Three Paths for Study with Genpo Roshi

My deepest wish continues to be to clarify the Way and assist others to awaken, for all of us to get to the root of suffering, causing as little suffering as possible, and for each of us to realize our unique opportunity as aware and responsible human beings. In my view, rather than striving to be perfect, we need to recognize our innate perfection, while acknowledging all aspects of our shared humanity, including our fears and our shadows, and owning them with courage and humility. We cannot ignore our karma; it is our life, and in my experience our practice is to be at one with it, to live with joy, wisdom and compassion towards all beings.

Looking forward, beginning in 2014 I will be offering three paths for those who wish to study with me. I have spent the past three years in self-reflection, deepening my practice and working on acknowledging my own shadows and deeply rooted patterns. It is my intention to devote the remainder of my life to integrating the Zen Tradition and Big Mind and the challenges of continuing, endless practice with those who would like to share them.

It is my hope that these three paths will be responsive to your personal aspirations and circumstances. While I will go as deeply as possible with those of you who wish to study with me, either as new or continuing students, I don’t want this commitment to take precedence over your family, career, and responsibilities. Rather than having students submit or surrender to me, I am looking for a relationship of openness between teacher and student, where there is readiness to receive the Teaching, and respect for the wisdom and humanness of one another.

Active students, or those who wish to become active students, are invited to choose one or more of the three paths described below. (For information about becoming an Active Student, see here.) These paths are not mutually exclusive; the descriptions are intended to help you clarify your current intentions, which may evolve over time.

1). The Path of the Big Heart Zen Lineage:

For those who aspire to share the spiritual depth and riches of Zen tradition, and may wish to go further and facilitate Big Mind within the Big Heart Zen Lineage. This path will focus on skillful means for transmitting the Zen teachings of the great masters, including koans, Big Mind, and zazen. In addition to offering the Precepts and Bodhisattva (Bodhi) Vows, I will be offering empowerment as a Big Mind Zen Facilitator and eventually Transmission in this Lineage.

The number of students I believe I personally can work with effectively in this path will be relatively limited , around 20-25. They will be expected to maintain an ongoing commitment as active students and to deepen their practice by attending as many trainings with me as possible. Those who I feel are qualified to facilitate and teach others to facilitate Big Mind within the Big Heart Zen Lineage will be listed on the Big Mind website as Big Mind Zen Facilitators.

2). The Big Mind Zen Secular Path:

For those who aspire to bring Big Mind as a skillful means into the world in their profession or vocation to benefit their clients, patients, employees, associates or students. Those who choose this lay path need not be interested in the Zen Tradition, or carrying on the Zen Lineage but do wish to become Big Mind Facilitators. However, since Zen is the foundation of Big Mind, you will need to have an understanding of Zen and a regular sitting practice to pursue this path.

If you are licensed, certified or credentialed in your professional field, you may receive Acknowledgment as a Big Mind Facilitator, able to lead and facilitate Big Mind, and eventually as a Big Mind Teacher, able to mentor and teach others to facilitate Big Mind, when I feel you are qualified. Acknowledged Big Mind Facilitators and Big Mind Teachers will be listed as such on the Big Mind website.

The number of students I can work with personally in this path will be very limited, and they will be expected to maintain an ongoing commitment as active students and to deepen their practice by attending as many trainings with me as possible.

3). The Path of Personal Exploration and Growth:

For those who aspire to study with me but not, at this time, to become an Acknowledged Big Mind Facilitator or carry on the Big Heart Zen Lineage.  This path is open to all who wish to deepen their practice, clarify their understanding, and explore the spiritual depth and riches of Big Mind or the Zen Tradition, and may wish to share what they’ve learned with friends and family. Active students on this path will have the benefits of personal guidance and discounts listed on the website. All others are always invited to attend events, teleconferences, workshops and any other of my teachings.

I am planning to eventually offer four six-day trainings a year, as well as Big Heart Retreats, workshops and other teachings. Two of the trainings will focus on learning how to facilitate Big Mind; two will focus more on transmitting the Teachings. These events will be held at various locations in Utah, California, Maui and Europe, and eventually perhaps in other states and countries as well. Members and active students are encouraged to participate, and will receive a discount on events, but trainings, retreats, and workshops continue to be open to all who would like to attend.

All active students and members will have the benefits listed on the website, and as in the past all who complete eighteen days of Facilitator training will receive a Certificate of Completion and be listed on the Big Mind website, as long as they continue their study by attending a minimum of one five- or six-day training a year. Membership is also an important contribution to Big Mind in helping to make the teachings more widely available, and is open to anyone who wishes to support the teachings in this way.

Active students are welcome to work with me in one or more of these three paths. If you are not currently an active contributing student and would like to become one, please see the information on the Active Student, Member webpage.

If you would like to participate in one or more of the three paths, please apply by filling out this online form. Current active students need not fill out the form. However, I would like to know your aspiration, which you can communicate to me by email. If you have any questions, please send an email to me, with a copy to Mary Ellen.

— D. Genpo Merzel

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