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

2 Responses to “Seiun Genro: Thank you”

  • Ike:

    I had only one possibility for contact with Genro, but it was a teaching: There was a DBU-congress in Munich and it was my task to write short biographies about the referees. I sent them to every person with the request for correction the personal dates. Every letter came back with (more or less many) corrections. But the biography of Genro came back exactly as I had written. No comment.
    I was a beginner. But I was impressed and inspired for the Zen-way.
    No commment.

  • Tanro Karl Werner:

    Genro –

    Erfüllt von großer Dankbarkeit und Liebe verbeuge ich mich tief vor
    dem Initiator unseres Weges.

    Mit Gasshô, Tanro