Most western Buddhists know the American Zen elder Roshi Philip Kapleau through his monumental 1965 book, The Three Pillars of Zen, which still looms large in the western Buddhist canon. Three Pillars is a powerful and influential legacy, but Roshi Kapleau’s living legacy is the Rochester Zen Center in Rochester, New York.
Roshi Kapleau became the first American to found a Zen center when he began RZC in 1966. Today it is one of the largest and most firmly established Buddhist centers in the country and is led by Roshi Kapleau’s dharma heir, Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede. Roshi Kapleau was trained in the Sanbo-Kyodan or Harada-Yasutani lineage (after Harada and Yasutani Roshis,) a school that employs both Soto and Rinzai Zen teachings and practices.
RZC recently completed the third phase of building a retreat center at Chapin Mill in Batavia, New York. (The retreat center is named for Ralph Chapin, an early reader of Three Pillars of Zen and one of RZC’s founding students.) Photos of the center are below. Construction began in 2002, the zendo was built by 2007, and now the the dokusan room, teacher’s quarters and residential areas with room for 64 students is complete. So stretch those legs—July sesshin at Chapin Mill begins Juy 16th!