Weekly Activity

7:00 – 9:00 PM: Dharma Lecture and Discussion

7:00 – 8:30 PM: Yoga Exercise Class

3:30 – 5:30 PM: Basic Zen Session for Adults

1:30 – 2:30 PM: Youth Vietnamese Class
2:30 – 3:30 PM: Zen session for children from 5 to 15 years old
3:30 – 5:30 PM: Dharma Lecture and Discussion

Pictures of Youth Zen Training
Miscellaneous :

About Thanksgiving Ceremony:

*** In memory of the Zen Master Phillip Kapleau (1912 – 2004):

*** Master Hakuin Chant In Praise Of Zazen:

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The Shout of a Zen Master

Zen Master Phillip Kapleau, founder of Rochester Zen Center in New York and author of many Zen books in which “The Three Pillars of Zen” is among one of the most famous and read books written by the Zen Master, had returned to the eternal realm on May 6, 2004 while being surrounded by family, friends and Zen students.

It was a beautiful day filled with calm sunrays in the lovely garden of the Rochester Zen Center.

Sat in his wheelchair and surrounded by family, friends and students, Zen Master Kapleau was taken into the Rochester Zen Center garden where he spent more than forty years of transmitting the Zen method directly to his students. From the time he was physically feeble, he had been taken to this garden on a daily basis. Then on that day, under the serene of the earth and sky and the calmness of the atmosphere, suddenly, the Zen Master shouted repetitiously, extraordinary sounds of scream as if to move the earth and sky.

The Zen Master continued to shout for about ten minute times. Was his scream implying a supreme thought that manifested a sacred life energy unending in him? Such life energy is inherent within us and all sentient beings. To display such power during the moment of near death as people usually refer to! Only the Zen Master and people who understood or understanding Zen can penetrate and admire this fantastic esoteric thought because it was the shout of reminding, the shout of awakening. The shout directed toward teaching the students, family and our whole entity: “Sound, sound… no sound… transcending sound and no sound”.

The shout had echoed in this generation and will continue to echo through many generations to come.

The shout truly quaked the earth and sky. The sacred shout filled with the power of life energy. It was the sound of lion’s roar yet filled with compassion and responsibility of a Zen Master upon the completion of his teaching even in his final breath to his students and to all sentient beings.

During the ten-minute time with the echoing sounds of scream, his students kept silence and respectfully listened… And then, together, they suddenly chanted “The Heart Sutra”. When the chantings arose with several verses, the Zen Master opened his eyes widely, radiantly and stopped shouting. Then, his eyes slowly closed and forever closed from that moment on. “Sound, sound… no sound… transcending sound and no sound”.

The fearless characteristic and integrity of Zen Master Kapleau acknowledged that he had attained the self-determination and complete independence from himself and circumstance. He is one who completely penetrated the notion of have, have not, presence and absence of life and transcended this notion of have, have not, presence and absence. Until the very last moment prior to his departure from this life, he still shouted loudly the sound of grandeur to awaken the remaining people “here is the true nature inherent within us”. He still shouted loudly the sound extraordinaire to remind the later generations to relieve all delusions and return to our own radiant wisdom.

He had shouted the final sound to shove the student onto the enlightened shore.

Upon recollection, Zen Master Kapleau was borned in 1912 in Connecticut, studied law and became a court reporter. In 1945, Zen Master Phillip Kapleau came to Japan as a reporter for the court sessions on war crimes. It was mainly the brutal and horrific aspects of war during World War II era that deeply effected and awakened the spirituality in the life of Zen Master Phillip Kapleau.

Returned to New York in 1950, Phillip Kapleau studied Buddhism under Zen Master Suzuki, but he still not yet satisfied his fulfillment. In 1953, Phillip Kapleau decided to resign from his jobs in court and moved to Japan to study the religion.

Resided in Japan for 13 years and studied under the guidance of three Zen Masters, he finally received the seal of approval by Zen Master Hakuun Yasutani (White Cloud) in 1965. Mainly within the period of studying under Zen Master Hakuun Yasutani, Roshi Phillip Kapleau completed the book “The Three Pillars of Zen”, one of the most valuable books recognized as the basic principles for those who are in search of understanding and practicing Zen. This worldwide renowned book was also translated into 12 languages in which there was the Vietnamese translation done by Do Dinh Dong and was re-published recently by Sung Nghiem Zen Center in California.

Studied and practiced among the Zen centers of the Soto (Tao Dong) and Rinzai (Lam Te) schools, upon returning to New York, Zen Master Kapleau transmitted all of his experience to his students. He was recognized as one of the first teachers to transmit the Zen method in the United States. The Rochester Zen Center was quickly established and progressed. Zen Master Kapleau was often invited to expound on Zen at many places in the world. Everywhere he went, the Zen Master brought to the listeners much new learning on the mind awakening, a vitality that can only be obtained by realization not by rationalization or any other ways.

Reported by Trinh Gia My
(The Vietnamese People newspaper, number 6810, July 30, 2004)