Shodo Harada Roshi


  Shodo Harada Roshi was born in 1940 in Nara, Japan. He began his Zen training in 1962 when he entered Shofuku-ji monastery in Kobe, Japan, where he trained under Yamada Mumon Roshi (1900-1988) for twenty years. He was then given dharma transmission (inka) and was subsequently made abbot of Sogenji monastery in Okayama, Japan, where he has taught since 1982.

Harada Roshi (Roshi means “teacher”) is heir to the teachings of Rinzai sect Zen Buddhism as passed down in Japan from Hakuin and his successors. Harada Roshi’s teaching includes the traditional Rinzai practices of daily sutra chanting, zazen (seated meditation), sanzen (private interviews with the teacher), susokkan (breathing), koan (‘past cases’) study, samu (work), sesshin (intensive retreats), teisho (lectures by the teacher), and takuhatsu (alms receiving). While the outward appearance of this type of training may seem rigorous and spartan to some, it is important to note that Harada’s teaching is formed by deep compassion and permeated by the simple and direct Mahayana doctrine that all beings are endowed with the clear, pure Original Buddha Mind. The purpose of our training is to realize this mind in ourselves and in all other beings.

With this all-embracing view constantly in mind, Harada Roshi has been training people of various backgrounds at Sogenji since 1982 and welcomes serious students (men and women, lay and ordained) from all over the world. Over the past twenty years, he has trained men and women from Germany, Spain, France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Iran, Greece, Sweden, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Vietnam, and Japan.

In 1989, Harada Roshi made his first visit to Seattle, where he led a sesshin at the home of one of his senior students. He has returned since then to lead sesshins, at first once and then twice each year, at other locations in Washington state, including Cloud Mountain Retreat Center, Bastyr University, and the Whidbey Institute. Several years ago, as facilities were developed on site, the Roshi began to lead sesshins at Tahoma One Drop Zen Monastery on Whidbey Island, with expectations of increasing his visits to Whidbey Island–and hence the number of sesshins he will lead–to three each year.

The Roshi also visits Europe and/or Asia once each year to lead sesshins and maintain his connection with students there. In past years, he has led sesshins in Denmark, Switzerland, Hungary, Poland, and India.

When possible, the Roshi plans to take up permanent residence as the abbot of Tahoma One Drop Zen Monastery on Whidbey Island, at which time the practice and sesshin schedule will be significantly expanded and intensified.