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|Born||3 June 1944
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
|Education||University of Southern California|
|Part of a series on|
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Merzel had what he described as an "awakening experience" in 1971.[web 2][web 3] In 1972[web 2] he met the Japanese-born Zen teacher Taizan Maezumi, and started to study with him. [web 1][news 2][news 3] In 1973 Merzel was ordained as an unsui, or novice priest, in 1973. In 1980 Merzel became Maezumi's second Dharma heir.[web 2] In 1981 Merzel followed the zuise ceremony in Japan. In 1995 Merzel received the title of Dendo-kyoshi Kenshuso.[web 4] In 1996 Merzel received Inka from Bernie Glassman.[web 2]
Merzel is the founder[news 4] and former Abbot of Kanzeon Zen Center, [news 5] and developed the Big Mind Process, which combines "Eastern, Buddhist insights with Western psychoanalytical ideas." [news 6] Merzel has organized Big Mind retreats and events nationally and internationally, such as an annual event in the Netherlands that has attracted hundreds of participants.[news 6] A randomized clinical trial of Merzel's Big Mind method demonstrated positive results. [news 7]
In 1988 Merzel was installed as abbot at Hosshinji, a Zen temple in Bar Harbor, Maine.[web 4] A romantic relationship with a student led to a divorce from his wife, and the closing of Hosshinji.[web 4]
In August 1992, a group of 12 American Zen teachers sent a letter to Taizan Maezumi, expressing dismay about Merzel's sexual relationships with a number of female students, his lack of remorse, and his seeming inability to stop. They asked Maezumi to withdraw Merzel's sanction to teach; he did not do so.[web 5]
In February 2011, after admitting to three extra-marital sexual affairs, including with a senior student, Merzel said he would disrobe as a Buddhist priest, resign as an elder of the White Plum Asanga, step down as Abbot of Kanzeon, and stop teaching for an indefinite period to seek counseling.[news 8][news 9][web 6]
Forty-four American Buddhist teachers then wrote a letter suggesting a course of action for Merzel, including a minimum one-year leave of absence and therapy.[letters 1]
By April, Merzel had reversed his position, saying that too many students and his organizations depended on him financially and spiritually.[news 10]
Sixty-six American Buddhist teachers responded with a forceful public letter to Merzel requesting that he follow through with his stated intention to stop teaching for some time, considering his "habitual abuses of power".[letters 2] Merzel countered that this letter was itself worse than his behavior, and continued to lead retreats.[news 10] He and his wife are divorcing.[news 10]
Dharma successors 
- Catherine Genno Pagès (1992)
- John Shodo Flatt (1994)
- Anton Tenkei Coppens (1996), Zen River, The Netherlands
- Malgosia Jiho Braunek (2003), Kandzeon Sangha, Warsaw, Poland
- Daniel Doen Silberberg (2003)
- Nico Sojun Tydeman (2004)
- Nancy Genshin Gabrysch (2006)
- Diane Musho Hamilton (2006), Boulder Mountain Zendo
- Michael Mugaku Zimmerman (2006), Boulder Mountain Zendo
- Rich Taido Christofferson (2007)
- Michel Genko Dubois (2007), L'Association Dana, France
- Tamara Myoho Gabrysch (2008)
- Maurice Shonen Knegtel (2009)
- KC Kyozen Sato (2009)
- Judi Kanchi Warren (2010)
Inka Transmission conferring the title of Zen Master on nine Zen teachers:
- John Daido Loori
- Catherine Genno Pages
- Anton Tenkei Coppens
- Jan Chozen Bays
- Charles Tenshin Fletcher
- Nicolee Jikyo McMahon
- Susan Myoyu Anderson
- Sydney Musai Walters
- Malgosia Jiho Braunek
- The Eye Never Sleeps: Striking to the Heart of Zen (1991, Shambhala Publications)
- Beyond Sanity and Madness the Way of Zen Master Dogen (1994, Tuttle Publishing)
- 24/7 Dharma: Impermanence, No-Self, Nirvana (2001, Journey Editions)
- The Path of the Human Being: Zen Teachings on the Bodhisattva Way (2005, Shambhala Publications)
- Big Mind, Big Heart: Finding Your Way (2007, Big Mind Publishing)[news 11]
See also 
Book references 
- Ford 2006, p. 166.
Web references 
- "Faculty Profile". Omega Institute. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
- Big Mind, Genpo Roshi
- Big Mind: An Interview with Genpo Roshi
- SweepingZen, Merzel, Dennis Genpo
- SweepingZen, Open letters to Kanzeon Zen Center
- Buddhadharma, Dennis Genpo Merzel disrobes as a Zen priest (Updated)
- Sanbo Kyodan: Harada-Yasutani School of Zen Buddhism and its Teachers
Newspapers and magazines references 
- Jarvik, Elaine (26 August 2005). "The Zen of Sitting". Desert Morning News. Retrieved 3 January 2008.
- "Sitting judge: Retired Utah chief justice finds his way as a Buddhist monk". Deseret News. 24 April 2004.
- "Sensei Coppens: het grootste geschenk is de onbevreesdheid". Trouw. 11 January 1997. Retrieved 12 February 2011.[dead link]
- Bloom, Anna (1 May 2007). "How to bring Zen to the grocery store". Park Record.
- Warburton, Nicole (3 January 2009). "New year, New mind – Zen master helps others find enlightenment". Deseret News. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Limpt, Cokky van (22 January 2010). "Verlichting voor westerse geesten". Trouw. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
- Johnson, Michael (2011). "A Randomized Study of a Novel Zen Dialogue Method for Producing Spiritual and Well Being Enhancement: Implications for End-of-Life Care". Journal of Holistic Nursing 29 (3): 201–210. doi:10.1177/0898010110391265.
- Ryan, Philip (7 February 2011). "Genpo Merzel disrobes". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Limpt, Cokky van (23 March 2011). "Pleegde de zenmeester overspel of was het misbruik?". Trouw.
- The Salt Lake Tribune, Zen teachers are livid Utah colleague in sex scandal stiil teaching
- Hamill, Dennis (1 September 2008). "Peace of mind in Zen master Gerpo Merzel's 'Big Mind'". Daily News (New York). Retrieved 12 February 2011.
Letters from Zen teachers 
- Ford, James Ishmael (2006), Zen Master Who?: A Guide to the People And Stories of Zen, Wisdom Publications
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