Roshi Paul Genki Kahn has chosen to develop a new order for Zen that maintains the rigorous standards of traditional transmission, while expressing the values and needs of our time. This mind-to-mind transmission in the Zen lineage, is the heart of Zen Garland and the empowerment and authority for the various Paths.
All practitioners are encouraged to complete the Zen Garland General Path as a foundation for spiritual development.
Practitioners can join the Zen Buddhist Path at any point in their practice at the discretion of the Head Teachers, Roshi Genki, Roshi Jikai and Roshi Ankai. The Zen Buddhist Path offers holistic education and practice for those seeking a more structured and advanced spiritual direction in Zen Buddhism. We provide five Expressions – Spiritual Development, End of Life Caregiver, Teacher Training, Chaplaincy and Ordination as a Zen Buddhist Priest.
We generally want a practitioner to have five or ten years’ foundation of consistent spiritual practice under an accredited teacher before setting out on Teacher or Ordination Expressions. Exceptions are made depending on the maturity and life experience of an individual.
Some of our current landmarks in Teacher Expression are:
- Mentor who partners and encourages newcomers to the community.
- Instructor who teaches Introduction to Zen Practice.
- Head Trainee who is the head student for an Ango (Intense 3 month Training Period).
- Dharma Holder (Assistant Teacher) who can begin to guide a practitioner’s spiritual development.
- Sensei, an independent Zen Teacher.
- Roshi, a Master Zen Teacher, a teacher of teachers.
ORDINATION in Zen Garland Order
1. An applicant needs to have 3 to 5 years of steady Zen practice under the guidance of a teacher. The applicant has to apply to a Zen Garland Full Priest who is also a Dharma Successor for Ordination. That Teacher evaluates the applicant. If the Teacher feels the applicant is ready, he/she has the applicant write a short (2 page or less) statement why they want to be a Zen Priest and a spiritual autobiography, and attach a resume/ CV. The referring Teacher keeps a copy of the application, and sends another copy to the Zen Garland office, which is distributed to the Zen Garland Priests’ Council.
- Postulant, who aspires to ordain and helps care for the community and maintain the liturgy.
- Novice Priest, who engages in studies toward priesthood, including 2 year Pastoral Counseling Program, and helps maintain the community, liturgy and ceremonies. Cannot officiate services.
- Head Novice Priest for an Ango (Intense 3 month Training Period). Can officiate daily service. Cannot do weddings, funerals, Vows and Precepts, or Tokudo.
- Denkai Priest: Can officiate daily service, weddings, funerals, memorials, and Baby-Naming, and give Precepts and Vows.
- Full Priest & Dharma Successor: Can do all of the above as well as perform Ordination of Zen Garland Order Priests who have the approval of the Zen Garland Priests’ Committee.
2. A Foundation Year of training and evaluation begins when the Zen Garland office receives the application. During the year the priests work with the applicant and help both applicant and organization decide whether or not Priesthood in the Zen Garland Order is appropriate. During that year the applicant learns the liturgical instruments and positions, and engages in the Core Practices consistently (Zen meditation, study with a Zen Garland Teacher, Buddhist Studies, Inner Relationship Focusing Levels 1-4, Embodiment training, service).
At the end of the Foundation Year, if the Teacher and Priests are in agreement, a Novice Ordination date is set for the applicant. A Novice Priest cannot officiate any ceremonies, but helps support the liturgy and maintenance of the community.
Landmarks in Priest Path are: