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Event: 1 – 3 Oct Seminar with Shohaku Okumura Roshi – Living By Vow – ENGLISH

1 – 3 Oct Seminar with Shohaku Okumura Roshi – Living By Vow – ENGLISH

Seminar with Shohaku Okumura Roshi

Living by Vow

The Bodhisattva’s commitment in the modern world

Conference will be in ENGLISH translated into French

Guy Mokuhô Mercier and the TenBôRin Sangha are pleased to propose a workshop with Shohaku Okumura roshi at the Lanau Zen Buddhist Center from October 1st to 3rd, 2018.

The chance to invite a Japanese master who has lived and taught for many years in the United States has spontaneously come about, and we are very honoured to host Okumura Roshi in our Zen Centre in Lanau. This is an exceptional event for all of us in Europe.

All practitioners, regardless of their level of practice and knowledge, will find real benefit in hearing the themes that Okumura roshi will explore, grounded in the practice of Zen.

Okumura roshi will teach in English and be translated into French.

Shohaku Okumura Roshi

Shohaku Okumura Roshi was born in Osaka in 1948. In December 2970, he received ordination from Kōshō Uchiyama Roshi at Antaiji Temple where he practised until the departure of his master in 1975, when he received his dharma transmission. He then went to the USA where he contributed to the founding of the Pionneer Valley Zendo in Massachusetts.
In 1993, he moved back to the United States with his wife, Yuko, and their two children. He has previously served as teacher at the Kyoto Sōtō Zen Centre in Japan and at the Minnesota Zen Meditation Centre in Minneapolis, and was Director of the Sōtō Zen International Centre in San Francisco for thirteen years.

Today, Okumura Rōshi is recognized for his unique perspective on the life and teachings of Dōgen Zenji derived from his experience as both practitioner and translator, and as a teacher in both Japanese and Western practice communities.

He gives frequent lectures on the Shōbōgenzō and other foundational texts. His translations have been published in several books, including Dōgen ‘s Extensive Record and The Wholehearted Way and his lectures have appeared in Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, Dharma Eye, and Buddhism Now. Alongside his translations, he is the author of Living by Vow: A Practical Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Chants and Texts , Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen’s Shobogenzo, and, among other things, contributed commentaries to the publication The Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo.

He continues to lead sesshin and genzo-e (Shobogenzo study) retreats at Sanshinji and at various other centres in the US and around the world.

The Three Day Study Programme

The workshop will allow us to re-discover and deepen the fundamentals of what commitment within the Buddhist sangha is.  Okumura roshi will remind us how Master Dogen has expressed and practiced this, and how we can realise it in our daily lives in the 21st century. He has explored these themes in his books ‘’Genjo koan’’ and ‘’Living by vow’’.

The Morning Sessions :

Living by Vow “: The Bodhisattva’s 4 vows, taking refuge, repentance, the kesa sutra, the meal sutra, the Hannya Shin Gyo, the Sandokai … We recite and commit to follow these vows when receiving the ordination of bodhisattva (Jukai) or monk or nun, but do we actually practice them according the Bouddha’s teaching.

Each afternoon, we have requested that  Okumura Roshi to talk to us (30-45 minutes) about Zen today and answer questions from the audience.

  1. What does it mean for us to live as disciples of the Buddha and express it in our daily life, in this rapidly changing world where spirituality is absent and religious practice is often forgotten or ridiculed ? Where the main concern seems to be profit at all costs, where natural resources are wasted and where violence and denial of others are an everyday occurance? How to protect the practice of zazen from mixing up with other kinds of fashionable meditation?
  2. Religious practice, rituals, sutras, and transmission. There is a reluctance within our sangha, to accept what is transmitted to us from the Japanese tradition. Attempts at Westernization, are emerging. How can we harmonize such differences or recognise them? How can we promote the approach of Zen Buddhism to Westerners in dojos and temples, and what can we learn from the American experience of this? How can we guide the practitioners of the future in their response to such changes? Okumura roshi will be able to speak of his experiences of the transmission within the American context.
  3. The Japanese language gives a particular resonance to our practice which some appreciate. But translation into Western language transforms and sometimes impoverishes the real meaning of the original texts, which can be experienced as pointlessness and resisted by some practitioners. Using a rough translation when practicing rituals, chanting sutras and Chinese or Japanese texts often creates a distancing that many are not willing to adopt despite the desire to westernize the practice. Okumura roshi worked for many years on this and has created many translations of texts. Is the essence of Master Dogen’s teachings accessible and understandable to us?

Daily Program, 1st to 3rd October :

7h00:   Zazen, ceremony and Gen Mai
9h15 to 10h00 : Samu
10h15 to 12h15 :  Teaching
12h30  :   Lunch
14h30 à 17h00 :   A 30 to 45 minute presentation on the above 3 themes, followed by questions and answers.
19h :   Dinner
20h30 :  Zazen

The Workshop will finish on the evening of the 3rd (17h00) with an informal dinner at  20h00.

Session Schedule

  • ARRIVAL: 30 Sept – Afternoon, for supper at 8pm
  • Seminar 1st – 3rd Oct
  • Relaxing Evening : 03 Oct
  • DEPART: 04 Oct – Morning

Registration and Cost

Tenborin Zen Association yearly membership is required: 20€

You may become a member HERE – or click on “Poursuivre mes achats” to proceed to pay your membership for 2018 if you are not up to date with your membership.


  • Price for the 3 day workshop : 220 € (Concessions available on request)
  • Price for 3 days Kitchen Samu : 60 €
  • Accommodation in rooms of 2-3 people with shower and toilet. Sheets 10€.
  • Single room supplement (Subject to availability) : 10 €/day



Click on “Je Participe !”

If you have any difficulty completing the following “registration” form (in french) please register by sending an email to being sure to include all your details, your arrival and departure time, and if you need transport from the station to Lanau Zen Centre.