Julian Daizan Skinner Roshi

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Julian Daizan Skinner Roshi
JulianDaizanSkinner portrait.jpg
Julian Skinner

Chatham, England
Religion Zen Buddhism
School Rinzai (Zendo Kyodan)
Senior posting
PredecessorShinzan Miyamae Rōshi
Website Zenways

Julian Daizan Skinner (Juran Daizan 寿鸞 大山), (born 22 November 1963) is a British Rinzai Zen Buddhist Rōshi in the Zendo Kyodan lineage. He has also received Dharma Transmission in the Sōtō tradition of Zen. Daizan Roshi is the founder of the Zenways Sangha and resident teacher at Yugagyo Dojo (Zen Yoga Camberwell) in London, United Kingdom.



Skinner was born in Chatham, UK in 1963 and grew up in Kent. After graduation, he worked as a scientist in the pharmaceuticals industry. [1] He began studying Sōtō Zen under Rev. Master Daishin Morgan at Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in Northumberland in northern England. Given permission to enter full-time monastic training as a postulant in 1989, he was ordained as an unsui or novice monk on 4 April 1991. [2] Reflecting on his time at the monastery, Daizan wrote, "For fourteen formative years I studied with him [Daishan Morgan], before continuing elsewhere with Rinzai Zen".

Sōtō Zen or the Sōtō school is the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism. It is the Japanese line of the Chinese Cáodòng school, which was founded during the Tang dynasty by Dòngshān Liánjiè. It emphasizes Shikantaza, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content. The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference.

Unsui, or kōun ryūsui (行雲流水) in full, is a term specific to Zen Buddhism which denotes a postulant awaiting acceptance into a monastery or a novice monk who has undertaken Zen training. Sometimes they will travel from monastery to monastery (angya) on a pilgrimage to find the appropriate Zen master with which to study.

Within Zen monastic society, the hierarchy is all-pervading and rigid. For the first seven years he lived in the zendo, the meditation hall, with three by six feet of space on the meditation platform and two cupboards, one for bedding and one for robes. Daizan Rōshi reflects: "As junior monks, we were almost never alone. Every action 24 hours a day was expected to be obedient to instructions, undertaken mindfully and with consideration for others. The monastery is a pressured environment. The image used to exemplify it was the rock tumbler; the months and years of living cheek by jowl gradually smooth off all the rough corners so that each monk becomes a polished jewel.” [3] He received dharma transmission on 21 December 1995. [4]

In 2003, Daizan began training with Rinzai Zen Master Shinzan Miyamae Rōshi of Gyokuryuji Temple in Gifu, central Japan. [5] The temple was the former hermitage of the outstanding Rinzai Zen reformer Bankei Yōtaku Zenji (1622–1693). Shinzan Rōshi, something of a maverick in the modern Zen world, intended the tiny temple to provide a basis of true Zen training outside the Rinzai mainstream which has become increasingly focused on providing high-price funerals. Daizan eventually became fukujushoku, vice-abbott, continued his study of zazen and zen yoga and studied the kōan curriculum of the Mino branch of the Inzan lineage of Rinzai Zen, completing it in 2007. On 8 May 2007 Daizan received inka from Shinzan Rōshi. [6] He returned to the UK to begin teaching Zen.

Shinzan Miyamae Roshi Japanese Zen teacher

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On midsummer morning (21 June) 2007 Daizan Rōshi began a walk from the south tip of the Isle of Wight to the northern tip of Scotland. [7] Wearing his monastic robes and kasa (hat) and carrying no money, Daizan Rōshi walked up the centre of the island of Britain finishing on Cape Wrath at the north of Scotland. The 777 mile walk took 64 days. [8]

<i>Kasa</i> (hat) any of several traditional Japanese hats

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On 28 May 2011, he was installed as resident teacher at Yugagyo Dojo (Zen Yoga Camberwell) in London. The event was presided over by Shinzan Rōshi. [9] He has served as a resident teacher at the Buddhist Society in London [10] and is an appointed trainer with the College of Mindful Clinicians. He has been involved in Zen teaching at Oxford University and is particularly involved in the “Managing Your Mind” programme of postdoctoral study. [11]

In March 2015 Daizan Rōshi, together with co-translator Sumiko Hayashi, published the book "In Heaven's River: Poems and Carvings of Mountain-Monk Enku", a tribute to the life and art of Enkū, the 17th century Japanese itinerant wonder-working mountain monk, sculptor, and poet. In July 2015, he published the book "The Zen Character: Life, Art and Teachings of Zen Master Shinzan Miyamae" to coincide with Shinzan Rōshi's 80th birthday and an exhibition of his calligraphy in London. In June 2017, Singing Dragon Press published Daizan's third book "Practical Zen: Meditation and Beyond", and in January 2018 "Practical Zen for Health, Wealth and Mindfulness".

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  1. http://www.zenways.org/about/about-julian-daizan-skinner/
  2. Journal of Throssel Hole Priory Vol. 18,2, summer 1991 p24
  3. The Middle Way Vol 85, No 3 November 2010 p182
  4. Journal of Throssel Hole Priory Winter 1995, vol 22, 4, p.39
  5. http://calligraphyzen.com/
  6. http://www.zenways.org/from-julian-8/
  7. Oxfordshire Courier Thursday July 5th 2007
  8. The Middle Way Vol 84 no 1 May 2009 p19
  9. http://www.zenways.org/training-hall/
  10. http://www.thebuddhistsociety.org/groups/Living%20the%20Dharma.html
  11. http://www.mpls.ox.ac.uk/skills/courses/managing-your-mind