ISSN 1527-6457

R e s e a r c h A r t i c l e

Zen in Europe: A Survey of the Territory

 

By

Alioune Koné
Doctoral Candidate
Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris)

aliounek@fais-ihs.org


Zen has been one of the most attractive Buddhist traditions among Westerners in the twentieth century. Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese teachers have created European organizations in the past forty years, and some of their students have started teaching. While their American counterparts are well documented in the growing literature on the making of a Western Buddhism, the European groups are less known.(1) This paper aims at highlighting patterns of changes and adaptations of Zen Buddhism in Europe. It proposes an overview of European Zen organizations and argues that an institutional approach can highlight important aspects of the transplantation of Zen Buddhism into a new culture.

A serious shortcoming of such an endeavor was pointed out in a 1993 conference held in Stockholm. A group of long-time practitioners and teachers gathered to determine whether one could appraise the emergence of a distinctly European Zen practice, a "European Zen."(2) The questions announced in the program were: "What are the indispensable qualities of a genuine Zen, existing in Europe under Europeans conditions? What demands can and should be made on the mediators of a genuine Zen today? What are the forms and structures best suited for the transmission of Zen in Europe?"(3)

According to one of the participants, "none of those questions were discussed. It quickly appeared that there was no single European Zen identity. Very diverse Zen transmissions were already taking place, so different in personal and cultural aspects that there was no common denomination."(4)

The diversity of the historical schools and figures known today in Europe under the single term of "Zen"(5) shaped important differences in the "imported" beliefs and practices. Differences in legal, cultural, and social settings in Europe, not to mention lineage specifics or personal characteristics, also challenge any generalization. How can we make sense of the wide variety of current approaches to Zen Buddhism in a sociological perspective?

Scope and Focus

A starting point could be provided by H. Dumoulin's noting that "the Western reception of Zen inaugurated at the start of the century went far beyond the modifications and transformations of its centuries-long history in Asia. The transition from the East to the Western hemisphere, despite every effort to maintain continuity, inevitably required new versions of Zen."(6) This remark echoes R. Debray's statement that "to transmit is to reinvent, hence modify. Because the information transmitted is not independent of its double medium, technical or organic."(7) The parallel suggests that some of R. Debray's hypotheses might be fruitfully applied to Zen Buddhism in the West.(8)

According to R. Debray, mediology is a field — and not a new discipline — devoted to the study of agents and processes of symbolic transmission through time and space. Because "a message which cannot find its institutional crystal will go up in smoke,"(9) mediology studies the constraints exercised by media on messages and the affinities between messages and media. Similarly, this article will explore the following hypothesis: the creation of institutions explains some of the changes in the forms and practices of Zen Buddhism.

To provide an image of the institutions operating in Western Europe, a listing of 452 Zen groups in fourteen countries has been constructed.(10) Each documented group constituted one entry. Different groups listed under the same organization were considered as different entries to give a sense of the implantation of each organization. This approach raised three major methodological problems.

First, Zen centers come and go faster than directories are reedited. Also, some centers are reluctant to hold a high public profile, choosing not to register with national umbrella Buddhist Associations for reasons ranging from philosophical divergences to the will to remain independent or a small group. Consequently, they may not be represented in directories.

The crucial limitation of the approach through centers has been recently pointed out by Thomas Tweed, noting that scholars and practitioners alike tend to hold normative definitions of what ought to be regarded as Buddhism. He suggests that self-definitions should be substituted for participation in Buddhist activities because "night-stand Buddhist[s]," or sympathizers, certainly are a part of the picture of Western Buddhism.(11) Indeed, focusing on lists of centers rather than on individuals does not permit an account of the popular image of Zen found in best-sellers such Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or Zen and the Art of Changing Diapers, quoted by Tweed. Consideration for those limitations helped ascertain guidelines for the focus and scope of this analysis. Those guidelines are:

(1) This study will not include sympathizers or individuals disconnected from a center. Likewise, although Chinese, Vietnamese, or Korean immigration has led to the establishment of sizable communities in England, France, and Germany, the organizations addressing those communities will not be considered here.(12) The focus on centers of converts does not imply that this aspect condenses the reception of Zen Buddhism in Europe;

(2) The diversity of schools and the "burgeoning" nature of the phenomenon implied serious limitations to the validity of the compilation. Information was collected from lists published by national Buddhist Associations, directories, and the World Wide Web.(13) The list constructed does not accurately represent all Zen-related activities in the countries considered. It simply aims at giving a "bird's-eye view" of the territory. Further research and refining of the compiled list will be required for meaningful statistical conclusions that are not the concern of this article;

(3) The issues and debates presented in part two rely on material collected from 1993 to 1999 by participant observation, as well as formal and informal interviews in groups related to the Japanese Sōtō Zen master Taisen Deshimaru (1914-1982).(14) Interviews and correspondence with practitioners of other schools suggest that the issues and patterns of adaptation observed could be traced in other groups. Nevertheless, my analysis remains a case study. It aims at giving a sense of the diversification forces at play in the landscape of Zen Buddhism in Europe and does not claim to reflect the broader picture.

1. An Overview of Zen Organizations in Europe

Zen Buddhism was not known outside of academic circles before the 1920s. Some forty years later, Europeans started practicing in this school. This section looks at some of the forces at play in this change.

1.1. Early Developments (1787-1930s)

European conversions to Zen Buddhism occurred before the twentieth century. A notable example is Christovao Ferreira (1580-1650), a Portuguese missionary in Japan who renounced his faith during the Christian persecutions and became a Zen priest, publishing a pamphlet against Christianity in 1636.(15) More reliable information on Japanese Zen Buddhism reached Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Letters from Francis Xavier prior to his departure for Japan exhibited some knowledge of Buddhist practices. Later, Kaempfer's History of Japan (published in 1727) contained accurate description of Zen's seated meditation (zazen). However, there was no concept of a coherent Buddhist religion before the second half of the nineteenth century, let alone of a distinct Zen school.(16) The first Europeans to embrace Buddhism were attracted to Theravāda, often praised at the times as the purer Buddhism.(17) None of the organizations created in the 1920s to support Buddhist practice in Europe centered on Zen. The important figures of this first period for the reception/reinvention of Zen in Europe were writers and intellectuals; this first period is one of literary interest.

Christmas Humphreys's (1901-1983) itinerary epitomizes the growth of a new perception of Zen schools outside of academic circles in the 1930s. An Englishman from a prominent family of lawyers, he had adopted Buddhism as early as 1918, professing in a theosophist approach that all schools of Buddhism should be drawn upon.(18) However, he grew fascinated by Zen teachings, writing by 1951: "Zen is the apotheosis of Buddhism."(19) For Humphreys, as for many Europeans during the first half of the twentieth century, the shift from Theravāda Buddhism to Zen Buddhism was heavily influenced by the writings and charisma of Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki (1870-1966). D. T. Suzuki was a scholar and lay disciple of the Rinzai master Sōen Shaku (1859-1919). He was not only — as he modestly labeled himself — "the first to make a special study on Zen in English."(20) His interest in Western philosophy and psychology enabled him to present Zen to a wider public.

D. T. Suzuki's definition of Zen, informed by Western thought and philosophy, made it both familiar and fascinating to his Western audience. German scholars were at the forefront of interest in Zen practices, just as they had been in the process of translating Buddhist texts. Rudolf Otto (1869-1937) prefaced the first translation of Zen texts into German, pointing out the existential changes fostered by the practice of Zen meditation.(21) Another influential figure of these early developments was the philosophy professor Eugen Herrigel (1884-1955). His approach to Zen through archery is still one of the most quoted readings in contemporary European Zen circles.(22)

Zen came to be seen in the Western circles as one of the purest forms of Buddhism, an idea with a nationalistic ring in pre-war Japan.(23) The "Zen experience" described by Suzuki and his epigones — compatible with reason although of higher status, universal yet quintessential to Japanese culture — was a philosophy that appealed to both "romantic" and "rationalist" interest in Buddhism.(24)

Even though Suzuki brought Zen Buddhism to a wider audience, the technical nature of his writing made his version difficult to access. Alan Watts (1915-1973), once called the "Norman Vincent Peale of Zen"(25), paved the way for Zen teachings to a larger public, inspiring many young Europeans and Americans to consider Zen practice.(26)

Other writers, less famous, have been also instrumental in the popularization of Zen in different circles. Their accounts expressed Zen ideas through various lenses, often borrowing from D. T. Suzuki's approach. Dr. Hubert Benoît (1904-1992), the translator of Suzuki's work in French, went on to give his own exposition of Zen that reflected his interest in psychology and the influence of George Gurdjieff (1912-1949). Robert Raam Linssen founded the Center for New Philosophies and Sciences in Brussels in 1935. His writings provide popular accounts of Zen along with Taoism that reflect his long-time involvement with Krishnamurti.

Terence Gray (1895-1986), an Irish-born, Oxford-educated aristocrat, wrote a presentation of Ch'an ideas from 1958 to 1974 that he signed under the pseudonym of Wei Wu Wei. His books and articles, in which he combines Ch'an references with Taoist ideas and the teachings of religious figures such as Padma Sambhava and Sri Ramana Maharshi, display an influential and somehow eclectic approach to Zen ideas.

Those translations of Zen themes in philosophical, psychological, or esoteric idioms made Zen increasingly popular. By the 1960s, it was becoming something of an intellectual fad.(27) The arrival of founders opened up a new era in European interest in Zen Buddhism, but they were not working with a blank page and would have to refute the image of an exotic, esoteric, highly intellectual set of themes that came to be identified with Zen in the larger learned public.

1.2. Founders

The late 1960s and 1970s were the time for a "Zen boom" in Europe. New interest in meditation practices in the 1960s fueled the creation of centers and groups. In the next three decades, Zen centers appeared throughout Western Europe, starting in Germany, England, and France. This dynamism resulted not only from a strong interest born from the publications of the previous period and reflecting their bias (a strong demand). It also came about because trained teachers found their way on the old continent (a newly available supply).

Four types of founders can be distinguished: Asian teachers leading convert communities, Europeans authorized to teach by Asian teachers, teachers who trained with Western masters, and non-Buddhist teachers.

The first founders of European Zen centers after WWII were Asian missionaries. Among them, Nagaya Kiichi (1895-1993) from the Japanese Rinzai School and Taisen Deshimaru (1914-1982) trained in the Japanese Sōtō School. In 1965 Nagaya Kiichi, a professor emeritus of the Imperial University of Tokyo and lay Buddhist leader, returned to Berlin, where he had studied in 1922 to bring Zen to Germany. After less than two years, having met a group of people interested in the Zen practice, he was conducting more than a dozen sesshins, or intensive practice periods, each year in Germany.(28) Taisen Deshimaru arrived in Paris in 1967, intending to "bring the true Zen to the West." Three years later, he created the European Zen Association, which would organize sesshins and open centers in most European countries within the decade.(29)

The most prominent Vietnamese Buddhist teacher to settle in Europe and attract European students was Thich Nhat Hanh. Exiled shortly after creating the Order of Interbeing (Tiep Hien, a community of socially engaged Buddhists), he came to France in 1966. A community of Vietnamese and converts gathered around him in the 1970s and relocated in the early 1980s, as the number of practitioners and residents grew.

Most European Zen groups claiming links to the Korean Son tradition relate to Seung Sahn and his Kwan Um Zen School.(30) This organization has held activities in Europe since the 1970s, starting in Poland and Germany. Its growth has been thus described: "Seung Sahn travels all over the world, gives public talks in numerous cities and towns and encourages the local folks who come to these talks to start a 'Zen' center."(31) Other Asian teachers came to Europe later on. Teachers such as Ryotan Igarashi were officially appointed as missionaries in Europe by the Japanese Sōtō Zen headquarters in the late 1990s.(32)

Europeans who trained in Asia or received authorization to teach from Asian teachers constitute another group of founders. Most of them started their groups after the 1970s. In the Japanese Sōtō Zen tradition, the British Peggy Jiyu Kenneth is a striking case. Initially interested in Theravāda Buddhism, she shifted to Zen and was ordained in 1962 in the Ch'an tradition before going to a Japanese Zen monastery. After receiving official recognition from her teacher as early (in comparison with most other European teachers) as 1963, she founded centers in America and England. Unusually, she experienced Christian visions in 1977 and used a language inspired by Christian traditions in her organization, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives.(33)

More than a dozen Europeans were recognized as Sōtō Zen teachers in the 1980s and 1990s. German Ludger Tenryu Tenbreul, Italian Fausto Taïten Guareschi, French Luce Joshin Baschoux, and Spanish Francisco Dokushoo Villalba are only a few of those indigenous founders. Some American teachers have extended their activities to Europe. Thus, Philip Kapleau, founder of the Rochester center and celebrated author of The Three Pillars of Zen, leads retreats in Swedish and German centers. Another example is Richard Baker, Dharma heir of Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971) and former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center. He has developed the Dharma Sangha, an American organization with centers in Germany and Austria. Similarly, the Los Angeles-based International Zen Institute of America founded by Ven. Gesshin Myoko Prabhadasadharma Rōshi has affiliated centers in Germany, Holland, and Spain.

A smaller number of Europeans teachers trained in the Rinzai School. Georges Jyoji Frey, Luigi Taino Mario, and Hans-Rudolf Genpo Döring founded Rinzai centers in France, Italy, and Germany, respectively. Herbert Genro Koudela leads a group in Vienna, Austria, that follows the practice he learned from Joshu Sasaki, a Japanese Zen master residing in California.

Chinese Ch'an practice among Europeans is often linked to two teachers: John Crook and Ton Lathouwers. The former was authorized to teach by Master Sheng Yen. Crook's Western Ch'an Fellowship hosts year-round practice periods in Avon (United Kingdom). Ton Lathouwers is a retired philosophy teacher who studied in Japan and Indonesia. Formally certified by Te Ching (also known as Jinarakkhita), he has led the Maha Karuna Ch'an, a deliberately informal network of groups in Belgium and the Netherlands, since 1987.(34)

The Kwan Um Zen school potentially reached a new stage in the mid-1990s as Seung Sahn certified Polish-born Jacob Wu Bong Perl as a Zen master. Based in Paris since 1995, but having traveled extensively to teach in Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Switzerland, Jacob Perl has contributed significantly to the widening of the Kwan Um Zen school's European audience.(35)

Other Europeans teachers trained with American masters, subsequently founding centers in the 1980s and onward. A successor of Taizan Maezumi Rōshi (1931-1995), Dennis Genpo Merzel has authorized European students such as Dutch Anton Tenkei Coppens and French Catherine Genno Pagès to teach. The latter currently conducts sesshins in England, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Belgium.(36)

The fourth group of founders uses Zen teachings and practices in a non-Buddhist context. Hugo Makibi Enomiya-Lasalle (1898-1990) and Karlfried Graf Dürkheim (1896-1988) are the most notable examples. Enomiya-Lasalle was a German missionary stationed in Japan during the war. In 1940, he became vicar of Hiroshima, where he was wounded by the atomic bomb blast in 1945, and built the World Peace Church in the early 1950s. From 1956 onward, he was a student of Sogaku Harada (1871-1961), the founder of the Sanbo Kyodan School and carried out his studies with his successors. From 1968 until his death, he conducted sesshins in Germany and sent some of his students to Japan for bestowal of teaching authority. In the centers he inspired, seated meditation (zazen) is practiced in a Christian context.(37)

Another important founder of non-Buddhist Zen practice in Europe is K. G. Dürkheim, a German aristocrat sent to Japan as a cultural attaché in 1939. Upon returning to Germany in the late 1940s, he founded the "Existential-Psychological Place of Meeting and Education" in Ruette (in the Black Forest region of the country), which grew into a whole village during the next decade. Zen practice for Dürkheim is part of an "initiation therapy," a method with which to reconcile the individual with the self and the world through the experience of a higher dimension.(38) The psychological outlook on Zen Buddhism, subordinated to a religious approach in D. T. Suzuki's writings, had taken a life of its own. "Zen for Christians" and "therapeutic Zen," that is, the practice of Zen meditation in Christian or therapeutic settings, have become a sizable part of Zen groups in Europe.

1.3. Current Situation and Limitations of the Listing Approach

This list gives a bird's-eye view of the territory of Zen in Western Europe (table 1). In spite of its limitations — chiefly the impossibility to validate hypotheses based on the actual activities and audiences of the groups — the listing maps out a group of countries in which Zen groups are highly visible and have had centers established for over two decades.

Germany stands out as the country with the most documented centers. France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the U.K., and Switzerland (all with more than thirty), as well as Italy, form a second group of countries. Austria, Poland, and Spain have only from fifteen to twenty known centers. Fewer groups are documented in Portugal and the Scandinavian countries (Sweden leads with eight recorded groups. Considering the size of its population, this demonstrates an important implantation). The countries with more than thirty centers are those where Zen groups are highly visible, integrated in national umbrella organizations. Those organizations represent Buddhist interests at national or international levels and facilitate the diffusion of information about activities, retreats, and locations of Buddhist centers.

Table 1: Repartition of Zen centers in Europe

Number of centers Over 60 centers 30 to 60 centers 15 to 30 centers Fewer than 10
Country: Germany France
Netherlands
Belgium
United-Kingdom
Switzerland
Italy
Austria
Poland
Spain

Sweden
Denmark
Portugal
Norway

The listing approach is equally inconclusive for evaluating the importance of each organization. Affiliations have variable definitions, ranging from informal links and occasional meetings to strict guidance from a main center or temple. However, two networks emerge: the Order of Interbeing (around 6 percent of the total) and the groups related to T. Deshimaru, broadly defined as groups belonging to the association that he founded (International Zen Association, or IZA) as well as groups led by former students that trained with other teachers after making their initial contact with Zen through his organization (roughly 11 percent). A third set of entries does not form one single network, but represents over 10 percent of the total: groups practicing Zen in a Christian setting. This "Christian Zen" is mainly represented in Germany, Austria, and Scandinavian countries.

Documenting the entries also showed that sectarian barriers are increasingly blurred. In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, a higher number of centers do not claim affiliation to one particular sect, remaining instead open to many teachers. The Tiltenberg Institute in the Netherlands is a good example. Initially devoted to a movement of Christian women, in the 1970s this center near Amsterdam became a place where various teachers and scholars are invited to lead practice periods and give conferences. One of its founding members explained: "Because Zen is rooted in such different cultural and religious backgrounds, we are convinced that we need all possible help to arrive at the right ways of transmitting genuine Zen from the Far East to Europe and the West in general."(39)

A number of schools active in Europe drew from various traditions,(40) which contributes to lessening the relevance of sectarian lines. Some centers are pan-Buddhist, inviting teachers from various Buddhist schools. Others regularly invite non-Buddhist teachers. Overall, the listing predictably documents the diversity without explaining it.

2. Issues in a Network of European Zen Groups

In order to make sense of the diversity among Zen centers in Europe, this section will examine groups related to Taisen Deshimaru Rōshi (1914-1982). The majority belongs to the IZA, whose headquarters are at the temple of La Gendronnière, France. Around 20 percent of the groups considered are independent groups that are led by teachers who started their training with T. Deshimaru, but do not necessarily put forward his teachings or relate to this organization today. Those groups can still be considered part of the legacy of this founder because he gave the current leaders their first definition of Zen practice. The issues that differentiate these groups are proposed as tools for a sociological understanding of the dynamics of diffusion of Zen in a new cultural and social context. I will outline three issues that shape this transmission: sustainability, legitimacy, and authority.(41)

2.1. Issues of Sustainability

Comparing Zen institutions brings one question to the foreground: how do those organizations survive in both the short and long run? How do they generate enough income to remain viable?

D. Williams and S. Asai compared the budgets of a convert center and a Japanese-American temple.(42) They found that the latter gets its revenue mainly from cultural events and donations, while the former derives most of its income from meditation or goods related to the spiritual quest (many of the centers took on selling meditation cushions, incense, and books on spiritual matters [43]). Most centers considered here follow the pattern of convert communities in America. Nonetheless, groups led by former students of Deshimaru suggest distinguishing between non-residential centers and congregations among convert centers.

Non-residential centers often have official prices and rebates for students or unemployed members to participate to their activities. They function as non-profit associations, charging their members and using the generated income to cover expenses, mostly mortgages and rents. Often started as urban centers, these centers acquire or rent places in the countryside to conduct retreats as they grow. Members attend these periods of intensive practice for periods ranging from a few days to two months. If the group keeps growing, administrative costs continue to expand, forcing it either to split up, attract new audiences, offer new activities, or raise prices. (44) These groups often experience a high turnover, with a core of long-time practitioners.

Other groups present another economical pattern. Registered as religious congregations, they offer primarily residential practice. These centers sometimes have no fixed prices for their activities. Donations are the main source of income. Costs are limited: either the location has been paid for already — as in Asia, rich donors sometimes give land to build the temples or centers — or the number of long-term residents is limited. Residency often requires a stronger commitment than lay membership. These religious specialists will offer guidance to a larger lay community, which in turn supports the monks. These centers grow slowly, and publicity is often scarce or nonexistent: a sudden rise in the membership could put the organization at risk. Furthermore, two things determine the sustainability of this model: the number of individuals willing to keep monastic vows and the support offered by the laity.

Groups in these two models will also diverge according to the type of legitimacy favored.

2.2. Issues of Legitimacy

Transmitting teachings in a new context forces the definition of legitimacy as a means to establish the authority of the newly introduced teaching. Social recognition and acceptance are in the long run just as important as economical balance to any organization. The institutions supporting Zen Buddhist practices must define their attitude according to the tradition they are importing. More precisely, they have to decide whether or not to demand a declaration of a religious stance from their membership. By "religious stance" here, I mean the inscription into a lineage of believers as defined by Danièle Hervieu-Léger.(45)

It can be argued that Zen and Tibetan schools attract Westerners because their emphasis on the master-disciple relationship overshadows explicitly religious aspects in the first stages of involvement. Nevertheless, to fit in and stay in the group, individuals must define for themselves how to relate to the lineage of believers. This question differs from that of the actual school to which one refers; nor can it be identified with the perspective discussed here, which is that of the discourse favored by the leaders of the group.

Among former students of Taisen Deshimaru, a wide range of attitudes toward the Japanese Sōtō Zen tradition can be found.(46)

Repetition of the tradition

A few former students of T. Deshimaru have founded centers that emulate Japanese training style as much as possible. A practitioner in one of those temples was planning to go from there to a monastery in Japan. He explained his decision to use this center as a preparation for training in a Japanese monastery: "it seems arrogant to me to decide which part of the tradition is essential and which is expendable. One assumes to be able to tell the difference and that is rarely true."(47)

Adaptation of the tradition

In that second case, conscious innovations are made if perceived as consistent with that tradition. Most former students of Deshimaru actually fall into this group, as he himself encouraged his students to "create, innovate from the wisdom of Zazen rather than chewing on dead words."(48) Our observations show that this is a slow process; innovations are to be collectively examined and approved. The idea of an indispensable adaptation of Zen to European conditions is a recurrent theme among converts. For Asian founders, this objective was often related to the prospect of reforming Zen in their home country. European teachers tend to point out that their own burden as Europeans is to adapt the Asian training that they underwent. However, most groups insist on the continuity.

Critical stance toward the tradition

A former student of Taisen Deshimaru created a group called "Un Zen Occidental" (Western Zen) in 1999. In a seminar held in Belgium on the possibility of a Western Zen, he summarizes his critical look at the Zen tradition as follows: "I cannot reduce Zen to an experience — meditation — that would be its essence. The Westernization of Zen is often seen as keeping the core and disregarding so-called cultural accessories. We must proceed differently, from the understanding of both Oriental and Western (modern) patterns of thought." Potentially, changes and adaptations could be more radical in this case than in the previous one because some elements could come to be discarded for being incompatible.

Borrowing of the tradition

This includes borrowing elements of the tradition for various ends — psychological, philosophical, or religious (mainly Christian, although other affiliations are logically possible). The individual is consciously reinterpreting the tradition in a new context. A former student of Deshimaru received recognition from another master in Japan after Deshimaru's death and said, "Something enormous happened in my spiritual journey: the rediscovery of my own Christian roots. . . . My way of being a Buddhist now is to renounce being a Buddhist."(49)

In the process of cultural adaptation, Zen groups can come to consider themselves as significantly different from their Asian counterparts. Non-Buddhist groups such as psychological or "New Age" movements that use tenets or practices of Zen without the Buddhist context would be one extreme of this particular course of adaptation.(50)

Thus, the reference to a tradition is not enough to establish differences between the groups. As noted by A. Giddens, tradition today is often "tradition in sham clothing and receives its identity only from the reflexivity of the modern."(51) D. Hervieu-Léger has suggested that in the modern context, religiosity can be differentiated by the process of legitimization: she notes that individuals can validate their beliefs either by themselves, mutually, through an institution, or through a community.(52) The first two types are outside the scope of this paper, but the remaining two are useful here because they can be traced within the different stances toward tradition that are mentioned. This drastically modifies the understanding of transmission.

A first group of centers emphasizes their faith in a particular teacher, mutually validating their belief and relying on the teacher's charisma. Transmission is then seen as the bestowing of charismatic authority. The leader chooses the individual with little or no intervention external to the group. This person's abilities are often recognized prior to this official recognition. The group's beliefs are validated through communal life and/or practices in the form of monastic or urban lay communities. Authority will be more or less approved and sanctioned by the group alone.

For the second type of group, external recognition is more important. Transmission is seen as the repetition of tenets and rituals sanctioned by historical institutions. To receive transmission is then to be inscribed into an unbroken lineage of believers. Leaders are expected to have completed the formal requirements shared by organizations outside the group. In this case, contacts and acceptance by authorized members of a main organization are of critical importance. Inside the group, the teacher has authority inasmuch as he or she conforms to set standards of behavior that establish his or her legitimacy. Transmission is understood here as the necessary proof of one's ability to teach.

2.3. Issues of Authority

How should leadership be awarded? What kind of authority is to be accepted in Zen groups? How can gender relations be regulated in the midst of an egalitarian culture? These issues have attracted much attention in Western Zen circles, following scandals involving Zen teachers in various American centers during the 1980s. (53) In the subsequent decade some European teachers were also challenged on ethical grounds.(54)

A former member wrote a critical report on the IZA.(55) He denounced the hierarchical structure of the group and criticized the behavior of some of the older disciples, concluding that he cannot recommend this group to anyone interested in Zen practice. A detailed sociological discussion of this document is not in order here. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned because it illustrates conceptions of authority widely accepted among members and former members of the IZA. The first aspect of the critique implicitly states that the quality of Zen teachers is embodied in their everyday behavior. Their ethical shortcomings can only be interpreted as a sign of their inadequacy as Zen masters. Another aspect of the common vision of authority among converts is found when Ralf Halfmann denounces the organization's obsession with the founder. He understands the continuing reference to the late T. Deshimaru Rōshi and the teachings during zazen in terms of "mind control."

These critiques can be understood as the two facets of what constitutes the authority of a Zen master in the West. On one hand he or she is believed to have experienced (through practice under a qualified master) an awakening that is demonstrated in each and every action. On the other hand he or she is expected to exercise authority because of who he/she is rather than because of his or her credentials or affiliations. Two important consequences are to be noted here.

First, it follows from this definition that the authority of Zen masters expands beyond spiritual or religious concerns to include every aspect of life. Just as they can be criticized for their behavior in private by the followers, they are expected to give guidance on just about any problem that practitioners may experience, be it psychological, professional, or personal. Second, the insistence on experience tends to derive all authority from charisma, leaving the ultimate decisions to the leader. The spiritual guide is also chief administrator.

This "critical review of the IZA," just like scandals in American or European Zen centers, indicates that this idealization of the Zen master and its subsequent extended authority does not come without conflicts.(56) Many scholars, Buddhists, and Buddhist scholars have tackled this issue in the case of "American Zen" — to name but a few, Stuart Lachs has recently suggested that idealization of the Zen master's authority leaves the leader as alienated as the practitioners. Helen Tworkov and, more recently, Victor Hori have argued that misunderstandings often arise partly from cultural differences.(57)

Victor Hori states that in his training in Japan, everyday life teachings rely on a seniority-based hierarchy and are given on an ongoing basis by any monk in the monastery. Because positions and responsibilities rotate, any trainee receives instructions, however elliptical, from a more experienced practitioner at one time or another. In contrast, V. Hori stresses that in the American center he visited, explicit use of authority — teaching — is only expected from the master. I will focus the discussion here on the master-disciple relationship, although Hori's remark makes it clear that this is only one aspect of the authority issue. A full ethnographic account should examine all the levels of authority in the group studied.

Taisen Deshimaru was not a monastic. Critical of the state of Zen organizations in Japan, he established retreat centers for lay practitioners instead of monastic institutions.(58) Nevertheless, part of his authority came from his status as an ordained member of a century-old institution.(59) As a second and, in some cases, third generation of teachers is put into place, the interpretations of the situation diverge. A minority of former Deshimaru students emphasizes monastic training. It claims that Buddhism historically has always been transmitted in a monastic setting, which led one convert to comment that "Zen has not yet arrived in the West" because a strictly monastic network has yet to be created.(60)

Christopher Queen has described "the leveling of traditional spiritual and institutional hierarchies" (feminization and laicization) as a trend of "democratization" in American Buddhism.(61) A minority of European Zen practitioners demonstrate another trend. In their view the transmission from master to disciple is the foundation of a "spiritual hierarchy" that is not democratic.(62)

According to a French Zen master who first trained with Taisen Deshimaru, "One cannot certify oneself, no more than the group can certify their leader. This is politics. Spiritual life has never been about being popular. You need a true master because no sincere practitioner can afford to lose time on frauds."(63) Official recognition is identified here with spiritual achievement; individual charisma is to be sanctioned in the prescribed (institutionalized) way. The leader's authority is limited not by the group itself, but by the rules (precepts) that define his status.

However, the majority of T. Deshimaru's former disciples insist that Zen does not require monastic training. Cautious about not wanting to reproduce what they perceive as the trappings of big organizations in Japan — the predominance of formal requirements over authentic spiritual experience (which is coined as "formalism" in the groups studied) — they emphasize the individual aspect of transmission. A teacher wrote that "transmission is between two individuals and needs no involvement of an institution nor does it require any particular social status."(64) In accordance with this view, lay practice is seen as no less difficult than monastic training. Spiritual achievement is seen as more important than status as an ordained monastic.

As a consequence of these different views, the teacher-student relationships observed in those groups oscillate between two distinct patterns. Those patterns are not intangible and will vary within a particular group according to individuals' inclinations or seniority. When emphasis is placed on the spiritual achievement, the relationship can be described, following James Coleman recent typology, as one of "spiritual friends" (Pāli kalyana-mitta). (65) This affective bond between fellow seekers is one of mutual exchange rather than a mere transmission of knowledge from one person to another. As pointed out by Coleman, it can be compared to the relationship between older brother and younger siblings.

Most groups in the IZA tend to be closer to this model: first names are used to address teachers; furthermore, outside of the dōjō, collective ceremonies and ritual meals (Japanese oryoki) are held, there are few signs of ritual deference, and practitioners feel free to interact with the teachers. One teacher of the IZA explained that "you need this kind of proximity to educate the students. If the students keep to themselves and do not establish an informal relationship with their teacher, then he cannot teach them in everyday life. I try to make sure that I don't become inaccessible to the disciples." Our observations show that, apart from those decisions directly linked to the practice established by the founder, decisions are discussed and commented on by the followers who are listened to, no matter how experienced they are in the practice.

In groups that stress a spiritual hierarchy, students tend to relate to their teachers as a "spiritual authority." In this relationship, signs of deference are not confined to rituals, and only a few students can interact informally with the teacher. There is a greater social distance between the teacher and the students. Rules codify the way in which students address the teacher (the Japanese address of "sensei" is preferred to first names) or their behavior when the teacher is present.

J. Coleman compared this relationship to the Confucian model of the patriarch, noting that "as in Asia, subordinates are expected to give respect and obedience to their superiors, and the superiors are expected to show parental concern for the well-being of their subordinates."(66) In this case, the teacher does not only advise on spiritual matters, he or she also has almost complete authority in the administration of the centers and daily life of his or her students. Taisen Deshimaru was regarded in this manner by most of his students, who significantly define themselves as "disciples" rather than merely as "students."

The typologies presented here are heuristic tools. Jack Kornfield has stressed that "in time our teacher may fulfill many roles. They can be mentor and priest, confessor and guide, spiritual midwife and critic, mirror and exemplar of a radiant presence."(67) Moreover, most groups studied utilize the two types of authority or change their type of authority over time. During T. Deshimaru's life, the second type characterized his organization, highly centralized and clearly led by him in each and every aspect. After his demise in 1982, as only three of his disciples had received a transmission certificate (shiho) and had been chosen by the group (and not by the teacher), the structure of authority tended to be that of "spiritual friends." Internal literature often describes the relationship between his former disciples as one of "brothers and sisters in the Dharma."

In the late 1990s, as leaders appeared and more former disciples received certification as Zen masters (within or outside of the IZA), more emphasis was placed on the master-disciple relationship, shifting slowly back to the "spiritual authority" model. Other variables such as the age of the teacher (most of them were only in their forties when their teacher died) and the growth of the groups (smaller groups tend to adopt the first model when larger organizations inevitably imply less direct interaction with the teacher) also influenced this ongoing shift.

Consequently, the IZA now seems to be moving toward a new stage, with a limited number of recognized teachers leading autonomous but related groups, hence creating a network comparable to other Western Zen organizations such as the Diamond Sangha or the White Plum Sangha.(68) This development is to relate to a new context.

The abundance of Zen teachers in Europe documented in part one forces the establishment of a clear pattern of authority. Some of the active teachers are authorized to teach in a particular lineage, while others are self-proclaimed or chosen by a particular community. As a result, in order to be acknowledged by other organizations as a genuine Zen group, Zen communities need to establish their legitimacy and display recognizable patterns of authority. The three issues of sustainability, legitimacy, and authority need to be combined. More case studies will permit me to refine the proposed classifications and identify different models of transmission of Zen practices in Europe.(69)

Conclusion: Toward a Mediology of Zen in Europe

Zen is often defined by the verse attributed to Bodhidharma as "a special transmission outside the scriptural teachings," but there has been little description of the organizations defining and supporting this transmission in contemporary Europe.

This lack of attention to institutional differences has little to do with a rampant propaganda for Buddhism, as some observers have recently argued. Many Buddhist informants are quick to point out that this diversification of interpretations and practices of Zen only results from the degree to which Europeans have matured in their practice and refined their definitions and expectations. Stressing that the Zen experience is the only valid standpoint for describing Zen practice, they contend that studying institutions, as sociologists are bound to, is little more than trying to catch the moon's reflection in water.

However, sociologists have consistently pointed out that the religious experience is not only a matter of personal, subjective experience, but is also a collective endeavor. As explained by P. Berger, "the experience is credible because everyone says it is so or acts as if it were, and because various degrees of unpleasantness are imposed upon those who would deny it." (70)

Most Zen practitioners would adamantly deny that any sort of "unpleasantness" is imposed upon whoever does not believe in the reality of the experience. However, participating in groups' life and daily practices demonstrates clearly that there is always an orthopraxy, a correct way of doing things that defines each group.

How is mediology useful for a sociological analysis of the current making of a European Zen? First, it allows us to take the central reference to transmission in Zen circles into account without reducing it to a material phenomenon of one object being transmitted from one person to another and without simply taking it at face value. Indeed, Zen practitioners and literature make it clear that there is not an object being transmitted or, as the well-known expression puts it, that it is only "using mind to transmit mind" (Japanese Ishin Denshin).

Nevertheless, even a cursory look at findings of scholars of Zen history reveals that the lineage transmission is a rhetoric that was invented as late as the early Tang dynasty by Ch'an groups trying to gain legitimacy.(71) Therefore, transmission was the reflection of sociopolitical plays for power right from the start. Paying attention to the organizations that continue (or redefine) this transmission in a new context not only conforms to the conventions of classical sociology; this also avoids taking a naive approach to the making of a Western Zen.

As mentioned above, there is a great price to pay for any group choosing to maintain the illusion of an ideal community of enlightened beings living without conflicts or shortcomings. Organizational choices reflected in the discourse offered by the groups are today, as was the case some 1,300 years ago, part of strategies that are certainly a part of the picture. Identifying those strategies does not imply a calculating, manipulative mind behind the collective choices, but calls the attention of both scholars and practitioners to the potential consequences of those orientations.

The second advantage of a mediological approach can be found when trying to make sense of the diversification of styles of Zen practice. It is useful to recall that, from a mediological perspective, transmission implies differentiation. According to R. Debray, "every transmission is a polemical operation requiring strategic abilities (to ally, filter, exclude, establish hierarchies, co-opt, and so on) and can be seen as a struggle for survival within a system of opposing forces that tend to disqualify or phagocyte each other."(72)

This would explain the simultaneous presence of contrasting trends in European Zen institutions: on one hand nonsectarian or transsectarian orientations and on the other strong sectarian positions and oppositions. Moreover, this analysis would assert that both are necessary component of transmission.

Charting the territory, outlining geographical dynamics — to survive the passing of time requires a spatial strategy — would not only better our understanding of the various European Zen institutions; it will also help our comprehension of the current making of Western forms of Buddhism.


Note

Numerous Buddhists have generously given me time and information for this article. Those bodhisattvas shall remain unamed, but I know they will recognize themselves and hope they will accept my gratitude. Special thanks to the following people who read earlier drafts: Martin Baumann, Charles S. Prebish, Michelle Spuler, Luc Boussard, Philippe Coupey, Eric Rommeluère, and Wolfgang Waas have all found time in their busy schedules to provide insightful suggestions. I remain solely responsible for inaccuracies, errors, or misinterpretations.


Endnotes

(1) By this I do not mean that there has not been any research conducted on convert communities in Europe. I do want to point out that in some quarters of the U.S., the expression "Western Zen" has come to be synonymous with "American Zen," leaving out developments that are bound to affect the larger picture. A more global approach to the phenomenon has been adopted in the collective volume edited by Martin Baumann and Charles S. Prebish (University of California Press, forthcoming). Return to Text

(2) Henrik Karlsson, Towards a European Zen? (Uppsala: Zenvägen, 1993).Return to Text

(3) Henrik Karlsson, Towards a European Zen? (Uppsala: Zenvägen, 1993), quote 2. Emphasis in the original.Return to Text

(4) Tim Pallis, "Zen pā Dybbolsbro," Buddhistisk Forum 1 (1994), 16-19, quote 17. (My translation.) Return to Text

(5) The word "Zen," as well as references to Zen Buddhist practices and philosophy, was something of a catch phrase in the mid-1970s in counter-culture circles. In the next two decades "Zen" was increasingly used by the mainstream culture and came to signal an esthetics inspired by Japan and/or a calm state of mind. Return to Text

(6) Heinrich Dumoulin, Zen Buddhism in the 20th Century (New York: Weatherhill 1992), 9. Return to Text

(7) Régis Debray, Transmettre, (Paris: Odile Jacob 1997), 49. (My translation.) Return to Text

(8) Philip A. Mellor made a similar point. See P. Mellor, "Protestant Buddhism: The Cultural Translation of Buddhism in England" in Religion, 21, 2 (1991): 73-92. Return to Text

(9) Régis Debray, Transmettre, 28. Return to Text

(10) Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Return to Text

(11) Thomas Tweed, "Night-stand Buddhists and Other Creatures." In American Buddhism: Methods and Findings in Recent Scholarship, edited by Duncan R. Williams and Christopher S. Queen (Richmond: Curzon 1999), 71-90. Return to Text

(12) Recent studies have suggested that immigrant communities are quite different from convert communities. See, among others, Charles Prebish, "Two Buddhisms Reconsidered" Buddhist Studies Review, 10 (1993), 187-206; Jan Nattier, "Who is a Buddhist?" in The Faces of Buddhism in America, edited by Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K. Tanaka, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 183-195, and Paul Numrich, Old Wisdom in the New World (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1996). Return to Text

(13) Sources: Eric Rommeluère, Guide du Zen (Paris: Librairie Générale Française 1997); Philippe Ronce, Guide des centres bouddhistes en France (Paris: Noesis 1998); Alain Sillard, Bouddhimes, Guide des écoles du Bouddhisme en France, Suisse et Belgique, (Paris: Lesir, 1998); and the supplement by the Austrian Buddhist Association, Ursache und Wirkung (Autumn 1998). Return to Text

Three of the numerous directories provided on the World Wide Web have been chosen. One has been compiled by the IRIZ (International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism from Hanazano University in Kyoto). It can be accessed at http://www.iijnet.or.jp/iriz/zen_centers. A second is maintained by the GREZ (group for research and studies on Zen, European Buddhist University in Paris) and can be found at http://perso.club-internet.fr/ube/grez.html. The last (but not least) source of information on Zen centers in Europe is the informative site maintained by M. Ciolek for the RSPAS (Research School of Asian and Pacific Studies, Australian National University in Canberra) available at http://www.ciolek.com. Return to Text

(14) For the full report on this study, see Alioune Koné, L'Ouverture de la Montagne, Ph.D. dissertation, (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, forthcoming winter 2001). Return to Text

(15) Jeff Shore, "Japanese Zen and the West: Beginnings," FAS Society Journal, summer (1992), 46-82, quote 48.Reprint of the Anthology of Fo Kuang Shan International Buddhist Conference (1990): 438-460. Return to Text

(16) Martin Baumann, "Creating a European Path to Nirvana. Historical and Contemporary Developments of Buddhism in Europe," Journal of Contemporary Religion, 10, no. 1 (1995), 55-70. Return to Text

(17) On these historical developments, see the chapter by Martin Baumann in the afore-mentioned volume. Return to Text

(18) See Christmas Humphreys, Sixty Years of Buddhism in England (London: Pelican books, 1968) Return to Text

(19) Christmas Humphreys, Buddhism, (London: Pelican books, 1951, reedited in 1995), 179. Return to Text

(20) Abe Maseo, A Zen Life: D.T Suzuki Remembered. (New York: Weatherhill, 1986), 21. See also Henrich Dumoulin, Zen in the 20th Century, 4-10 and Bernard Faure, Chan Insight and Oversights: An Epistemological Critique of Chan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 52-88. Return to Text

(21) August Faust Ohasama, "Zen, der lebendige Buddhismus in Japan," (Gotha, 1925), quoted in Dumoulin, Zen in the 20th Century, 5, translated as "Professor Rudolf Otto on Zen Buddhism." The Eastern Buddhist 3, no. 2 (July-August-September, 1924): 117-125. See also Martin Baumann, Deutsche Buddhisten. Geschichte und Gemeinschaften (Marburg: Diagonal, 1995), 65. Return to Text

(22) Eugen Herrigel, Zen in der Kunst des Bogenschiessens (Munich: O. W. Barth Press, 1997, first edition 1948), (English translation New York: Pantheon Press, 1952). For a recent and devastating critique of Herrigel's interpretation, see Shõji Yamada, "The Myth of Zen in the Art of Archery" in Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 2001, 28/1-2. Return to Text

(23) See Brian Victoria, Zen at War. (New York: Weatherhill, 1997) The German edition presents additional material. See also Robert H. Sharf, "Whose Zen? Zen Nationalism Revisited" in Rude Awakenings, James W. Heisig and John C. Maraldo, eds, (Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1995), 40-51 and Robert H. Sharf, "The Zen of Japanese Nationalism," History of Religions, 33/1 (1993), 1-43. Return to Text

(24) Thomas A. Tweed worked out this typology in The American Encounter with Buddhism, 1844-1912: Victorian Culture and the Limits of Dissent. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 48-77. On the rhetoric of experience see Robert H. Sharf, "Buddhist Modernism and the Rhetoric of Meditative Experience" Numen, vol. 42, 1995, 228-83. Return to Text

(25) Quote in Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture, (Garden City, New York: Anchor Books 1969), 132. Return to Text

(26) For an account of Watts's influence, see Monica Furlong, Zen Effects: the Life of Alan Watts, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin 1986), 155-185. Return to Text

(27) Ernst Benz, Zen Buddhismus und Zen Snobismus (Weilheim: Obb 1962). Return to Text

(28) See Baumann, Deutsche Buddhisten; 68-81. Return to Text

(29) See Lenoir, Le Bouddhisme en France, (Paris: Fayard 1999), 278-284 and also Stephen Batchelor, The Awakening of the West: The Encounter of Buddhism and Western Culture, (London: Harper Collins 1994), 120-123 and 136-137. Return to Text

(30) For accounts on Seung Sahn by some of his early students, see Only Doing it for Sixty Years, Diana Clark, ed.; (Cumberland: Primary Point Press, 1987). Return to Text

(31) Soeng Mu. "Korean Buddhism in America." In The Faces of Buddhism in America, edited by Charles Prebish and Kenneth Tanaka, 118-146, quote 122. Return to Text

(32) On the first period of his missionary work in Brazil, see Christina Moreira da Rocha, "Zen in Brazil: Brazilian or Japanese," Journal of Global Buddhism, 1 (2000), 31-55. Online at http://jgb.la.psu.edu/1/darocha001.pdf. Return to Text

(33) See Stephen Batchelor, The Awakening of the West, 119-137. See also Peggy Jiyu Kenneth, How to Grow a Lotus Blossom (Mt. Shasta: Shasta Abbey Press, 1977). Return to Text

(34) For the organization of T. Lathouvers, see Rommeluère, Guide du Zen, 121. A presentation of the Western Ch'an fellowship is found on their rich site at http://www.w-c-f.org.uk. Return to Text

(35) See the KUSZ site: http://www.kwanumzen.com. Return to Text

(36) See Rommeluère, Guide du Zen, 87. Return to Text

(37) On Enomiya-Lasalle, see Ursula Baatz, Enomiya-Lasalle, ein Leben Zwischen den Welten, (Dusseldorf: Benziger, 1998). Return to Text

(38) See Manfred Bergler, "Ein Abriss der Rezeptionsgeschichte des Zen-Buddhismus in Deutschland [besonders des Beitrages von Graf K. von Durckheim]," Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte, 36, 1 (1984): 39-52; see also Gerhard Wehr, Dürkheim, Une vie sous le signe de la transformation (Paris: Albin Michel, 1997) Return to Text

(39) Henrik Karlsson, ed., Towards a European Zen? (Uppsala: Zenvägen, 1993), quote 42. Return to Text

(40) For the history and analysis of this school, see Robert Sharf, "Zen and the Way of the New Religions." Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 22/3-4 (1995), 417-58. Return to Text

(41) A similar approach can be found in Kenneth Kraft, "Recent Developments in North American Zen." In Kenneth Kraft (ed.), Zen: Tradition and Transition. New York: Grove Press, 1988, 178-198. Return to Text

(42) Duncan Williams and Senryoo Asai. "Japanese American Zen Temples: Cultural Identity and Economics" in American Buddhism: Methods and Findings in Recent Scholarship, edited by D. Williams and C. Queen, (Richmond: Curzon Press, 1999), 20-35. Return to Text

(43) For Douglas M. Padgett, "Americans Need Something to Sit On," Journal of Global Buddhism 1 (2000), 61-81, provides an approach of Buddhism among converts that could suggest that the sale (or resale) of meditation-related products is for many convert centers an alternative way of generating additional income, especially if there is no charge for the meditation activities. Return to Text

(44) It could be argued that more members mean more revenues. However, classical economical analysis of firms has long demonstrated that growth implies scale economy up to the point where required new investments send the costs skyrocketing. Return to Text

(45) This definition of a religious attitude is found in Danièle Hervieu-Léger, La Religion pour Memoire (Paris, Editions du CERF 1997), 141. Engl. translation, Religion as a Chain of Memory (Cambridge: Polity Press 2000). Return to Text

(46) Quote from teachings given during the meditation, Zen Dōjō of Paris (member of the IZA), February 1998. Return to Text

(47) Informal interview with a thirty-five year-old practitioner, Italy, November 1997. Return to Text

(48) Teachings during the meditation (zazen), Zen Dōjō of Paris, February 1998. Return to Text

(49) Frédéric Lenoir, Le Bouddhisme en France, (Paris: Fayard, 1999), quote 286. Return to Text

(50) On the relationship between Buddhism and New Age, see Denise Cush, "British Buddhism and the New Age." Journal of Contemporary Religion, 11, 2 (1996): 195-208. Return to Text

(51) Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity, (Oxford: Polity, 1990), quote 38. Return to Text

(52) Danièle Hervieu-Léger, Le Pèlerin et le converti. (Paris: Flammarion, 1999), 180-183. Return to Text

(53) For a brilliant historical analysis of these developments, see Richard Seager, Buddhism in America, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 185-200. Return to Text

(54) A penetrating analysis of these scandals and their consequences is provided by John Crook, "The Place of Ch'an in PostModern Europe," New Ch'an Forum, 22 Autumn (2000), 14-31, 18. Available online at http://www.w-c-f.org.uk. Return to Text

(55) Ralf Halfmann, "Zen in the West. A Critical Review of the International Zen Association," 1998. Available on the World Wide Web at http://www.darkzen.com. Return to Text

(56) For an analysis of the disastrous effects of this idealization in American Zen organizations, see Stuart Lachs, "A Slice of Zen in America." New Ch'an Forum 10 (1994), 12-20. Return to Text

(57) Helen Tworkov, Zen in America, (New York: Kodansha, 1994, first edition 1989), introduction, 4-20. Victor Soogen Hori, "Japanese Zen in America: Americanizing the Face in the Mirror." In Charles S. Prebish and Kenneth K Tanaka, eds., The Faces of Buddhism in America, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 3-78. Stuart Lachs, "Means of Authorization: Establishing Hierarchy in Ch'an/Zen in America," paper presented at the 1999 AAR conference. Available online at http://www.mandala.hr/5/aar.html. Return to Text

(58) According to some of his former students, he moved toward a more traditional temple at the end of his life but could not achieve it, not only because of his declining health but also because of enormous resistance among his older students. Return to Text

(59) According to his autobiography, he received the priest ordination from his master, Kodo Sawaki (1880-1965) after his training as a lay student, along with the instruction to bring Zen to the West. Taisen Deshimaru, Autobiographie d'un moine zen, (Lyon: Terre du ciel Press, 1995, first edition 1977), 175. Return to Text

(60) Personal interview with a thirty-nine year-old practitioner, February 1996, Hamburg. Return to Text

(61) Christopher Queen, "Introduction." In American Buddhism: Methods and Findings in Recent Scholarship, edited by Duncan R. Williams and Christopher S. Queen, (Richmond: Curzon Press, 1999), xiv-xxvii, quote xix. Return to Text

(62) Rita Gross has coined the term of "natural hierarchy" that is close, but not identical, since her strong limitations to the Guru power are not to be found among our informants, partly because the Guru model is less predominant in Zen circles than in the Tibetan Buddhism in which she trained. See Rita Gross, "Helping the Iron Bird Fly: Western Buddhist Women and Issues of Authority in the late 1990s" in Charles Prebish and Kenneth Tanaka, eds, The Faces of Buddhism in America, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 238-252. Return to Text

(63) Interview with a Zen teacher, Blois, November 1998. Return to Text

(64) Private e-mail correspondence, August 2000. Return to Text

(65) James William Coleman, The New Buddhism, (Oxford University Press: New York, 2001), 128-137 worked out a threefold typology. The third type of relationship to the teacher as a "guru," where teachers are actually worshipped by the followers, has not been observed in Zen groups related to T. Deshimaru Roshi. Coleman points out that it is more common in Tibetan Buddhism. Return to Text

(66) James William Coleman, The New Buddhism, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), quote 129. Return to Text

(67) Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart (New York: Bantam, 1993), quote 136. Quoted in J. Coleman, The New Buddhism, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 128. Return to Text

(68) Important forthcoming works are the study on the O.B.C. by David Kay (Lancaster University) and on the Order of Interbeing by Sebastien Jarnot (University of Rennes 2). Return to Text

(69) The Diamond Sangha is the network of former students of Robert Aitken. The White Plum Sangha is the network of Dharma heirs of Taizan Maezumi Rōshi (1931-1995). Return to Text

(70) Peter Berger, The Heretical Imperative (Garden City: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1979), quote 48. Return to Text

(71) See among others, Bernard Faure, The Will to Orthodoxy: A Critical Genalogy of Ch'an Buddhism (Stanford University press, 1997); Griffith Foulk, "the Ch'an Tsung in Medieval Japan: School, Lineage or What?" in The Pacific World: Journal of the Institute of Buddhist studies, new series, 8 (Fall 1992), 18-31; and William Bodiford, "Dharma Transmission in Sōtō Zen," in Monumenta Nipponica, 46, 4, 423-451. Return to Text

(72) Debray, Transmettre, quote 21. Return to Text