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Buddhadharma : Winter 2013
78 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY WINTER 2 0 1 3 over the Soto Zen Education Center in San Francisco, an institute that serves as a bridge between Japanese and Ameri- can Soto practice centers. He agreed, delaying his plans to start a Zen temple. But he kept looking. A friend recom- mended Bloomington, Indiana, home to a thriving but teacher-less sangha; land was purchased, and a local archi- tect began designing the buildings. Con- struction started on a zendo and living quarters in 2002, and by the following summer Okumura and his wife, Yuko, who helps administer the center and oversees rakusu-sewing practice, had taken up residence there with their two children. It wasn’t long before others fol- lowed—over the past decade, a number of priests-in-training have spent time living at Sanshinji. Okumura estimates that he has about twenty disciples; seven have received dharma transmission and two have gone on to establish their own temples. While leading the practice schedule and classes on the Shobogenzo and Opening the Hand of Thought, as well as leading genzo-e at other centers, Oku- mura has published a number of impor- tant translations (including Dogen’s Pure Standards for the Zen Community and Dogen’s Extensive Record, both with Taigen Dan Leighton), along with two books of his own, Realizing Gen- jokoan and Living by Vow: A Practi- cal Introduction to Eight Essential Zen Texts and Chants. Okumura, quietly honoring his teacher, has already played a significant role in helping establish and inform Zen in America. Thanks in large part to his work, the students at Sanshin Zen Cen- ter practice can appreciate the works of Dogen in a way that might have seemed unlikely just a few decades ago. “In the 1970s, we didn’t have many texts about Dogen Zen. That’s why I started work on translation,” Okumura says. “Now, people have more knowledge about Dogen’s teachings. Zen is not something rare or special in this coun- try anymore. It’s part of our American culture, I think.” Donate your old cushion to a practitioner with limited means • 845.688.7993 dharma.net/monstore Cushions that meet you where you are. firstname.lastname@example.org Support for your spiritual practice at home The Monastery Storetm