Esteemed Teachers and Founder
Founder: Kobun Otogawa was a Japanese Soto Zen roshi who made great strides during his lifespan in bringing Zen Buddhism to the West. Ordained an unsui by his adoptive father Koei Chino Roshi at age twelve, Chino went on to earn an MA in Mahayana Buddhist studies from Kyoto University and then trained at the famous Eihei-ji for the next three years. In 1967 he came to the United States to assist Shunryu Suzuki in running the San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. In 1970 he went on to establish Haiku Zendo in Los Altos, California, where he taught the following eight years. He established Jikoji in 1983, and soon after began teaching in New Mexico. He also became a faculty member of Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado in 2001 and had always had good relations whith Chogyam Trungpa of Shambhala.
Esteemed Visiting Teacher: Vanja Eso Palmers is a Soto zen priest now based in Europe. He is an animal rights activist of many years and a Dharma heir of the late Kobun Chino Otogawa. During the 1970s and early 1980s, Palmers spent 10 years as a monk at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. In 1981 he and two fellow monastics at Tassajara founded Buddhists Concerned for Animals (BCA); this organization now operates out of the home of Bradley Miller and Bonnie del Raye, his co-founders. Palmers returned to Europe in 1983 and went on to found Alle Wesen, Buddhismus und Tierschutz (‘All Sentient Beings, Buddhism and Animal Protection’). In 1989 he co-founded Ökumenisches Haus der Stille (House of Silence) at Puregg in the Austrian province of Salzburg along with the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast. The House of Silence is a place of interreligious dialogue, particularly between Christians and Buddhists. In 1998 he founded Stiftung Felsentor in Switzerland, a meditation center with a special focus on animal rights that also runs a vegetarian restaurant during the summer months.
Esteemeed Teacher: Bob Bunryu Watkins was at the first year of Tassjara and practiced with Suzuki Roshi and Kobun Chino Otogawa. He co-founded Hokoji with Kobun and was the resident priest for the first fifteen years. Bunryu san is still active with Hokoji.
Esteemed Teacher: Stan Butan White a long time diciple of Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi's. He moved to Hokoji in 1988. Butan sama was head priest for many years at Hokoji.
Esteemed Visiting Teacher: Angie Enji Boissevan served as Jikoji's first director and, later, as a teacher. While raising three sons and being a wife and poet, she began her study with Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi at Haiku Zendo. Kobun called her the "transmitted housewife" and she was formally ordained as a teacher by Vanja Palmers after Kobun's untimely death. She has almost forty years of practice, is the Floating Zendo's teacher, and leads sesshins for her students in many parts of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Austria, and Switzerland.
Esteemed Visiting Teacher: Carolyn Eiko Joshin Atkinson, Carolyn Eiko Joshin Atkinson is a dharma heir of the late Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi through Vanja Palmers and has been practicing Zen Buddhist meditation since 1973. She has also studied in the Vipassana tradition, and is a trained community dharma leader. She is particularly interested in the comparison and the benefits of two practices: mindfulness meditation (vipassana) and "just sitting" (shikantaza). She currently serves as guiding teacher of Everyday Dharma Zen Center in Santa Cruz, California. She trained in traditional Chinese medicine in San Francisco and in China, and practiced acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine for twenty years. She is the mother of two grown sons.
Esteemed Visiting Teacher: Jean Kojun Leyshon began practicing in the late 1970s with Dainin Katagiri Roshi at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center. During the late 1980s she attended monastic practice periods with Katagiri Roshi at Hokyoji in Minnestota, three miles from the Mississipi River, and in 1997 with Reb Anderson at Tassajara. She moved to New Mexico in 1982, and in 1988 began practicing at Hokoji with Kobun Chino Otogawa Roshi . She was ordained by Chino Roshi in 1994 and received dharma transmission in 2003 from Vanja Palmers. She is a regular visiting teacher at Silver City Zen Center in southern New Mexico and has led practice at Jikoji Zen Center and Stone Creek Zendo in Caklifornia, as well as at Hokoji. She lives in the mountains above Taos on land that borders national forest and works as a bookkeeper.
Esteemed Visiting Teacher: Michael Shoho Newhall began practicing and studying withKobun Chino Otogawa Roshiin the early seventies. He was ordained in the mid-eighties by Chino Roshi and also in Japan by Kobun's brother Kiebun Otogawa Roshi, with whom he did ceremony and temple training. He also practiced with Dainin Katagiri Roshi and Tozen Akiyama Roshi. Monastery training was with Tenshin Reb Anderson at Tassajara, and also under Kobun Chino Roshi as shuso of angos at both Hokoji and Jikoji temples. In the early nineties he was director at Jikoji. Throughout this time he taught visual arts at various schools and universities, including Naropa University, where he also taught meditation and Buddhism. He received Dharma Transmission in 2004 from Vanja Palmers. Since that time Shoho Michael Newhall has been the Resident Teacher and chief priest at Jikoji Zen Center.
Resident Teacher: Ian Hakuryu Forsberg was fortunate to meet Kobun Chino Otogawa during his late teens. He began zazen practice and was ordained by Kobun at Haiku Zendo in 1977. Ian practiced with Kobun and the Sangha in California at Haiku Zendo, Hidden Villa Ranch and later at Jikoji. In the early eighties, after Kobun moved to Taos, New Mexico, Ian visited Taos a few times at Kobun’s request for sesshins and the formal Hokoji opening ceremony. In 1987 he went to Taos to spend three months working on Kobun’s house and never left. During the years at Hokoji, he has helped with the practice at Hokoji; was Shuso in 1990, received Dharma Transmission from Vanja Palmers in 2005 and is resident teacher at Hokoji. Along with many of Kobun’s students, he has embraced the commitment of ordinations, family, and zazen as an open and natural practice.
Head of Tenzo Ryo: Ara Kooser
Ian Forsberg joined the Hokoji Board of Directors in October of 2002. He lives in El Salto around the corner from Hokoji and is the Resident Teacher. He has been a part of the Hokoji community since 1987. He came to Hokoji from California where he started practice with Kobun in 1976. He works as a General Contractor in the Taos area.
Cara Fox has been practicing at Hokoji since 2009 and joined the Hokoji Board of Directors in August of 2011. She is President of the Board. Cara works as a freelance marketing writer and communications planner for nonprofits
Laura Younkman has been assisting small businesses in Taos with their accounting needs since 1996 and is eager to help the Hokoji community as its Treasurer. She is grateful to live in beautiful Taos with her husband and two kids.
If you are interested in learning more about governance at Hokoji, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org om.