Conversation with Janelle Collard, April 17, 2014

Awakening Zone Radio - The International Network for Empowered Awakening

Show – For The Love Of Eve with Janelle Collard

Genpo Roshi: Big Mind Big Heart

THURSDAY, 04/17/2014 – 12:00 PM CDT


Janelle Collard


In this episode, we’ll be talking with Buddhist Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel.  Genpo grew up as your typical Jewish American white boy in southern California; a life guard and an all American polo player.  How then did he goon to become a Zen Priest, a teacher in both the Soto and Rinzai schools of Zen Buddhism, Abbot of Kanzeon since 1988, and creator of the Big Mind Process in 1999? What?  He’ll tell us about his great awakening experience and how that led him to the long road of where he is today, a Zen Master and  great teacher of life!

We’ll be discussing the amazing breakthrough process he created called Big Mind Big Heart, which is a sort of voice dialog therapy “on steroids”!   What we can do with the Big Mind process is learn how easy it is to shift the perspectives of our shadow aspects or the sub personalities of our psyche,  which are most often disowned and causing havoc and unhappiness.  Once we begin to give a voice to a disowned aspect of ourselves we bring it back into the system to incorporate, heal and then go on to  make better choices.  Genpo has been working with this processsince 1999 which philosopher Ken Wilber states…”arguably the most important and original discovery in the last two centuries of Buddhism.   It is remarkable and very effective!

We will also be discussing his latest book “The Fool WhoThought He Was God” , a compelling read which is jammed packed with insights and wisdom in an entertaining  fictional  story. Genpo says it is a culmination of the last 43 plus years of his work, his studies, his discoveries and his wisdom. In my opinion it is a brilliant cross between Conversations with God and Tuesday’s with Maury! A great read that asks and answers many concerns we are struggling with today such as; “what does God want from us” and “how can we reach our highest potential in this life time”?  If you have never met a Zen Buddhist Master, or even if you have, you’re going to love Genpo Roshi, his wit, his charm and most of all, his great wisdom!  Listen live on 4/17/14 at 12:00 noon CMT or in our archive section at your convenience.


    Genpo Roshi

From his first awakening in 1971, Genpo Merzel’s life has been about waking up to our essential nature, our True Self.  For the past forty years since then his purpose and his passion have remained the same: to deepen his own clarity and to assist others to awaken and realize their true nature.

A champion swimmer and All-American water polo player in his youth, Merzel received a Master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Southern California in 1968.  He left his careers as a school teacher and lifeguard after his awakening, and lived alone for a year in a rustic cabin deep in the mountains near San Luis Obispo, chopping wood and carrying water and spending four to five hours a day in meditation. In March of 1972 he met Zen Master Taizan Maezumi Roshi, and subsequently moved to Los Angeles to study closely with him. He lived there for the next twelve years. In 1980, a year after completing formal koan study, he became Maezumi Roshi’s second Dharma heir.

He founded the Kanzeon International Sangha in 1982, bringing together individuals and groups studying with him throughout Europe and America. He continued studying with Maezumi Roshi until the latter’s death in 1995, and received Inka, final seal of approval, from Zen Master Bernie Glassman in 1996, becoming Glassman’s first Inka successor. Genpo Roshi has fifteen Dharma heirs and has conferred the title of Zen Master on nine Zen teachers.

In 1999 he created what he named the Big Mind Process, also known as Big Mind/Big Heart.  Acclaimed by philosopher Ken Wilber as “arguably the most important and original discovery in the last two centuries of Buddhism,” it is revolutionizing not only the teaching of Zen but also spiritual practices within and outside both Eastern and Western traditions.  It has now spread to every continent  and has helped thousands of people from all walks of life have a genuine and sustainable awakening with little or no prior consciousness study, including persons of all faiths and religious backgrounds as well as non-believers. It is being used in the practice of psychotherapy, law, medicine, mediation, the arts, physical therapy, chaplaincy, yoga, business, athletics, social work, family therapy, education and spiritual practices with prison inmates, hospital patients and the dying. Roshi continues to train people to bring this teaching out into the world, and remains deeply committed to its ongoing evolution.

He continues to explore new insights and skillful means to transmit the essence of Zen, which is waking up to our essential nature free from all dogma, suddenly and immediately. This includes, but is not limited to such traditional forms of Zen Buddhism as chanting, devotional practices, and koan study, which he still uses as beautiful expressions of the teachings; only not as the sole means for waking up or actualizing and living with profound wisdom and compassion, the cornerstone of Buddha Dharma taught by the great Sixth Patriarch, the founder of Zen as we know it today.  Many of his successors or Dharma heirs are carrying on the more traditional Zen practices worldwide, leaving him free to continue to deepen his own practice and to awaken others to their fullest potential.

His publications include The Eye Never Sleeps, Beyond Sanity and Madness, 24/7 Dharma, and The Path of The Human Being, and many DVDs. His latest book, Big Mind/Big Heart: Finding Your Way, is also available as an e-Book and is being published in fourteen other languages: Dutch Spanish, German, Russian, Polish, French, Italian, Hungarian, Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Danish, Chinese and Korean.

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