Student Teacher Relationship

The Zen Life & Meditation Center offers such a comprehensive entry–level curriculum, that it's easy to miss that fact that the Zen Center also offers traditional Zen studies as well. You may go to classes, retreats and workshops at the Zen Center and never enter into formal Zen studies. But if you wish to explore a deeper kind of Zen training with a fully empowered Zen Master, then our Zen Center has that for you as well.

Zen Studies are only open to Advanced Members of our center. We feel that unless one is willing and able to make a significant commitment both in time and in money to this kind of training, then it is best not to do it at all. Zen studies involves establishing a formal student-teacher relationship. Face to face study is highly valued in Zen training. This takes place in what is known as dokusan, where the student goes to see the teacher in a private interview.

Joshin Roshi or Ryushin Sensei do not work with every student in the same way, but generally speaking, they begin working with students on the precepts and take about a year to complete that. If the student wishes, upon completion of the precept study, he or she may take the precepts in a ceremony known as Jukai, where Joshin Roshi or Ryushin Sensei gives the student a Buddhist name, rakusu and lineage chart. A rakusu can be hand sewn or purchased.  Jukai is considered the first formal step to becoming a Buddhist.

At this point, Roshi or Sensei often introduce the student to koan study, but in some cases, koans are not appropriate and they might give the student another practice, a modified version of koans or a practice such as Shikantaza.

Zen Studies at ZLMC may also involve participation in an annual Zen Leadership Training in which the student takes on further responsibilities caring for themselves and others in the community.

Should you have any questions about this, please ask Joshin Roshi or Ryushin Sensei about it. You can call the office at 708.689.1220 or email them at