Rinzai-Zen: active Buddhism

Zen-Master Rinzai Gigen (-866)

The spiritual content of the Rinzai-Zen school goes back to Shākyamuni Buddha (563-483) and is, therefore, the embodiment of living Buddhism.

The continuous and direct transmission from master to student (lineage) over many generations until today gives us the opportunity to realize Buddha’s experience here and now in us and our everyday lives. The Rinzai-Zen school’s spirit and way of practice were decisively influenced by the Chinese master Rinzai Gigen (866) after which it was named. His way was to bring the Buddha’s teachings alive and his Teishō (master’s lectures) have come down to us by the Rinzai Roku. In the episodes it contains about his life, he proves himself to be a strong, clear, lively master who is full of astuteness and humour– firmly rooted in everyday life rather than mysticism.

The basic elements of Rinzai teaching are, then and now: Zazen, Teishō , Dokusan.


Zazen is silent, object-less, sitting, which turns into constant everyday practice and a general attitude of mind.

A Teishō is a master’s lecture that comprises of lively, personal experiences. A Teishō aims at shaking the Sōtetsu Yūzen Rōshistudents - breaking down their fixed habits of thinking and thereby opening up the way to experiencing a dynamic reality that is not distorted by thought.

Zen-Master Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1769)Dokusan is the personal and direct encounter between master and student. It constitutes the heart of Koan training. The Koan students have to focus themselves on a vital, existential problem. This becomes possible by completely merging with the Koan. Such a way of practice requires the student to be prepared, instructed and supervised by a master.

Zen, an a-religious, a-theistic way of life, is a Buddhist way of self-liberation from suffering and a self-realisation accomplished out of our own strength. We respect and value other spiritual creeds and sincerely wish to be treated in the same way.




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