Of the many sects of
Buddhism existing in the world today, Rinzai Zen has its own unique
lineage that leads back to the Buddha himself. From the Buddha to
the Sixth Patriarch, to Rinzai to Hakuin, it persevered throughout
history as a rigorous and often perplexing system of Buddhist study.
Rinzai Zen teachers typically eschewed fame and fortune to concentrate
solely on teaching a few earnest disciples the way of Rinzai Zen
practice, through the techniques of Sanzen (private interviews),
Teisho (lectures about Zen), and Dai-sesshin (intensive week-long
retreats). Because of the rigours of this type of discipline, today
there are just a handful of teachers alive who can claim ancestry
to this lineage.
Among the oldest living
of these teachers is Joshu Sasaki Roshi, who at 103 years old continues
to teach full-time. Through Sanzen, Teisho and week-long Dai-sesshins,
Joshu Roshi teaches his own particular style of Rinzai Zen, and
established Rinzai-ji, Inc. to serve as a system of Zen centers,
offering more for the world of interested practitioners than a
single monastery ever could. Guiding these various centers around
the world are the disciples of Joshu Roshi who, like Kigen Osho,
have trained extensively and been given permission to teach.
Hollywood Zen Center
humbly serves as another of these centers. Under the guidance of
Kigen Osho, the hope is that people in West Hollywood and the surrounding
areas will utilize the Hollywood Zen Center as a small haven to
study Rinzai-ji Zen in a peaceful and sincere environment.
Kigen Ekeson began his
study of Zen in 1987 at the Cambridge Buddhist association under
Myosin Maurine Stuart Roshi. A few years later, after moving to
Los Angeles and establishing himelf as a landscape architect, Kigen
arranged to study full time with Joshu Roshi at Mount Baldy Zen
Center, high in the San Gabriel mountains. Kigen stayed at Mt. Baldy
longer than originally planned and was ordained by Joshu Roshi on
July 13, 1991 and lived there for nearly a decade.
In the spring of 1999,
Kigen was reassigned to serve as vice-abbot of Rinzai-ji Zen Center
in Los Angeles. He remained at Rinzai-ji until 2004. He left at
that point to dedicate himself to the development of a new Zen center
in Hollywood. He currently sits with a small number of practitioners
at the Hollywood Zen Center and spends much of his time working
to support the center in its early years.