2010 Fourth National Conference

Posted in news on September 21st, 2010

Participants in the 2008 National Conference

The SZBA will be holding its Fourth National Conference October 6-10, 2010, at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Oregon. The conference will offer participants a chance to connect and develop relationships with fellow Soto Zen teachers and priests of North America and help to build a foundation of mutual respect and trust to support and benefit each other in opening the Buddha Way to all beings. The conference is a chance to develop ties across lineages and nurture a collective sense of Soto Zen in North America.

The conference is open to full (dharma-transmitted) and associate (priest ordained) members of the SZBA. The conference will include the Dharma Heritage Ceremony.

The keynote speakers for the conference will be Professor William Bodiford and Shohaku Okumura.

The theme for the conference will be Keizan Jokin Zenji. Keizan, the 4th ancestor in the Japanese Soto Zen lineage, was born in 1264 in Echizen Province. Keizan is regarded, along with Eihei Dogen Zenji, as the co-founder of Soto Zen Buddhism in Japan. All SZBA lineages pass through Keizan.

Keizan is regarded in Soto circles particularly for his role in the expansion of Soto Zen throughout Japan and shaping the ritual foundation of the tradition. He made Soto Zen accessible to lay people and set the stage for its becoming the largest Zen school in Japan. His legacy is sometimes thus viewed as “external”, balancing Dogen’s “internal” emphasis.

Keizan’s Denkoroku (Transmission of the Light) is a collection of teisho on 53 koans tracing the transmission of Dharma from Shakyamuni Buddha to Koun Ejo. Keizan also encouraged, supported and passed the dharma on to many women. In this spirit, the conference will include the presentation of the Women’s Lineage Document prepared by the Women’s Lineage Committee.

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