Kanzeon Bodhisattva


Zen Master Genpo Merzel Roshi

Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi is a revolutionary in the tradition of the old Zen Masters who so embodied Buddhist teaching that they were able to revitalize and transform it for their own day and age. As Buddhism moved from India to China to Japan and other Asian cultures, it found unique expression in each culture that made its fundamental teachings resonate for a new time and place. Genpo Roshi is working to transmit the essence of the Buddha’s teachings in a way that is readily accessible to Westerners and relevant to our everyday life.

The core of Genpo Roshi’s teaching is the unshakeable and contagious certainty that every one of us, regardless of our socio-economic, cultural or religious background, can instantly awaken to our true nature, like the great masters of old — like the historical Buddha himself, whose essential teaching was nothing less than this. This experience helps us shed anxiety and fear and learn to live more purposeful, compassionate and joyful lives. Roshi combines Zen tradition with the insights of such visionary western figures as Carl Jung, Fritz Perls, and Hal Stone, enabling virtually anyone to realize their true nature, a realization they can further deepen through meditation.

Dennis Genpo Merzel comes from a long line of Rebbes. Born in Brooklyn NY, he grew up in Southern California where he was a high school champion swimmer and All-American water polo player. He earned a Masters degree in education from the University of Southern California and was a teacher and lifeguard before ordaining as a Zen monk under Zen Master Taizan Maezumi in 1973. Completing formal Koan study in 1979 he became Maezumi Roshi’s second Dharma Successor in 1980, the first being Bernie Tetsugen Glassman. He received Inka (final seal of approval as Zen Master) from Roshi Glassman in 1996, thereby becoming one of a small group of Westerners recognized as lineage holders in both the Soto and Rinzai Zen traditions.

In 1982 Genpo Sensei began teaching throughout Europe and founded the international group he named the Kanzeon (Love and Compassion) Sangha, centered in Salt Lake City, Utah, with affiliates in France, Holland, Poland, Belgium, Germany, England, and Malta. He has nine Dharma Successors: Catherine Genno Pages, John Shodo Flatt, Anton Tenkei Coppens, Malgosia Jiho Braunek, Daniel Doen Silberberg, Nico Sojun Tydeman, Nancy Genshin Gabrysch, Diane Musho Hamilton, and Michael Mugaku Zimmerman. He has given Inka to seven Zen teachers: John Daido Loori, Catherine Genno Pages and Anton Tenkei Coppens, Jan Chozen Bays, Charles Tenshin Fletcher, Nicolee Jikyo McMahon and Susan Myoyu Andersen. He is also the President of the White Plum Asanga, the worldwide community comprising all the Dharma heirs of Taizan Maezumi Roshi, their successors, and the many groups they lead.

Roshi is the author of four books, The Eye Never Sleeps, Beyond Sanity and Madness, 24/7 Dharma, and The Path of The Human Being, and several DVDs. He is married to Stephanie Young Merzel, co-administrator of Kanzeon Zen Center International, and has two children, Tai Merzel, an aerospace engineer and graduate student at the University of Southern California, and Nicole Merzel, a mathematics major at the University of Puget Sound.



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