Roshi Paul Genki Kahn
Roshi Paul Genki Kahn and the Board of Directors of High Mountain Crystal Lake Zen Community are founding Zen Garland: An International Spiritual Community Serving Individual and Social Transformation. Zen Garland will provide four functions, an order for Zen, a Seminary, a center for Zen practice and social action projects to assist individuals and communities.
Zen Garland is founded on the wellspring of wisdom and compassion: we aspire to love and care for all creation because it is our Self. Zen Garland is created to help fulfill Roshi Genki’s vows (Bodhicitta and Bodhisattva Vows) to work for the awakening of all beings and to transmit this enlightenment and mission mind-to-mind to successors.
The Zen Garland Community is committed to the spiritual transformation of individuals, families and communities. Zen Garland is open to people drawn to a holistic and personal way of spiritual development, and to an engaged spirituality that actively works for social justice.
Our training place is the world and daily life, not a refuge from it. Our approach is to practice with all aspects of our lives, including the complex dimensions of our emotions, sexuality, relationships and work. Nonviolence, connection and cooperation for the well-being of all are the touchstones by which we test the merit of our actions.
Zen Garland is named for the Flower Garland Sutra (Avatamsaka), sacred to the Hua Yen school of Buddhism, a major source for Zen. Hua-yen presents a liberating vision of the radical interrelatedness of all events and experiences, a unity amidst diversity wherein each and every particular phenomenon is seen both to incorporate and be absorbed by all other phenomena, without ever losing its own unique identity. This describes the world of enlightenment, our very world, One, totally Interdependent, and sacred.
This image of a garland, different flowers, each with its own identity, interwoven on a single vine., expresses the unity in diversity of the Zen Garland Community. Zen Garland consists of diverse member groups from various faiths and various forms of practice, including Zen Buddhist groups and centers for Native American spirituality, Christian Zen Ministry, Aikido, and Yoga. We maintain core practices and teaching standards in common, while supporting our diversity of expressions. Zen itself opens us to the richness of life, and life itself offers infinite paths for practicing Zen.
The holistic approach to spiritual development at Zen Garland includes an active relationship with a Zen Garland Teacher and Member Community, Zen meditation, study of key texts in Zen, Buddhism, and other sources, spirituality for social justice, yoga, Chi Gung and Aikido for embodiment, ethics, interpersonal group practices, inner Relationship Focusing to enhance emotional growth, and Service as a way of being.
Zen Garland has Members and Member Communities around the world united by common purposes and values, shared core practices and liturgy. We draw inspiration from innumerable instances of human courage, cooperation, compassion and triumph over adversity.
This order is founded through the authority of the Soto Zen Buddhist lineage of Taizan Maezumi Roshi, and Paul Genki Kahn’s empowerments in that lineage as a Full Priest (Denkai), as a Zen Teacher (Denbo), and as a Master Zen Teacher (Inka).
Our purposes in founding Zen Garland are to:
- provide a graduated, holistic and diverse structure for the spiritual development of Zen practitioners, using effective classical and innovative methods that deepen understanding and lead to awakening;
- provide training paths and empowerments to develop Zen Teachers;
- provide ordination paths for Zen Buddhist Priests, Christian Zen Ministers and Zen Interfaith Ministers;
- advance the vision, values and mission of Zen Garland in the world;
- create a Seminary and Residential Training Institute where we can develop philosophy, ethics, liturgy, vestments, practices and training paths appropriate for our various missions and roles in the current world;
- promote Social Engagement by Buddhists and other Spiritual Practitioners;
- create projects and programs providing needed services in the world;
- develop and support Zen Garland Member Groups throughout the world;
- explore how Zen practice, understanding and realization can creatively interact with other practices, arts and professions;