About Zen Garland

Cultivating the “ever intimate” (SHINZO)
Reclaiming the world as sacred

The Zen Garland Order was Co-founded by Roshi Paul Genki Kahn and Roshi Monika Genmitsu Kahn. We are an affiliation of formally empowered Zen Masters (Roshi), Teachers (Sensei), and Assistant Teachers (Dharma Holders) in the lineage of Taizan Maezumi Roshi.  We hold in common an ethical code and standards for empowerments and teach a shared curriculum of Core Practices and Training Paths.

Each of our teachers has refined their awakening and developed their skills and talents through decades of personal practice. Each Zen Garland Teacher has their own talents, creativity, and specializations.  They carry on their work with students in their own style and offer unique personal approaches to Zen training.

Siddhartha Gautama of the Shakya Clan, known as the Awakened One, The Buddha, was impelled to take up his spiritual quest when he realized the extent of suffering in the human condition. He saw that sickness, loss, disappointment, old age and death were the common lot.  Human suffering. The 8-Fold Path of spiritual development he created is intended to lead practitioners from suffering to salvation, healing and liberation:

• Salvation from the fear of death;

• Healing in a felt-sense of wholeness however difficult the physical, mental and situational circumstance; and

• Liberation in finding meaning and fulfillment in every action and activity.

Zen is a Buddhist spiritual tradition and set of practices that transcends religion and dogma and is open to all. Zen is a way of being in direct and intimate connection to life that illuminates the sacredness of everything and every moment. Zen trains practitioners in skills that enable us to live our ordinary lives supremely well and act in the world as a “field of benefaction.” Dogen Zenji calls this shinzo, “the ever intimate.” Human nature is this intimate, unified inter-relatedness of all creation. The place of wholeness, salvation, and liberation is this intimate connection with life, moment by lived moment, which we describe as “reclaiming the world as sacred.”

Some come to Zen to find inner peace and relief from stress, conflict, and suffering. Others come hungering for an intimate and meaningful connection to themselves, their families and friends, their communities and their work. Some come to develop concentration, BodyMind integration, or to expand a sense of unity they have experienced. Many come to find salvation, healing and liberation.

We aspire to provide open, welcoming communities for spiritual development, accessible to people with varying goals and at different stages of development. Our teachers value and respect each practitioner and offer skillful and caring guidance in a safe, structured, and supportive environment. We treat each practitioner as an individual, helping them develop a personal spiritual practice appropriate to their needs, the context of their life and talents, and shaped by their aspirations.

We are part of the Socially Engaged Buddhism Movement and encourage envisioning life as service. Our organizations and members originate and participate in existing practical projects to support marginalized people and assuage the ecological crisis.

“Where you stand, where you are, that’s what your life is right there, regardless of how painful it is or how enjoyable it is. That’s what it is.”

Taizan Maezumi Roshi

Support Our Work

Dana - Generosity, the first of the six perfections of wisdom.

"I vow to seek what is needed responsibly,
To share generously,
To work well with what I have,
And to take only what is freely given."
… from the Zen Garland Vows, Vow 7

The Zen Garland Order operates in the black. Our only debt is a deep debt of gratitude to the members and friends who donate so generously to support us, and who fill our programs, classes and retreats.

Membership is the most direct way a practitioner can help sustain our order and local communities. But membership and fees for our programs only cover our operating costs. Money to provide scholarships, stipends for our full time staff and expansion all must come from Dana, the spiritual giving by our friends and members.