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Biography

Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi is one of the preeminent Zen Masters in the Western world, and has developed the Big Mind method for awakening, a remarkable process of facilitated self-discovery.

The core of his Big Mind teaching is the unshakeable and contagious certainty that every one of us, regardless of our socio-economic, cultural or religious background, can instantly awaken to our true nature, like the great masters of old — like the historical Buddha himself, whose essential teaching was nothing less than this. This experience helps us shed anxiety and fear and learn to live more purposeful, compassionate and joyful lives. Roshi combines Zen tradition with the insights of such visionary western figures as Carl Jung, Fritz Perls, and Hal Stone, enabling virtually anyone to realize their true nature, a realization they can further deepen through meditation.

Ken Wilber calls it “an astonishingly original, profound and effective path for waking up, or seeing one’s True Nature.  It is such a simple and universal practice it can be used in any spiritual path you wish, or even by itself, as a practice for realizing your True Self.”

Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi comes from a long line of Rebbes. Born in Brooklyn NY, he grew up in Southern California where he was a high school champion swimmer and All-American water polo player. He earned a Masters degree in education from the University of Southern California and was a teacher and lifeguard before ordaining as a Zen monk under Zen Master Taizan Maezumi in 1973. Completing formal Koan study in 1979 he became Maezumi Roshi’s second Dharma Successor in 1980, the first being Bernie Tetsugen Glassman. He received Inka (final seal of approval as Zen Master) from Roshi Glassman in 1996, thereby becoming one of a small group of Westerners recognized as lineage holders in both the Soto and Rinzai Zen traditions.

In 1982 Genpo Sensei began teaching throughout Europe and founded the international group he named the Kanzeon (Love and Compassion) Sangha, centered in Salt Lake City, Utah, with affiliates in France, Holland, Poland, Belgium, Germany, England, and Malta.

Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi’s publications include The Eye Never Sleeps, Beyond Sanity and Madness, 24/7 Dharma, The Path of The Human Being, and several DVDs. His latest book is Big Mind/Big Heart: Finding Your Way.

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