The mere fact that someone has a piece of paper or silk which proves that he or she is a Soto-Zen lineage holder and dharma heir need not be of great importance in and of itself, but it is at least a start.
In the West, we live in a relatively free society, which means that anyone can call him- or herself a Zen teacher, Master, or simply spread their own teachings without having any lineage affiliations whatsoever.
Once people start lying about their credentials however, the sweet scent of spiritual practise soon turns into a diseased stench.
If someone claims to be a Zen teacher and to have received Shiho, just ask them who their master was.
It is as easy a question as asking someone about who their professor at university was, or which master goldsmith taught them their craft.
If the answer you get isn’t straightforward, or if it seems that nobody at all can confirm such a teacher’s claims of lineage authority, you should better be very careful.
If we are to follow the conclusions of modern academics, it is quite clear (thanks to discoveries made in places like the Dunhuang caves etc.), that the claim of an unbroken Zen lineage is resting on very shaky ground, particularly during the first 1500 years of the lineage.
However, in addition to looking at the idea of lineage in a linear fashion, one can also step away from any kind of chronology and see all the names in the lineage as if gathered around a timeless and spaceless truth in a circle.
All those names in the circle pointing with their lives and their Zen practise to the same unfettered suchness.
To me, the Moon Mountain Dharma lineage is an expression of deep intimacy and a reminder to be always grateful for the generousity of my teacher,Master Taigu Turlur Roshi.
Lex Hixon, just like Ryokan, are both not technically a part of my lineage, but live on through Moon Mountain Dharma nevertheless.
In the future I will also add one of the reconstructed lineages showing female Zen ancestors to this page.
How can we not honour women, when Mother Prajna Paramita and Kanzeon are at the center of our Zen practise, not to mention the amazing female human masters in our tradition?
The old boys‘ network has had its‘ exclusive fun for long enough.
Deep bows to all Zen ancestors, male and female, throughout time and space!
Taigu Turlur Roshi
Hans Kaishin Tenryu
INDIAN LINEAGE HOLDERS
CHINESE LINEAGE HOLDERS
JAPANESE LINEAGE HOLDERS (& WESTERN)