Master of Rinzai-Zen

Sōtetsu Yūzen RōshiSōtetsu Yūzen Rōshi


Sōtetsu Yūzen. He founded the »First Zen Community of Berlin« (registered association), on July 27, 1971.

Sōtetsu Yūzen, the current Master of the Zen-Community, began his Zen-training as a student of Seki Yūhō Rōshi (whose ancient Japanese name is
Yūhō Sōshun Seki Zenji, 1900-1982), whom he later followed as one of his Dharma successors.

He was born 1940 in Silesia. During his medical studies at the university of Berlin, he discovered the teachings of Shākyamuni Buddha and he has been following these teachings ever since with deep conviction. Dr. Zernickow (Sōtetsu Yūzen) has worked as a doctor since 1976. He regards his profession as his realisation of Zen in everyday life.

  • His Zazen training began in 1964.
  • In 1969 he met Professor Nagaya (Tokyo) who taught him the formal basics of Zazen. Later, Dr. Zernickow received spiritual instructions by several other Rinzai-Zen masters.
  • In 1971 he founded the »First Zen Community of Berlin« (registered association), which was named Mumon-Kai (»Community Without Gates«) by Professor Nagaya.
  • In 1974 Dr. Zernickow met his personal master Seki Yūhō Rōshi, whom he followed as a student until the death of the master in 1982.
  • In 1980 Dr. Zernickow received Tokudo, the ordination-vow as a monk within the Rinzai-Zen tradition, by Jōshu Sasaki Rōshi. He was confirmed as Shika by the Myōshin-Ji (Japan).
  • In 1982 Sōtetsu (his Dharma name) Yūzen (his Unsui name) became one of his master’s Dharma successors.
  • In 1986 Sōtetsu Yūzen also received confirmation as a Ch’an Master of the Lin-Chi-School (the Chinese Rinzai-School) in China by
  • Master Che Huai, the abbot of the Baima-Si (Whitehorse-Monastery) in Luoyang (Henang province).
  • In 1998, after 34 years of Zen practice and after the confirmation of several Zen-Masters and the completion of his pledge of a 20-year long self-examination, Sōtetsu Yūzen became an official Zen-Master of the Rinzai-School.

At Daruma-Ki on the 5th of October 2017, Sōtetsu Yūzen Rōshi appointed a Dharma heiress during a ceremony at Kin-Mō-Zendō und gave her the responsibility for the developement and continuation of the Rinzai ZEN Community Mumon-Kai.

It is the Rinzai-ZEN nun Susanne Mori Hess, who has been practicing ZEN since 1998. As Dharma heiress she is authorized to give independent instruction in ZEN to lay people, monks and nuns, to carry out Dokusan with her own students, to give ZEN lectures on the Buddha's teachings and to guide students on the path of brush-painting (Sui-Boku-Dō).

Susanne Mori HessSusanne Mori Hess