received approval as a teacher (Inka ) from both Koryu Osaka Roshi, and Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, thus becoming a Dharma successor in three lines of Zen.

In 1956, Maezumi Roshi came to Los Angeles as a priest at Zenshuji Temple, the Soto Headquarters of the United States. He devoted his life to laying a firm foundation for the growth of Zen Buddhism in the West. In1967, he established the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Its honorary founder is Baian Hakujun Daiosho, who headed the Soto Sect Supreme Court and was one of the leading figures of Japanese Soto Zen.

Maezumi Roshi established six temples in the United States and Europe that are formally registered with Soto Headquarters in Japan. In addition to ZCLA, these include Zen Mountain Center in California; Zen Community of New York (Tetsugen Glassman, Abbot); Kanzeon Zen Centers of Salt Lake City, Utah and Europe (Genpo Merzel, Abbot); and Zen Mountain Monastery in New York (Daido Loori, Abbot). Affiliated centers also include the Great Mountain Zen Center in Colorado (Shishin Wick, teacher), Zen Community of Oregon (Chozen Bays, teacher); Three Treasures Zen Community in San Diego (Jikyo Miller, teacher); Centro Zen de Mexico, Coyoacan (Tesshin Sanderson, teacher), and Centro Zen de la Cuidad deMexico. In addition, there are over fifty groups in the Americas and Europe that are affiliated with ZCLA.

In 1976, Maezumi Roshi established the Kuroda Institute for the Study of Buddhism and Human Values, a non-profit educational organization formed to promote scholarship on Buddhism in its historical, philosophical, and cultural ramifications. The Institute serves the scholarly community by providing a forum in which scholars can gather at conferences and colloquia. The Institute also publishes a book series with the University of Hawaii Press devoted to the translation of East Asian Buddhist classics and presentations of scholarly works from its conferences. Maezumi Roshi also founded the Dharma Institute in Mexico City.

Maezumi Roshi founded the White Plum Asanga, named after his father Baian Hakujun Daiosho. He transmitted the Dharma to twelve successors: Bernard Tetsugen Glassman (NY), Dennis Genpo Merzel (UT & Europe), Charlotte Joko Beck (CA), Jan Chozen Bays (OR), John Daido Loori (NY), Gerry Shishin Wick (CO), John Tesshin Sanderson (Mexico), Alfred Jitsudo Ancheta (CA), Charles Tenshin Fletcher (CA), Susan Myoyu Andersen (IL), Nicolee Jikyo Miller (CA), and William Nyogen Yeo (CA). These twelve successors have further transmitted the Dharma to nine"second-generation" successors. In America, Maezumi Roshi ordained 68
Zen priests and gave the lay Buddhist precepts to over 500 people.

As a major contribution to the transmission of Buddhist teachings to the West, Maezumi Roshi was instrumental in bringing to realization the formation of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association (SZBA) of American Soto Zen teachers. Maezumi Roshi also promoted exchange programs among priests and lay practitioners between the United States and Japan. He had published commentaries on major Buddhist works, and his collected works will be published posthumously.

Shortly before his death, Maezumi Roshi gave Inka to his senior disciple Tetsugen Glassman, Roshi, who in turn transmitted Inka to Genpo Merzel, Roshi, the present Spiritual Leader/President of the White Plum Asanga. Genpo Roshi in turn has transmitted Inka to Daido Loori, Roshi. Maezumi Roshi is survived by his wife Martha Ekyo Maezumi and their
three children, Kirsten Mitsuyo, Yuri Jundo and Shira Yoshimi, all of Idyllwild, CA.

Intimate funeral services and cremation were held in Tokyo, Japan on May 19 to 20, 1995. The main funeral was held on Sunday, August 27, 1995 in Los Angeles, CA.

Louis Mitsunen Kyogen Nordstrom Roshi

Lou Mitsunen Kyogen Nordstrom RoshiLou Mitsunen Kyogen Nordstrom Roshi received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Columbia University, where he taught until 1970. Roshi began Zen practice in the late 1960's. In 1974 he gave up a tenured teaching position at Marymount College to become a Rinzai Zen monk. He also edited Namu Dai Bosa: A Transmission of Zen Buddhism to America, an anthology of the works of Nyogen Senzaki, Soen Nakagawa Roshi, and Eido Shimano Roshi. From 1974 to1976 he served as Eido Roshi's head monk at Dai Bosatsu Zendo. Later he returned to college teaching at Syracuse University (Religion Department, Chaplain-for-Non-Western Religions, Hendricks Chapel).

 From 1980 to 1988 Roshi was Director of Training, Liturgy, and Study of the Zen Community of New York and was ordained a Soto Zen priest. Involvement with Bernard Tetsugen Glassman's center began with an encounter with Taizan Maezumi Roshi during which Maezumi Roshi indicated his desire for Lou to be his Dharma successor. He received Dharma Transmission from Tetsugen Roshi in 1998. Since 1989 has been doing adjunct and visiting college teaching (Yale, Wesleyan, NYU, Hunter, Baruch,Iona).

Since 1987 he has been leading Zen retreats in New York State, North Carolina, and here in Florida. He has published a study in comparative communication (Communication East and West), and numerous articles on Zen and comparative-philosophical themes. He lives in Lakeland, Florida.

Phil Zen Kai Thompson Roshi

Phil Zen
              Kai Thompson RoshiZen Kai was the only man to stop Mitsunen Kyogen Roshi in his tracks.

At the age of 89, while receiving the precepts during his Jukai cerenomy, Zen Kai was asked by Mitsunen Kyogen Roshi,  "Abstaining from sexual misconduct, do you vow to uphold this precept?"

Zen Kai sat motioneless, as if not hearing Roshi's question, staring straight ahead.

Roshi, thinking Zen Kai was having a "senior moment," repeated the question, raising his voice slightly. "Phil, do you vow to abstain from sexual misconduct?"

Without missing a beat, Zen Kai looked up at Roshi and said "I'm thinking about it."

The Sangha roared. It was a beautiful, memorable moment.

Phil was "the real deal"; Phil was Buddha. Making his acquaintance was a gift to those of us lucky enough to have met and spent time with him. 

Phil Zen Kai Thompson Roshi passed away on May 24th, 2011. He is greatly loved and sorely missed.

Jim Genjo Gallagher Sensei

Jim
              Genjo Gallagher Sensei
Genjo began zen practice in 1995 after reading Suzuki Roshi’s classic book, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. He attended several sesshins at different centers around the country to deepen his practice as there were no centers near his home in Melbourne Florida. He received Jukai at the Upaya center in Santa Fe New Mexico. At one retreat there he met Mitch Doshin Cantor of the Southern Palm Zen Group of Boca Raton Florida. At the next sesshin in Boca Raton he met Lou Mitsunen Nordstrom Sensei and became his student. He received Tokudo, novice priest ordination in 1999. Shortly thereafter, Genjo established a group in Melbourne Florida which evolved into the Brevard Zen Center, Kuge-In temple of Cocoa, Florida. In 1996 he became Mitsunen’s Dharma Holder and on March 29, 2014 received Dharma Transmission from Mitsunen at a sesshin at Kuge-In.

Genjo is an avionics Senior Systems Engineer and lives with his wife, Karen in Palm Bay Florida.