Mumon Yamada (1900–1988) left, and Shodo Harada (born c. 1940) right

Shodo Harada Roshi (born c. 1940) entered the Shofukuji monastery in Kobe, Japan, at the age of 22, where he was one of the most prominent students of the abbot Mumon Yamada Roshi (1900–88).

Harada Roshi has been the abbot of Sogenji Temple in Okayama, Japan, since 1982. The temple serves as a monastery and teaching centre for Zen practitioners of the Rinzai School, one of the three major schools of Zen in Japanese Buddhism.

Back in the 1980s, Harada Roshi journeyed to the United States to teach, and led his first sesshin (period of intensive Zen meditation) there in 1989 for the group that eventually established the Tahoma Sogenji monastery on Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington.

Similarly, in the 1990s, Harada Roshi began traveling and offering sesshins in Europe. This led to the establishment of a third monastery – the Hokuozan Sogenji monastery in Asendorf, Germany – where his long-time student ShoE is abbess.

Hokuozan Sogenji

Hokuozan Sogenji Monastery in Asendorf, Germany

In recent years, a fourth monastery – the Indozan Sogenji monastery in Andhra Pradesh, India – was established by his Indian student Bodhi.

Together, the four monasteries – in Japan, the US, Germany and India – comprise the One Drop Zen community, which is dedicated to putting the teachings of the Rinzai School of Zen and the teachings of Shodo Harada Roshi into practice.

In addition to the four monasteries, many sanghas (groups of Zen practitioners) associated with the One Drop community have been established in countries such as Denmark, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and the US.

The nearest One Drop monastery to Ireland is the Hokuozan Sogenji monastery in Asendorf, Germany. Shodo Harada Roshi comes to Hokuozan Sogenji four times a year to lead sesshins which are attended by sangha members from all over Europe.

To find out more about Shodo Harada Roshi and his work, please click here.