*1: All Japanese names on this Web site are written in the original Japanese way, namely, the family names come first. In order to avoid possible misunderstanding all family names are written in capital letters.

* The First Abbot * YASUTANI Haku'un Rôshi *1

The SANBÔZEN is a Zen-Buddhist Religious Foundation (shûkyô-hôjin) started by YASUTANI Haku'un Rôshi on 8 January 1954.

   YASUTANI Roshi, who was born on 5 January 1885 in Shimizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, formally became a Soto Buddhist monk when he was 13 years old. In 1925 he met HARADA Sogaku Rôshi (1871-1961), and eventually became one of his Dharma successors. YASUTANI Roshi deplored how the Soto monks of the time were preoccupied with superficially carrying out Buddhist ceremonies and neglected the vital practice of realizing one's true self. So he left the Soto school and founded an independent religious foundation, the SANBÔZEN, in order to re-vitalize authentic Zen among those earnest seekers of the Way, who, at that time, happened to be mostly lay people. "Sanbô," literally "three treasures," signifies the three most basic principles of Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. "Kyôdan," on the other hand, means "religious organization." In this name, therefore, one can perceive YASUTANI Roshi's aspiration as well as his determination to create a religious community that purely devotes itself to maintaining the true Buddhist Way.

   The genesis of the foundation reveals already that the basic character of the organization is that of the Soto line. But, following the tradition stemming from HARADA Sogaku Roshi, the SANBÔZEN integrated the Rinzai method of koan study as well in its Zen training in order to bring its students effectively to the realization of their true self.

   YASUTANI Roshi thus instructed a countless number of practitioners both in Japan and, from 1962 on, in Europe and the United States. In 1970 he resigned from the abbotship and had YAMADA Kôun Roshi take the leadership of the organization. YASUTANI Roshi passed away on 28 March 1973.
YASUTANI Haku'un Roshi

* The Second Abbot * YAMADA Kôun Rôshi

The second abbot of the SANBÔZEN, YAMADA Kôun Rôshi, was born in Nihonmatsu City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on 18 March 1907. He started Zazen in Manchuria in 1943 under the guidance of KÔNO Sôkan Roshi. Upon returning to Honshu, Japan, in 1945 he devoted himself to zazen practice under ASAHINA Sôgen Rôshi of the Engakuji in Kamakura as well as under HANAMOTO Kanzui Roshi of the Mokusenji in Ôfuna. However, he never became a monk and continued to work in the business world; his major position was president of the Tokyo Kembikyôin Medical Center.

   YAMADA Roshi received the Buddhist precept from HARADA Sogaku Roshi in 1950; through this connection he came into contact with YASUTANI Roshi, HARADA Roshi's disciple, whom YAMADA Roshi invited in 1953 to launch the Zen group called "Kamakura Haku'un-kai" and to begin a monthly zazenkai in Kamakura. In the same year he experienced an unusually deep enlightenment, which led him to the Dharma succession in 1960. In 1967 he was appointed Zen Master (shôshike) of the SANBÔZEN. Three years later he became the president of the Kyôdan.
YAMADA Kôun Roshi

The San'un Zendo as the Central Dôjô
  In 1970, Kôun Roshi, together with his wife Dr. Kazue YAMADA , built the San'un Zendo in his family compound. ("San'un" means "three clouds," representing the three Zen masters in the same lineage: "HARADA Daiun [big cloud]," "YASUTANI Haku'un [white cloud]," and "YAMADA Kôun [plowing cloud]"). Subsequently the San'un Zendo became the central dôjô [place of practice] of the SANBÔZEN. Here, YAMADA Kôun Roshi guided both Japanese and non-Japanese students in the zazenkai (zazen gathering at the weekend, held twice a month) as well as in the sesshin (zazen gathering for several days, held several times a year).

   Especially after Father Hugo M. ENOMIYA-LASSALLE became an earnest student of YAMADA Roshi, many Christian priests, nuns and pastors started to seek the guidance of YAMADA Roshi.

   By the time of his passing on 13 September 1989 as many as 24 Japanese and 21 non-Japanese disciples had finished the formal course of Zen training.

the entrance to the San'un Zendo

 *Pater Enomiya-Lassalle(Center)              
     Kôun Roshi with Mrs. Kazue YAMADA

the board called han



* The Third Abbot * KUBOTA Ji'un Rôshi

   KUBOTA Ji'un Rôshi, was born in Tokyo in 1932, and became YASUTANI Roshi's student in 1949, finishing his koan training in 1970. After YASUTANI Roshi passed away in 1973 he sought YAMADA Kôun Roshi's guidance. In 1983 he was appointed Zen Master [Shôshike] of the SANBÔZEN, and consequently succeeded to the Dharma of YAMADA Kôun Roshi in 1985. After the passing of YAMADA Kôun Roshi in September 1989 KUBOTA Roshi took over the presidency of the SANBÔZEN in October of the same year, remaining in the office until October 2004.

* The Fourth Abbot * YAMADA Ryôun Rôshi

   YAMADA Ryôun Rôshi was born in 1940 in Manchuria, and became YASUTANI Roshi's disciple when he was 16 years old. In 1978 he finished his formal Zen training under YAMADA Kôun Roshi, and in 1985 he succeeded to the Dharma of Kôun Roshi. As a Zen Master [Shôshike] of the SANBÔZEN he took over the office of the Abbot of the SANBÔZEN in October 2004.

* Gundula MEYER Rôshi

   There are other Zen Masters (shôshike) in the SANBÔZEN: Gundula MEYER (Zuiun-an)Roshi, born in Lübeck in Germany, is an ordained minister in the Protestant Church. She became a disciple of YAMADA Kôun Roshi in 1977, and has devoted herself in Zen ever since. Completing her koan study after several years, she went back to Germany and opened her Zendo in Ohof in northern Germany in 1987. She has been active in guiding a zendo also in Sweden. In 2001 she received the Dharma from KUBOTA Roshi and was appointed Zen Master [Shôshike] of the SANBÔZEN.

* TONOIKE Hekiun Rôshi

   Born in 1926 TONOIKE Rôshi started his Zen practice under YASUTANI Haku'un Roshi in 1968. After Haku°«un Roshi's retirement in 1971 he practiced under YAMADA Kôun Roshi. From 1976 on he was attendant to YAMADA Roshi, finishing his koan study in 1978. For a long time he has been the secretary general of the Secretariat of the SANBÔZEN Society. He has long been guiding the practitioners as the chief leader of the San°«un Zendo assembly as well as the leader of his Kanda-Zazenkai in Tokyo. In November 2009 he was appointed Zen Master [Shôshike] of the SANBÔZEN by the Abbot YAMADA Ryôun Roshi.

* Kyûun-ken SATO Migaku Rôshi

Kyûun-ken SATO Migaku Rôshi Born in 1948. Professor emeritus for the New Testament at Rikkyo University in Tokyo (Dr. theol. in Berne in 1985). First contact with Zen with Father Enomiya-Lassalle in 1982 in Switzerland. From 1985 Zen student of YAMADA Kûun Rûshi of the Sanbûzen School. After his death in 1989 student of Kubota Ji'un Rôshi and from 2004 student of YAMADA Ryôun Rôshi. Licensed to teach since 2004, Dharma transmission from YAMADA Ryôun Roshi in August 2020, also Zen Master [Shôshike] of the Sanbôzen School since then.
Presently he is mainly active at Sanbo Zendo Weyarn in Bavaria, Germany. He gives sesshin also in Israel and in Japan.

* Shûhô-ken Othmar FRANTHAL Rôshi

Born in 1956 in Vorau (Austria). He was the victim of a serious traffic accident at the age of 19, which led to a new orientation in his life plan. He retrained as a certified geriatric nurse and worked in the social center of the Parish Herz Jesu in Graz (Austria), attended the Catholic Social Academy in Vienna and received basic training in client-centered conversation according to Rogers. He has been married to his wife Barbara since 1982. As founding members of the Franciscan Community of the "House of Silence" near Graz, they participated in community life there for ten years, until he and his wife moved to Dietfurt in 1991.
The direct encounter with death and transient nature of life led Othmar Franthal to the Zen path, where he was trained under Prof. Nagaya Kiichi, P. Hugo Enomiya-Lassalle, P. Viktor Löw, Kubota Ji°«un Rôshi and YAMADA Ryôun Rôshi . Appointment as Zen Teacher of Sanbôzen in 1998, Dharma transmission from YAMADA Ryôun Rôshi and authorization as Zen Master [Shôshike] of Sanbôzen in 2020. More than 20 years Director of the Meditation House St. Franziskus in Dietfurt.

* Sôun-ken Bruce HARRIS Rôshi

Born and raised in Northern California. Painter and wood-block artist. Throughout the seventies he practiced Rinzai Zen, first in London, then at Daishu-in in Kyoto under the direction of Morinaga Sôkô Rôshi , who gave him guidance by correspondence on his return to live in France.
In the early 80's Bruce turned to the Sanbozen lineage, studying with YAMADA Kôun Rôshi in Kamakura, until Rôshi 's death in 1989, then with his successor YAMADA Ryôun in Tokyo. Over the years, he has returned to Japan as frequently as possible, receiving Ryôun Rôshi 's vividly clear, kind, and uncompromising dokusan guidance. He received the Dharma from Ryôun Rôshi in August 2020 and was appointed Zen Master [Shôshike] of Sanbozen.
Residing in Montpellier, in the South of France, he shares his practice in a simple, non-monastic style, both in France and in the United States (California, West Virginia).

* Ryôun-ken Henry SHUKMAN Rôshi

Ryôun-ken Henry SHUKMAN Rôshi He began meditating at the age of 25 in the Transcendental Meditation style, transitioning into Zen a few years later, under guidance from various teachers in Britain and America, prior to meeting his primary Zen teachers, Joan Rieck Rôshi, Zen teacher John Gaynor and Ruben Habito Rôshi. Since 2007 he has trained under YAMADA Ryôun Rôshi, Abbot of Sanbo£ķen. Dharma transmission from Ryôun Rôshi in 2020 and appointment as Sanbôzen Zen Master [Shôshike] in the same year. Now he is Mountain Cloud Zen Center°«s Guiding Teacher, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and also teaches at Sonnenhof in Germany.
Henry is also a writer and poet of British-Jewish origin, who has published nine books to date, of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. He lives in Santa Fe with his wife Clare, with whom he has two adult sons.

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