Thorough practice means practice
in which man never neglects the details of daily life but leads the fullest existence
without the slightest trace of deception.
Keido Chisan Koho Zenji
Founder Keido Chisan Kojo Zenji Rev. Keido Chisan Koho Zenji was born on August 16, 1879, in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. He was ordained as a Buddhist trainee by Koho Hakugun of Eiko-ji Temple, Ishikawa Prefecture in 1892, and received the Dharma Transmission from him in 1901. He graduated from the Soto Zen Sect’s Kamazawa University and entered Soji-ji Temple in 1904. The next year he became the Abbot of Senpuku-ji Temple in Chiba Prefecture, and in 1907 he became the Abbot of the Raigaku-ji Temple in Nagano Prefecture.
In 1915 he became the Vice-Principal of the Soto Zen Church First Middle School. He became the Treasurer of the Soto Zen Headquarters (Sotoshu Shumucho) in 1916. In the following year he advanced to become the Abbot of Eiko-ji Temple and the Vice Director of Daihonzan Soji-ji. In 1937 he was promoted to be Director of Soji-ji. In 1947 he received the post of Abbot of Saijo-ji Temple, which was quickly followed by promotion to Chief Abbot of Daihonzan Soji-ji and Archbishop of the Kanto Plains, and receipt of the honor and the title Daikyosei (Great Teacher) from the Emperor of Japan in 1948. During the next 12 years he made two tours of the West. Rev. Jiyu-Kennett became his personal disciple in 1962, after he invited her to come to Japan to study with him. She received the Dharma Transmission from him on May 28, 1963, and later received a Sei degree (roughly equivalent to a Doctor of Divinity) from Daihonzan Soji-ji. While he was still Abbot of Soji-ji, Koho Zenji died on November 1, 1967, which is traditionally “Founder’s Day” in Zen Temples. (It is a day to give thanks for the kindness of the Buddhas and Ancestors who have dedicated their lives to the teaching and transmitting of the Buddha’s Truth.)
In November of 1970, Rev. Jiyu-Kennett established a training monastery and seminary in Mount Shasta, California in Koho Zenji’s name. He is the first founder of Shasta Zan Chisan-ji (Shasta Abbey). In 1972 she established a British monastery, Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, where the Dharma transmitted to her from Koho Zenji is flourishing in Great Britain and Europe. In 1985 a portion of his ashes were brought from Japan and were formally installed in the Founder’s Shrines at Shasta Abbey and Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey.
From Soto Zen: An Introduction to the Thought of the Serene Reflection Meditation School of Buddhism by The Very Reverend Keido Chisan Koho Zenji, Edited by Reverend Jisho Perry, M.O.B.C.
Shasta Abbey Press, Mount Shasta, California 2000 ISBN: 0-930066-09-X
Download book in pdf. Offered in the spirit of dana, this book is available in the Guest House at Shasta Abbey.
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