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The transitional space between this life and the next life.


“The Awakened One,” our Original Teacher (See Shakyamuni below). Also symbolizing the Oneness of Life.

Dharma Transmission

The recognition by an authentic teacher, one who has received transmission, of the student’s readiness to carry forth the teaching independently.


The Greyston Foundation created by Roshi Bernie as a vehicle for social action, serving the formerly homeless and people living with AIDS, Greyston created a network of for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises providing housing, daycare, employment and healthcare.


Zen stories. When you work with a koan, it pushes you to let go of thinking.

Lotus Sutra

One of the most important of the Buddha’s teachings, said to symbolize the oneness of cause and effect, the cause of aspiring for enlightenment.

Ox Classes

The study of the Ten Ox-Herding pictures that portray the stages leading to Enlightenment. In Zen, the Ox symbolizes the Buddha nature.


A spiritual leader in the Zen community. Literally “old teacher.” In our lineage, an honorary title sometimes conferred on senior teachers.

Roshi Francisco ‘Paco’ Lugovina

My dharma brother. Paco received Denbo and Inka from Roshi Bernie.

Roshi Robert “Bob” Kennedy

Roshi Bob is a Jesuit priest and one of the first non-Buddhists to receive Dharma Transmission in our lineage. He is my older, senior brother in the Dharma lineage. After Jishu passed, I began to do Koans with Bob in Jersey City, which lasted six years. Bob raised me in the dharma, in the Buddha Way. He was always generous. He embodies extraordinary humility and openness and taught me to appreciate the gifts which I have been given.


Also known as Gautama Buddha, the Buddha, or Lord Buddha. We trace our Zen lineage back to him as our founding teacher.


In our Soto tradition, Shuso is the second step on the path to full ordination. Traditionally, one serves as Shuso, as the lead student for a three-month training period, usually about two years after Tokudo. A role in a traditional Zen monastery that translates to “chief seat.”


In Zen, we trace our lineage back to the Buddha himself, a lineage of Zen teachers and students/successors who have received authorization to teach and to transmit the Dharma.

Ten Grave Precepts

The code of morality in Buddhism.


One of the Paramitas. A skillful means used to help a student or other person that helps one another achieve or realize the oneness of life.


A branch of Buddhism arising in China, rooted in the practice of just sitting, and the face-to-face transmission of the Dharma.


A space set aside for group meditation.

Bernie Glassman

Bernie Glassman, was my Zen root teacher. He was the founder of The Greyston Foundation, a mandala of for-profit and not-for-profit enterprises in Yonkers, NY with Roshi Jishu, the founder of the Zen Peacemaker Order. (Previously the Zen Community of New York). He was a champion of social enterprise, and founded the Greyston Bakery – which employed the local homeless – in Yonkers, NY. Bernie taught me that I didn’t need to choose between social action and spiritual practice. He was one of the leading figures in the emergence of Engaged Buddhism late in the 20th century, and he truly showed me the way. Bernie’s impact on me has not only changed my life, but has led to a profound impact on the lives of over a thousands of public school students and their families on Staten Island.


The teachings of the Buddha as transmitted mind-t0-mind and in a voluminous scripture over the past 2500 years. Also, symbolizing the diversity of all things, of each moment, “every blade of grass.”


Formal interviews with the teacher, usually very brief.


A formal Zen ceremony in Zen in which one receives the sixteen precepts from a fully transmitted teacher. takes refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. In our lineage, this ceremony is thought of often as “becoming a Buddhist.”

Kyudo Nakagawa Roshi

Founder and teacher of the Soto Zendo, Kyudo Roshi was my first teacher in the flesh. A Dharma successor of the great Soen Nakagawa Roshi, he came to New York twice a year to lead sesshins. Kyudo’s embodiment of stillness has inspired me to practice. He taught me to sit Zazen, the core practice of Zen Buddhism (add definition), he embodied stillness, and he had meant so much to me.


Taizan Maezumi Roshi, one the foremost teachers to bring Zen to the United States. He was Roshi Bernie's teacher and my dharma grandfather. Maezumi Roshi founded the Zen Center of Los Angeles.


The Buddhist practices which can help take us beyond our everyday suffering.

Roshi Chris Panos

My dharma brother. Chris received Denbo from Roshi Bernie and Inka from Roshi Paco and myself.

Roshi Jishu Holmes

Roshi Jishu Holmes was my heart teacher. Jishu was the most humble person I have ever known. She was my teacher in the Ox classes, which were the most important, a major supplement to my mediation practice. I became Jishu’s student when she was abbot of ZCNY, and accepted my offer to ordain in order to serve as her first Shuso. One of her greatest gifts was softness.


The community of Buddhist practitioners. Also symbolizing the harmony between the Oneness of Life (Buddha) and the Diversity of All Things (Dharma).

Shunryu Suziki

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, with Maezumi Roshi, the most important transmitter of Soto Zen to America. Suzuki Roshi was the founder of the San Francisco Zen Center. He is the author of the widely read Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.


One of the Paramitas, literally discipline, generally thought to encompass morality and appropriate conduct.


A talk given by a teacher to the Sangha, a showing of the Way.


The first step on the path to ordination in our Soto Zen tradition. Literally, tokudo is the “home leaving ceremony” in which one’s head is shaved, a symbolic letting go of a former life and of rebirth on a path dedicated to the realization and actualization of the Oneness of Life.


Sitting meditation. The primary practice in Zen Buddhism.

Zen Peacemakers

Initially a Buddhist religious Order founded by Bernie Glassman and Jishu Holmes, the Zen Peacemakers focuses on community are committed to and social action and peace building rooted ion the Zen Peacemakers Three Tenets: Not Knowing, Bearing Witness and Healing Taking Action.

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