The Empty Moon Zen Lineage
The Seven Ancient Buddhas
The Indian Transmission
The Chinese Transmission
Dajian Huineng 1
Shitou Xiqian 2
Dongshan Liangjie 3
The Japanese Transmission
Eihei Dogen 4
Keizan Jokin 5
Meiho Sotetsu 6
Gesshu Soko 7
Dharma Cloud Lineage
Manzan Dohaku 8
Keido Chisan 9
Jiyu Kennett 10
Three Treasures Lineage
Daiun Sogaku 11
Hakuun Ryoko 12
Koun Yamada 13
Robert Aitken 14
John Tarrant 15
The Reverend James Myoun Ford was ordained Osho and received Dharma transmission from Roshi Houn Jiyu Kennett on the 2nd of May, 1971 of the Common Era at Mount Shasta, California
Reverend Ford continued his training with teachers in a variety of spiritual traditions before beginning formal koan practice with Roshi John Tarrant in the early 1980’s. In 1998 James Ford was authorized by Roshi Tarrant to teach the Harada/Yasutani koan curriculum. In 2005 at a public ceremony in Needham, Massachusetts, he received Inka Shomei, full authorization as a koan teacher, and the title Roshi, or senior teacher, from John Tarrant.
1 Ta-chien Hui-neng (638 – 713) The great teacher of "sudden awakening," whose life and teachings are collected in the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Ancestor (available in several translations). While there are many legendary elements in the Platform Sutra, nonetheless, Huineng is the first unambiguously historical person in the direct Zen lineage.
2 Shih-t’ou His-ch’ien (700 – 790) A key figure in the history of Zen.
3 Tung-shan Liang-chieh (807 – 869) A contemporary of Lin-chi and the founder of the Soto school in China.
4 Eihei Dogen (1200 – 1253) Established the Japanese Soto school and founded its first major training temple, Eiheiji. His writings stand as a major achievement of the world’s religious literature, and his influence on subsequent generations of Zen practitioners is incalculable.
5 Keizan Jokin (1219 – 1325) founder of Sojiji which ranks with Eiheiji as the two principal training temples of the Soto school. Author of the Denkoroku, a "lamp anthology," a collection of the lives of Zen teachers in lineage, cast as koans.
6 Meiho Sotetsu (1277 – 1350) founder of the Meiho Line, one of the two main branches of Japanese Soto Zen.
7 Gesshu Soko (1618 – 1698) A major figure in the seventeenth century revitalization of Soto Zen. He is generally regarded as the person responsible for bringing Dogen’s teachings to public attention. Two of his Dharma heirs would form the lines leading to Jiyu Kennett & John Tarrant.
8 Manzan Dohaku (1636 – 1714) A contemporary of master Hakuin Ekaku, Manzan continued the renewing spirit of his teacher Gesshu Soko, earning him the title "Great Reformer."
9 Keido Chisan (1879 – 1967) late master of Daihonzan Sojiji, one of the two principal training temples of Soto Zen.
10 Jiyu Kennett (1924 – 1996) late master of Shasta Abbey. The first English woman to be acknowledged as a Zen master. Founder of the Zen Mission Society, and Shasta Abbey. Founder of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. Controversies followed in later life upon publication of her visionary experiences as well as the apparently theistic cast in some of her writings.
11 Harada Daiun Sogaku (1871 – 1961) professor at Daigakurin University and master of the Soto training temple Hosshinji. Also studied with the Rinzai master Unmunken Taigi Sogon, and completed koan study with Dokutan Sosan (master of Nanzenji). Modified the Takuju Kosen koan curriculum of Hakuin’s Rinzai Zen (eliminating most "capping phrases" and introducing two traditional Soto koan collections), and required completion this koan curriculum of all his students.
12 Yasutani Hakuun (1885 – 1973) A Dharma successor of Daiun Harada and founder of the Sanbo Kyodan, an independent reform of the Soto school teaching koan Zen primarily to lay people. This school through his Dharma heirs and theirs, has had a broad influence on the shape of koan Zen in the west. The lineage established through the dual work of Harada and Yasutani is variously called Three Treasures and Harada/Yasutani Zen. A brilliant teacher, Yasutani relentlessly advocated kensho as a critical experience in Zen. In recent years stories of his fierce ultra-nationalism and also some anti-Semitic writings published during the Second World War have marred his reputation.
13 Koun Yamada (1907 – 1989) master of Sanum Zendo, first lay head of the Sanbo Kyodan.
14 Robert Aitken (1917 - ) master of the Diamond Sangha network. Introduced to Zen by R.H. Blyth while an enemy civilian internee in Kobe during the Second World War. Studied with Nyogen Senzaki, Soen Nakagawa, Daiun Harada, and Hakuun Yasutani among others. Received Dharma transmission from Koun Yamada. The author of ten books, including Taking the Path of Zen.
15 John Tarrant (1949 - ) master of the Pacific Zen Institute. An iconoclastic Zen teacher, the first Dharma heir of Robert Aitken. A poet with a doctorate in Psychology. Widely known for his many teisho (Dharma talks, mostly on koans) published at many different sites on the world wide web,