We are an affiliate of the Diamond Sangha, a lay sangha founded in Hawaii in 1959 by Robert and Anne Aitken. Aitken Roshi received dharma transmission from Yamada Koun Roshi in 1974 at Sanun Zendo in Kamakura, Japan, the headquarter temple of the Sanbo Kyodan.
The Diamond Sangha is an independent Zen lineage in the Harada-Yasutani tradition: a blending of the Rinzai and Soto schools of Zen. We trace our lineage back to Hakuin Ekaku, the 18th century reformer of the Rinzai sect, and Dogen Kigen, the 13th century founder of the Soto sect in Japan.
Our practice combines elements of both Soto and Rinzai Zen traditions.
Our practice is there to enable us to have the eyes to see, and the ears to hear, in the new moment. Once we have had a taste of this we may also experience the necessity of doing it. It is a natural demand in the depths of our soul....Sit in the best posture you can manage. Put your attention on your breath. When your attention is captured by something else, let go. Look, listen. All is there. All is within you. All grace has been given. Have faith. What we call present is already past.
- Pat Hawk Roshi
Zazen is a matter of just doing it. However, even for the advanced student, work on the meditation cushion is always being refined. It is like learning to drive a car, you become better and better with experience....But even with just a month of practice, a few minutes each day, you will be able to focus more clearly on your work or study and to give yourself more freely to conversation and recreation....In zazen periods we devote ourselves wholly. In this place of rest, we are not caught up in the kaleidoscope of thoughts, colors, and forms as they appear; we do not react out of a self-centered position. We are free to apply our humanity appropriately in the context of the moment according to the needs of people, animals, and things about us. Thus you may see that enlightenment and love are not two things.
- Robert Aitken Roshi (from Taking the Path of Zen)
The ultimate goal of Zen is nothing more, and nothing less, than becoming truly what one is: truly human, whole, at peace, at one with everything, yet emptied of everything. Such an ultimate goal is not outside the reach of anyone; the kingdom of God is at hand, in our midst. He who hath eyes to see, let him see....But to be able to see requires that total change of heart, metanoia, that total emptying of self that makes for its true fullness. Zen Master Dogen’s famous line on the Way of the Enlightened points to this very experience: ‘To attain the Way of the Enlightened is to attain one’s True Self. To attain one’s True self is to forget oneself. To forget oneself is to realize one’s unity with the whole universe.’