Zen Master Seung Sahn, called Dae Soen Sa Nim by his students (Great Honored Zen Teacher), is the 78th Patriarch in his line of Dharma Transmission in the Chogye order of Korean Buddhism. In 1972, he came to the United States and started the Providence Zen Center, the first of over one hundred centers in what is now the Kwan Um School of Zen. His books include Ten Gates, The Compass of Zen, Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, Only Don’t Know, The Whole World is a Single Flower – 365 Kong-ans for Everyday Life, among others. Dae Soen Sa Nim gave Dharma Transmission to ten Zen Masters and “inka” — teaching authority — to several senior students called Ji Do Poep Sa Nims (Literally, ones who can show the way).
Dae Soen Sa Nim died on November 30, 2004, at Hwa Gye Sah temple in Seoul, Korea. He died peacefully, surrounded by his students. He was 77.
In June 2004, he had received the title “Great Master” from the Chogye Order of Korean Buddhism, in appreciation for his lifetime of teaching. This is the highest honor the order confers.
Zen Master Wu Kwang
Zen Master Wu Kwang, (Richard Shrobe), is one of the first American students to receive transmission from Dae Soen Sa Nim and is the guiding teacher of the Chogye International Zen Center. He is authorized to perform all the formal teaching activities of Zen, including the traditional kong-an practice of private interchange between teacher and student. He has been practicing meditation since 1966 and received formal certification, or “inka,” from Dae Soen Sa Nim in 1984. He received dharma transmission on August 1, 1993. Soen Sa is a practicing psychotherapist with an M.S.W. and B.A. degree in music. His teaching emphasizes that “Zen is everyday life and everyday life is Zen.” His books include Don’t-Know Mind: The Spirit of Korean Zen (Shambhala, 2004), Open Mouth Already a Mistake (Primary Point Press, 1997), and his latest, Elegant Failure: A Guide to Zen Koans (Rodmell Press, 2010).
Zen Master Jok Um (Ken Kessel) received transmission in April 2017. He began studying with Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1975. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a psychotherapist, working with children and families in foster care, substance abuse, outpatient and inpatient mental health and therapeutic preschool settings, as well as in private practice. He specializes in infant and early childhood mental health. He is guiding teacher for New Haven Zen Center, Hwa Um Sa-Orlando Zen Center, Gateless Gate Zen Center (Gainesville) and Cypress Tree Zen Group (Tallahassee). He also teaches at the Chogye International Zen Center of New York, as well as at other Zen Centers and affiliates.
Steven Cohen MD JDPSN has been a student of Zen Master Seung Sahn since 1974. Before moving to New York in 1984, he was a founding member of the New Haven Zen Center where he served as administrative director (1975-79) and head dharma teacher (1979-84). He received inka on April 6, 2002. Cohen PSN is a Professor of and Chief of Dermatology at The Albert Einstein College of Medicine. In February 2006, he was the first dermatologist ever to receive the Parker J. Palmer Courage to Teach Award of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education. Steve and Phyllis Cohen have been married for 37 years; they have two children. Twice National Champion (1966-67) and a member of the US Olympic Team 1968, he was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1991.
Paul Majchrzyk JDPSN
Paul Majchrzyk JDPSN is abbot of the Chogye International Zen Center of New York. He began studying Zen in 1991 with Zen Master Wu Kwang at the Chogye International Zen Center of New York, and received inka in April, 2009. A former classical/flamenco guitarist with an MA in music, Paul was a Fulbright–Hayes Scholar and toured internationally with the Jose Greco Company of Spanish Dance for 10 concert seasons. He now works in the publishing industry, and lives in New York with his wife and two children.
Matt Keeler JDPSN
Matt Keeler JDPSN has been practicing Zen meditation for 29 years and lived at the Chogye International Zen Center in New York City for 7 years. He received inka from Zen Master Wu Kwang at the Providence Zen Center on April 2, 2017. Matt has extensive retreat experience, including 2 three-month winter Kyol Ches and a 90-day solo retreat in Blue Hill Maine. In addition to being the director of the Family Program at Redding Meditation Center in Redding CT, Matt is a certified high school math teacher. Previously he was a professional musician. Matt lives in Ridgefield, CT where he is a single father with a 13-year old son.
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Zen Master Soeng Hyang (Barbara Rhodes) is the School Zen Master and Guiding Dharma Teacher of the Kwan Um School of Zen. She received dharma transmission from Zen Master Seung Sahn on October 10, 1992. She was one of Zen Master Seung Sahn’s first American students and studied with him since 1972. She was given inka in 1977. A registered nurse since 1969, she works for (need updated info). She helped found Providence Zen Center, and lived there for seventeen years, serving in a number of administrative capacities. Zen Master Soeng Hyang has a daughter and lives with her partner, Mary, in Pennsylvania.
Zen Master Bon Yeon (Jane McLaughlin-Dobisz) received transmission in 2000 and is a guiding teacher of Cambridge Zen Center, where she was abbot for four years and where she lived for ten years. A student of Zen Master Seung Sahn since 1982, Jane has practiced extensively in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. She previously studied Buddhism in the Tibetan tradition in Nepal, and was a Vipassana student for three years. She has led several 90 day Kyol Che retreats in the U.S., Poland, and South Africa and is the author of The Wisdom of Solitude: A Zen Retreat in the Woods (Harper Collins, January 2004). She is also the editor of The Whole World is a Single Flower by Zen Master Seung Sahn. She lives near Cambridge Zen Center with her husband, Piotrek, and their two children.
Lincoln Rhodes, JDPSN, has been a student of Zen Master Seung Sahn since 1974 and received inka 1981. He helped found the Kwan Um School of Zen and several of the Zen Centers, and was the abbot of Providence Zen Center for many years. He is the guiding teacher of Indianapolis Zen Center. He lives in Providence, where he owns a construction firm.
Zen Master Bon Shim (Aleksandra Porter) met Zen Master Seung Sahn in 1978 and started practicing under his guidance. She moved to Warsaw Zen Centre in 1988 and served as abbot there for many years. She received inka in 1992 from Zen Master Seung Sahn and transmission in 2006 from Zen Master Wu Bong. She is the Guiding Teacher of many KUSZ centers and groups in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Spain, and travels and teaches extensively in Europe, the USA, and recently also in Korea.