The first Englishman to become a Zen Master

Daizan Skinner is the first Englishman to go to Japan and become a Rōshi or Zen Master in the rigorous Rinzai tradition of Zen.

I recently met with Daizan at the Love Walk cafe in Camberwell. We talked at length about how he is teaching people to be able to clear their minds and experience focus, clarity and something approaching an awakened state using partner assisted meditation. This approach, of questioning, reflecting on what arises and active listening with another was first created by Charles Berner over fifty years ago.

Daizan has joined this with other practice from his Zen tradition and is having very positive results. After a 64 hour intensive process where the questions of who and what we are and what life is are explored, many are reporting significant increases in levels of energy and wellbeing. Daizan says “once people ‘get it’ they will always know it – it’s like once you have been to Paris you will always have been to Paris.”

It was fascinating to hear about what drew him to the Zen Buddhist path and why over nearly 30 years ago at the age of 25 he gave up his job, sold his house and joined a Buddhist monastery.

He has recently agreed to take part in a research study on the brain activity of meditators. His brain scan had revealed that there was little activity in the parts of the brain where the past or the present memory is active. It is somewhat a mystery into what exactly is occurring. Perhaps, I mused, he is simply existing in the ever present now?

You can find more about Daizian and his work on the Zenways website.

Since our meeting Daizan has agreed to speak at the Chalice Well Trust Companion’s Day, the exclusive event for our supporters which marks the beginning of this year’s festival.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *