White Plum Teachers meeting at Yokoji

Every year the White Plum Asanga, which is Taizan Maezumi’s lineage, holds a teachers’ meeting which is open to all registered WPA teachers. This year’s 3 day meeting was hosted by Tenshin Roshi at Zen Mountain Center in California and was attended by Keizan Roshi, who is a board member representing the European sanghas, and StoneWater’s three dharma holders Shinro, Suigen and Tanzan.

We found it was an invaluable opportunity to meet and share with WPA teachers from across USA, and also meet Tenshin’s other successors including Kaigen from San Diego and Shinko who came over from New Zealand.  It was also good to see again Tenshin’s successor Jokai Blackwell and senior student Yugen Lakey, who both began their training with Keizan in Liverpool, and Gavin Mokuin Strathie who is now resident at Yokoji.

Workshops included maintaining healthy boundaries in the the relationships between teachers and students, a Zenga calligraphy workshop taught by Maezumi’s widow, Enko, as well as a memorial service for Taizan Maezumi and other teachers and ancestors, and a guided tour of Yokoji.  The days began with zazen and service, followed by workshops, but it was the informal chats over meals that were often the most interesting and useful.  A highlight of the meeting was the Saturday evening social where Tenshin’s band, (made up of himself and Ryodo Roshi called ‘Joe Riki and the Three Treasures’!) performed several of their own rock numbers, including Bodhidharma Blues – twice by popular demand!

Some useful connections were made and many of the US teachers were particularly keen on a future WPA meeting in Liverpool.  I think StoneWater made a good impression at the meeting.  Certainly, it was clear that in terms of our activities across the UK and the numbers of people who attend the local groups SWZ is doing very well, at least as well as most of the US sanghas.