Diahonzan Chozen-Ji International Zen Dojo

3565 Kalihi Street
Honolulu, HI 96819
Website: https://www.chozen-ji.org/


Description of Organization:

Chozen-ji was founded in 1972 by Omori Sogen and Tenshin Tanouye, both Zen masters, swordsmen, and calligraphers. Omori Sogen is a direct Dharma Successor in the Tenryu-ji Line of Rinzai Zen and a successor of Yamaoka Tesshu’s Taishi School of Calligraphy and of the Jikishinkage School of Fencing.  Tanouye Roshi developed an approach to Zen that uses the breath and physical training to cultivate Ki’ai —the intangible yet ever-present spirit/vibration of every object, person or interaction. Using the martial and fine arts, he developed a simple method that emphasized the interruption of habits and attachments. The mission of Chozen-ji is to offer deep and transformative Zen training to anyone, regardless of sex, race, religion or creed, who desires to realize their True Self. Chozen-ji students train in zazen (seated meditation) and a variety of martial and fine arts. Serious Zen students also participate in sesshin, a 1-week intensive, residential training conducted twice a year. Short term programs, such as Art of War study, a 3-month intensive in Mu-I Tai Chi are also offered, as are specialized programs such as Zen and Politics.

Grant(s) Awarded

In 2024, a Women in Buddhism grant in the amount of $10,500 was awarded for Chozen-ji’s partnership with seven-time world champion boxer and kickboxer and Women’s International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Michele Aboro to offer “Zen & Boxing” programs in 2024. Programs will be offered for students of various levels of experience in Hawaii, and possibly also in the San Francisco Bay Area. Programs will range from a half-day beginners seminar to five to seven days of intensive training with three boxing classes and film review per day, and zazen one to three times a day. The result will be a tectonic shift in self-understanding, and that causes a shift in how one perceives reality. As students progress, they learn that, by mastering the forms of boxing, moving and maneuvering in the right ways, they can transcend the movements and come to understand boxing’s essence and the essence of human being.

On a practical level, we have seen many women who have trained with us in boxing and in Zen and other martial arts experience a revolution of self that they never imagined could be possible. Part of this is simply the result of being challenged again and again in diverse and unpredictable ways, and particularly in situations where there’s no way to talk oneself out of a direct and sometimes aggressive encounter. The strength and courage that emerge from this kind of hard training leads to the best kinds of leaders: individuals who can sit atop chaos and be the master or mistress of any situation, even ones they have not specifically prepared for.

In 2022, a grant in the amount of $17,000 was awarded to support The Courage and Strategy Center, an initiative of Daihonzan Chozen-ji, a Rinzai Zen temple in Honolulu. The Courage and Strategy Center conducts workshops and trainings for community groups and organizations, utilizing basic and accessible practices in meditation and martial arts. Also offered is a framework for strategic thinking drawn from such sources as Sun Tzu’s Art of War which outlines a structure of problem-solving where the goal is true lasting harmony. Participants cultivate the ability to respond to opportunities without hesitation (courage) and the ability to see clearly and set plans accordingly (strategy) through these physical and spiritual practices. In addition to its general programming, The Courage and Strategy Center also operates working groups focused on specific sectors and communities. One of the main working groups is currently focused on Asian American Buddhist renewal.