California, U.S.A., is the birthplace of our organisation. In the sixties Prabhasa Dharma zenji emigrated from Germany to California. There she met Sasaki roshi and later the Vietnamese Zen master Thich Man Giac. Once she had become a Zen teacher herself, she taught all over America. She resided in Los Angeles.
One of her beloved places of retreat was the Mojave Desert in California. Every spring since 1984 she gave a sesshin in the desert, a special occasion upon which many of her students look back with warm memories. In the ever changing circumstances of the desert she taught us a very important principle of Buddhism: adaptation. The heat, the cold, the silence, the howling of the wind, the peaceful deserted desert and the throbbing sound of marine helicopters, encouraged us to simply be with what is.
After an intensive retreat in solitude we often made day trips into the nearby Joshua Tree National Park. We bathed in the hot springs near Palm Springs. Sometimes we took the tram-rail to the top of 'Mount San Jacinto', or we visited a date plantation.
The International Zen Institute of Florida plays an important role in the practical Zen training in America (see also www.izif.org). The Dharma House in Miami is the main center of IZI in the United States of America.
Currently, Jiun roshi is training a group of senior American students to become zen teachers.