Roko Sherry Chayat
Reverend Roko Sherry Chayat is abbot of the Zen Center of Syracuse Hoen-ji, which was founded in 1972. She began Zen practice in 1967 with Eido Shimano Roshi at New York Zendo Shobo-ji in New York City, where she also attended Dharma teachings by Hakuun Yasutani Roshi. Her training continued at Dai Bosatsu Zendo with Eido Roshi and, on his frequent visits, with Soen Nakagawa Roshi. She studied with the late Maurine Stuart at the Cambridge Buddhist Association in the 1980s. Roko Osho was ordained by Eido Roshi in 1991, and authorized by him as a Dharma Teacher the following year. He acknowledged her as his Dharma Heir in 1998. A creative writing graduate of Vassar College, she did post-graduate work in painting at the New York Studio School, and was a reviewer for ARTnews in the late 1960s. Her articles have also appeared in Sculpture magazine, American Ceramics, Tricycle, and Buddhadharma, among other journals, and she wrote a column on art for twenty years for the Syracuse Post-Standard and Sunday Stars Magazine, for which she won several awards. She has written, compiled, and edited several books, including Life Lessons: the Art of Jerome Witkin; Endless Vow: the Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa (with Eido Shimano Roshi and Kazuaki Tanahashi); and Subtle Sound: the Zen Teachings of Maurine Stuart. She travels widely to teach and lead retreats, and is a member of the American Zen Teachers Association and Interfaith Works of Central New York. Sherry Chayat was installed as the second Abbot of Dai Bosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji on New Year’s Day 2011.
Books, Courses & Podcasts
The most comprehensive collection available of Nyogen Senzaki’s brilliant teachings, Eloquent Silence brings new depth and breadth to our knowledge and appreciation of this historic figure. It makes available for the first time his complete commentaries on the Gateless Gate, one of the most important and beloved of all Zen texts, as well as on koans from the Blue Rock Annals and the Book of Equanimity. Amazingly, some of these commentaries were written while Senzaki was detained at an internment camp during WWII. Also included are rare photographs, poems reproduced in Senzaki’s beautiful calligraphy and accompanied by his own translations, and transcriptions of his talks on Zen, esoteric Buddhism, the Lotus Sutra, what it means to be a Buddhist monk, and other subjects. Roko Sherry Chayat has edited Nyogen Senzaki’s words with sensitivity and grace, retaining his wry, probing style yet bringing clarity and accessibility to these remarkably contemporary teachings.