Mahayana: Year 3 of the Four Yana Program

The Four-Year Four Yana Program was designed by Genpo Roshi to serve the needs of those who aspire to be Zen Teachers by offering intensive year-long study and experience of the full spectrum of Buddhist teachings, centered around the four yanas, or vehicles, of Buddhism: Hinayana, Buddhayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.  An overview of the entire program can be found here.

The upcoming Program Year 3, "Mahayana," begins in October 2022.  Participation is limited to those invited by Genpo Roshi and committed to completing the full four years, beginning in the Fall of 2020.  Those who have not completed the first two years may, in rare cases, be permitted to join this year’s Program.  (Contact Bruce Lambson for further information.)

The Program offers the following Events and Resources, all of which are covered by the year’s tuition.  All events below are led by Genpo Roshi.  As a participant you will automatically receive all Zoom links and notifications you will need via email.

Events and Resources:

  • Three 5-Day Retreats
  • One 7-Day Retreat
  • Four Yana Small Group Meetings
  • Four Yana Group Sunday Talks
  • Personal contact with Genpo Roshi and Kanzeon Teachers
  • Access to all Kanzeon Big Mind Member Sunday Talks
  • Exclusive access to all video recordings of Four Yana Events
  • Total Access to the entire Big Mind Zen Media Archive

Participation Requirements:

Besides a strong commitment to your personal practice, participants must be Active Student / Friends of Roshi members in good standing. (See membership information here.)

The tuition for this program is $7500 per program year. This covers costs for all scheduled events and resources listed above.  Tuition is to be paid prior to the start of the program year or by payment plan arranged with Bruce Lambson. Contact him here.


The Heart Sutra (Maha Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra)  pdf

Identity of Relative and Absolute (Sandokai)  pdf

The Eight Awarenesses of the Awakened Mind

Having Few Desires
Knowing How to Be Satisfied
Enjoying Quiet
Mindful Speech

Zen Master Bankei
Additional translations and commentaries here.

Books by Genpo Merzel: 

The Path of the Human Being
Spitting Out the Bones

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi:  Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness, Zen Talks on the Sandokai


Hyakujo’s fox

Nansen kills the cat

Stone bridge of Joshu

Mumon’s warnings:  

To obey the rules and regulations is to tie oneself without a rope.
To act freely and without restraint is heresy and deviltry.
To be aware of the mind, making it pure and quiet, is the false Zen of silent illumination.
To arbitrarily ignore causal relations is to fall into a deep pit.
To abide in absolute awakening with no darkening is to wear chains with a yoke.
Thinking of good and evil is being in heaven and hell.
To have views about the Buddha and the Dharma is to be imprisoned inside two iron mountains.
Becoming aware of consciousness at the instant it arises is toying with the soul.
Practicing concentration in quiet sitting is an action of devils.
If you go forward, you will go astray from the essence.
If you go back, you oppose the principle.
If you neither go forward nor back, you are a dead man breathing.

Participants must be able to express in living action how you will respond in each case.

Genpo Roshi on the Mahayana Year of the Four Yana Program

“When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind
as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away.”

After we experience the non-dual reality we must move on to embrace both the dual (Hinayana) and the non-dual (Buddhayana) realities, including as well as transcending them both. This is the focus of the third stage.

Mahayana Buddhism is based on coming from the Apex with wisdom and compassion, acting appropriately with discernment, including the dual and non-dual realities and beyond, embracing and transcending all opposites. This is what I mean by coming from the Apex in our everyday life, it is coming from choice rather than victimhood, from trust rather than fear. From here there is no one to blame. We simply take full responsibility for cause and effect, action and reaction, for life and death. It is not ignoring causation but rather being one with our karma.

This period of practice will be focused on Apex discernment beyond dual and non-dual reality, with shikantaza, sutras and Big Heart Apex work. We will study appropriate koans, specifically those that ask us to be able to function freely either verbally or non-verbally. We will also study the Precepts from the Mahayana perspective. Big Heart Apex work will be crucial during this stage.

Four Yana Program Year 3 Mahayana Schedule

                                                               © Kanzeon, Inc. site notice & copyright | privacy policcookie policy | contact 

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software