Archive for November, 2010

Seiun Genro: Thank you

On November 28 at about 10 pm local time (Vienna, Austria) Seiun Genro, Osho (清雲玄朗和尚), passed away. Genro was my first Zen teacher in Austria and I have known him for over 28 years. Learning about Genro’s passing brings up the main issues that Joshu Roshi asks us to study: sickness, old age, and death.

I sat my first sesshin in Austria with Genro, having had no prior sitting experience. We exchanged some letter beforehand – me looking for advice how to go to Japan and enter a monastery for training. Genro responded immediately, telling me there is no need to go to Japan, just come and try sitting with him first. I trusted him – without any preparation I signed up for a 7-day retreat and ended up sitting right in front of his seat – the prime spot to be corrected and yelled at at any moment. I survived the sesshin, much thanks to my stubborn nature to go through with this. My early Zen education is based on what Genro taught me. He was a great disciplinarian, with a lot of attention to detail. He also was a great teacher to instill the basic attitudes to enter into the practical aspect of Zen studies. His talks came from his experiences in life, filled with usable advice, clear instruction, and the authority of someone who had lived through what it takes to arrive at what he was talking about.

Training at Mt. Baldy I remember a few Summer Seichus in the late 80’s when Genro still participated in training, holding the tanto position. I recall the fellow students sitting on the tan cringing when he hit me with the keisaku – freely putting himself fully (yes, fully) into using Manjushri’s sword to cut off any ideas and thinking. Commuting between Baldy and Austria was an interesting experience, helping Genro with sesshin after I was ordained by Joshu Roshi in 1989. It went on until I moved to the US in 1994, I practically participated and helped out in all retreats that Genro gave in Austria and Germany.

Last October Rinzai-ji hosted a special Dai-sesshin for the European sangha – and Genro came. It was nice to be with him again, after so many years that had passed since we sat together. Great gratitude is in my heart for having been introduced to this path by Genro – without that I would not be who and what I am today, nor would I be where I am. This shall stand as my expression of my deepest respect for the teacher Genro, who gave birth to me as a practitioner. In a book to commemorate 15 years of Bodhidharma Zendo in Vienna I wrote something like: “I see Genro as a father, who helped conceive me as a Zen practitioner, and Joshu Roshi as a mother who is now trying to make a man out of the child.” This hold true to this day.

Genro –

Countless thanks and my deepest gratitude shall be expressed here for your life, your work, and your teaching. You have touched many lives, and as for me, given me a life full of meaning, wonder, and the foundation to move towards a more mature human being through Zen practice.

Thank you,

Kyoon Dokuro, Osho

Urban Rohatsu Dec. 6 – 12

This year we are offering our first “Urban Rohatsu”. As an urban place of practice we are here to meet the needs of working people who want to take advantage of the possibility to practice Zen. The Rohatsu Sesshin is the most intense practice period in the traditional monastic setting and we are attempting to bring that intensity into the daily schedule of those who cannot participate in a residential Rohatsu retreat.

We start out on Monday, December 6 with the regular evening schedule. Throughout the week there will be morning sitting from 5:30 am till 7:30 am. The morning schedule includes choka, the morning chanting, and a lot of sitting. Participants will leave, go to work, to school, or whatever their day demands of them and return in the evening for the regular 7:30 pm to 9:00 pm schedule. There will be a Dharma Talk on Monday evening, Wednesday morning, and Friday evening; the Tuesday and Thursday sittings will offer the opportunity for informal interviews with the abbot.

The high point of the Urban Rohatsu will be the weekend: Saturday from 6:00 am – 9:00 pm, three formal meals, a full sesshin-like schedule that consists of zazen, kinhin, Dharma Talk, informal interviews, and a short cleaning period called nitten soji. Unlike other retreats we hold during the year, there will be no work period (samu) and that time will be replaced with sitting. Following this strict schedule will allow for an intense opportunity to relate to the spirit of Rohatsu. Sunday morning we’ll begin at 7:00 am, have an informal silent breakfast at 9:00 am, sit a little more, and end with the jodo-e (成道会) ceremony, celebrating Buddha’s enlightenment.

The sittings during the week are free, as usual we ask for a voluntary contribution of $3 – $5 for a sitting. For Saturday and Sunday we are asking for contributions to cover the food expenses.


All day: $85 ($75 for members)
Part-time: $30 per meal ($25 for members)


All day: $25 ($20 for members)

Signup is required for the weekend portion to allow for proper food planning. Please contact us to sign-up via e-mail or leave a message at 617-491-8857.