Zenways (Zendo Kyodan) promotes and encourages activities and practices that enhance human wellbeing, balance and awakening (satori or kensho - the enlightenment of Zen) in the many different situations we find ourselves in.
People come to Zen from many directions and from many spiritual and philosophical backgrounds. Zen doesn’t demand your faith or belief, doesn’t want to control you in any way. A true Zen teacher is simply a guide to a realm of human experience that is sublime. A Zen teacher has been there and, if well trained, has many ways to help you go there too.
We grow to adulthood and oftentimes stop, only vaguely realising that there is so much more a human being can become. When you begin to pay attention to your life, you begin again to grow, you become able to truly be of benefit to others and to live an authentic life.
Practice in Zenways works with your body, mind and energy to create greater wellbeing, vitality and awareness, and a deep sense of your connection with all things and your true relationship with the universe.
Julian Daizan Skinner is the first Englishman to go to Japan and become a Roshi or Zen Master in the rigorous Rinzai tradition of Zen. Over twenty years ago, he gave up a promising career as a scientist in the pharmaceuticals industry, sold his house, gave all the money away and entered a Zen monastery. Over many years of strict training, in Japan and the west, Daizan Roshi recieved Dharma Transmission and permission to teach in both the Rinzai and Soto lineages of Zen. He has also undergone training as an enlightenment intensive master with Lawrence Noyes, leading student of the creator of enlightenment intensives, Charles Berner. Daizan Roshi recieved inka from Shinzan Miyamae Roshi of Gyokuryuji, with whom he continues to study.
Upon returning from Japan in 2007, Daizan Roshi went on walking pilgrimage up the centre of the island of Britain from the south tip of the Isle of Wight to the north tip of Scotland, living solely on alms food. He met many of his students from different parts of the UK during this time. Daizan Roshi currently lives very simply and teaches and offers sanzen ('interviews' or support meetings with his students) at Yugagyo Dojo (Zen Yoga) in London as well as using Skype for his remote students. Together with his students, he has established, “Yugagyo Dojo”, a Zen training place in London. Daizan Roshi was teaching at The Buddhist Society, the oldest non-sectarian Buddhist Society in Europe, until his retirement from the post in December 2011.
His Zen study incorporated yoga practice. He has also studied yoga in Europe, America and Asia. He brings this wide range of yoga experience to sharing a practice that combines physical challenge with mental and spiritual development. He is registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level and is registered with the Independent Yoga Network as a Yoga Elder with more than 5000 hours of successful teaching experience. Daizan trains yoga teachers to find an expression that is authentically their own and will bring them success when they teach. His knowledge and training in Zen givees him the background to guide you on your spiritual journey.
Meeting Shinzan Miyamae Roshi is like meeting a Zen master from the golden age. Openly critical of the institutionalisation and routinisation of much of modern Zen and emphatic on the importance of genuine insight, he has charted an unorthodox course.
Born in 1935 in Niigata, Japan, he graduated from Doshisha University with a degree in Economics. In his twenties he failed in three business ventures, experiencing great hardships. Contemplating suicide, he was by chance transformed upon meeting a Zen nun. He was 31.
He was ordained a Zen monk by Mitsui Daishin Roshi who sent him to train at Shogenji monastery with his own master, the formidable Kajiura Itsugai Roshi. Shogenji, known as the devil’s dojo, had the reputation of being the strictest training monastery in Japan. It was founded in the mountains of Gifu-ken on the spot where Zen ancestor Kanzan Egan (1277-1360) in his post-monastery training worked as a cow herder by day and sat zazen on a precipice by night. Recognising his understanding, Itsugai Roshi wished Shinzan to succeed him at Shogenji.
Shinzan Roshi instead went on to study at Kokutaiji in the north of Japan. The resident teacher, Inaba Shinden Roshi, requested Shinzan to become the next Zen Master of Kokutaiji.
After completing his koan study, Shinzan Roshi took the unusual step of visiting every Zen Master in Japan seeking to test and deepen his insight. Later he restored Gyokuryuji, the hermitage of the great Zen master Bankei. He has become known for protesting against institutional abuses and Zen teachers without insight. He parted ways with the Myoshinji branch of Rinzai Zen over excess charging for funerals. Shinzan Roshi went on to found Zendo Kyodan (Zenways Sangha), a primarily lay-based Zen organisation dedicated to fostering true awakening in the modern world. He has taught in the US, Canada and Europe and has written two books in Japanese, one about true Buddhism and one about finding happiness.