Genpo Merzel Roshi
Genpo Roshi is the creator of the Big Mind/Big Heart practice, as well asthe Founder and Abbot of Kanzeon Zen Center and Kanzeon SanghaInternational. He used to be a champion athlete, and is a devotedhusband and father, a successful businessperson, and the respectedauthor of five books.Zen master Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi was born in Brooklyn, New York, in1944. Soon after, his family moved to Long Beach, California, where hegrew up. He received a bachelor's degree from California State Universityat Long Beach in 1966, and a master's degree in educationaladministration from the University of Southern California in 1968. Froman early age, he was active in competitive swimming and water polo, andwas named All-American in those sports. Genpo Roshi taught school in LosAngeles and Long Beach from 1966 to 1971.In 1972, after spending a year in the mountains of California in solitaryretreat, Genpo Roshi started formal Zen training at the Zen Center of LosAngeles, under Maezumi Roshi. He was ordained a monk by Maezumi Roshiin 1973 and given the title Hoshi (Dharma-Holder) after completing Koanstudy in 1979.In 1980, Genpo Roshi received Shiho (Dharma Transmission) from MaezumiRoshi, followed by Zuisse (Empowerment Ceremony required to becomean abbot) in Japan in 1981. In the following year he began to conductretreats in England, Holland, Poland, France, and Germany. In 1984, heleft Los Angeles to devote himself completely to the internationalcommunity of students he named "Kanzeon Sangha." This Sangha nowincludes thousands of members in the United States and Europe.