Keizan Roshi is a teacher within the White Plum lineage established by Taizan Maezumi Roshi. In 2014 Keizan Roshi was nominated and elected as a full board member of White Plum Asanga and is acting representative for Europe including the UK.
Maezumi Roshi (1931-1995) was one of the great pioneers of modern Zen, who opened up a unique tradition of Buddhist practice to a worldwide movement.
Born into a prominent Soto Zen family, Maezumi received transmission from his father, Hakujun Kuroda Roshi. He then went on to receive approval as a teacher (Inka) from two Rinzai masters, Koryu Osaka Roshi and Hakuun Yasutani Roshi. With this exceptionally rich background Maezumi Roshi was able to express the teaching of the Buddha in a very broad and colourful way. Originally sent to the USA in 1956 as a priest for the local Japanese community in Los Angeles, he went on to found Zen Center Los Angeles and Yokoji Zen Mountain Center. As well as guiding thousands of students, he gave transmission to twelve dharma successors, each of whom is an important teacher in their own right, including Tenshin Fletcher Roshi.
Tenshin Fletcher Roshi
Charles Tenshin Fletcher, Roshi, was born in Manchester in 1955 and went to study with Maezumi,Roshi in 1979 at Zen Center of Los Angeles. He received Dharma Transmission in 1994. In 1995 he took over as Abbot of Yokoji Zen Mountain Center where he still teaches today. He received Inka (fully independent teacher) in 2006 from Genpo Merzel, Roshi. Since 1995 he has been one of the first western dendokyoshi.(foreign trained Soto representative priests). He has several successors including Keizan who received Inka in 2019. He has been involved with the White Plum British sangha since it’s inception in 1980.
The early history of White Plum Asangha in the UK
Tenshin Roshi has kindly provided us with this condensed history of how the lineage of Maezumi Roshi was initially established in the UK. Many thanks to Tenshin Roshi and Genpo Roshi for their commitment and dedication to the dharma and for sewing the seeds for the creation and development of StoneWater Zen.
In 1980 after Genpo Sensei had received transmission from Maezumi, Roshi he asked his four British students to arrange a sesshin in Britain. So Sabrina Tokuho Verney, her husband David Tokuyu Reid-Marr, Charles Tenshin Fletcher and his American wife Anne Seisen Saunders went to Sumi Ryoko Egan and her husband Colin Fuko Egan’s house in Notting Hill to do a Zazenkai to see if there was interest in doing a sesshin. There was, and the following Autumn a sesshin was held by Genpo Roshi at Sumi and Colin’s new house in Dulwich which was well attended. For ref. this was the first sesshin Keizan Roshi ever attended.
The following year Maezumi, Roshi expressed interest in going to Britain for a sesshin. So Tenshin went over to arrange the sesshin hosted by the Manjusri Institute in Ulverston, Cumbria. At that sesshin, several members of the early sangha had Jukai including Nancy Gabrych. Also, David Brandon (Founder of the ‘Mind’ mental health organization) attended, making his Center in Preston part of the White Plum Umbrella. After the sesshin Maezumi, Roshi gave a zazenkai at Rigpa, in London. From then on, sesshin was held regularly in Britain by Genpo, Roshi.
In 1993, with approval from Maezumi Roshi, Tenshin met with Genpo, Roshi in Amravarti, and started sharing teaching in Britain, culminating in a joint sesshin in Wales in 2000.