Robert Kaku Gunn

Photo of Robert Kaku Gunn

Deep Ocean Zendo
Village Zendo / Dotokuji

Robert Kaku Gunn, Ph.D., first received the precepts from John Daido Loori in May of 1993 and was given the dharma name, Jingen, meaning “God is the source of my life.” He joined the Village Zendo in 2001, then received the precepts from Enkyo Roshi in 2005, who gave him the dharma name KaiZen, “revealing Zen.” In 2012 she ordained him a Soto Zen Buddhist priest and gave him the name of Kaku—”Song of Emptiness.” In 2017, Kaku became the Guiding Teacher for the Empty Hand Zen Center in New Rochelle, N.Y. In 2019, Enkyo Roshi gave him dharma transmission and he moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia where he established a new practice center, Deep Ocean Zendo (

Kaku welcomes opportunities to speak on life challenges and the resources of psychotherapy and spiritual practice. He is the author of Journeys Into Emptiness: Dōgen, Merton and Jung and The Quest for Transformation (Paulist Press, 2000), as well as a two-volume autobiography, One Bright Pearl: An Unholy Memoir, vol. 1, and One Bright Pearl: God is the Source of My Life, vol. 2 (Amazon, 2017). With Roshi Enkyo O’Hara, Kaku is the subject of a video, One Body, One Heart, in which Roshi and he discuss the role of his Zen practice in meeting the personal challenge of cancer. The third volume of his memoirs will be titled, Radiant Splendor: My Life in Zen, and its publication is slated for 2020. He may be reached at