Announcements from WPA
April 10, 2017
Sensei Raul Etsubai Ensho Berge has Passed
Sensei Raul Etsubai Ensho Berge (1945-2017) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to a Jewish-Christian family that had fled Nazi Germany. As a young man, he immersed himself in politicalactivities, including union activism and state government. He fled Argentina a year after the militarycoup of 1976, eventually finding his way to Los Angeles. In 1986, Sensei Ensho underwent a profound spiritual crisis and, as a result, landed at ZCLA in ameditation class led by Ryodo Hawley. The next week, he attended a retreat at Zen Mountain Center inIdlywild, CA, led by Maezumi Roshi. During this time of crisis, Gesshin Prabhasa Dharma Roshi andGenpo Merzel Roshi were also instrumental in guiding him. In 1987, he became a resident trainee atNormandie Mountain and received Jukai from Maezumi Roshi in 1994. His spiritual journey includedbearing witness to the concentration camps in Europe, including Auschwitz-Berkinau. In 1998, Sensei Ensho ordained as a Zen priest with Roshi Egyoku Nakao and received DharmaTransmission in May 2009. He worked as a court interpreter for the family courts in Los AngelesCounty. He is survived by his wife Karen, his daughter Lilly, his sister Evi, and nieces and nephews andhis Dharma family.
November 24, 2016
Letter in Support of Standing Rock Signed by many WPA Teachers

This fall, a number of WPA teachers signed a letter supporting the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's protests against construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline through sacred grounds in North Dakota.  The letter, addressed to tribal Chairman David Archambault II, reads, in part, “We appreciate that you are acting courageously and nonviolently not only to protect your ancient tribal lands, but that your compassionate actions are on behalf of all who presently inhabit this earth . . . .  For this we owe an enormous debt.”  Dakota Access Pipeline LLC currently plans to route the pipeline under the Oahe Reservoir, the major source of drinking water for the tribe.  Please go here to see the letter. More information about WPA members’ initiatives regarding the letter may be sent to contact@greatplainszen.org.


August 23, 2016
Resources for Teachers and Practitioners to Investigate and Raise Awareness of Racism in our Lives and Community

A Circle of WPA Members have been investigating racism and have compiled a detailed list of resources for teachers and practitioners.
Please go here for the introduction and here for the resources.

August 23, 2016

We are very sad to announce that our dearest Anjo Koren Kasman Sensei departed from this world early this morning, Monday August 22. Her Dharma name Koren means ‘Shining Lotus’ and we have all seen how she manifested that quality beautifully, even when she had to face a slowly progressing but incurable form of cancer. In fact, just a few weeks ago she said that there was a certain clarity in her mind that she knew would never go. We pray that she may have a swift passage to her next destination.       

We will always remember her with tenderness and gratitude. Together with her husband Gakudo Sensei, she was a founding member of Zen River Temple. The two of them were the first ones to join in 2000, received monastic ordination in 2002 and full dharma transmission in 2013. Koren has been invaluable as a treasurer and master seamstress, and a totally engaged resident dharma sister for so many of our sangha. She started to spread her wings as a qualified Zen teacher over the last few years, and – after leaving with Gakudo for the Pyrenees in July 2015 – she was delighted to help him set up their mountain retreat temple, Keiryuji.
Our thoughts, of course, go out to Gakudo; we wish him all the love and courage he needs to continue his mission in the Spanish mountains. And we would like to express our special gratitude to Koren’s sister and her family who welcomed her so heartily in their home in Middelburg and took care of her so compassionately, up to the very end.


An intimate funeral, mostly for family members, will be held within a few days. A Buddhist ceremony at Zen River will be scheduled later; we’ll keep you informed about the dates.
Tenkei and Myoho
& all of Zen River Sangha

White Plum Asanga Code of Ethical Conduct and Grievance and Reconciliation Process
(adopted October 29th)

The White Plum Asanga announces that it has passed, with an overwhelming majority, a Code of Ethical Conduct and a Grievance and Reconciliation Procedure for its 125 members.  We who have been recognized as teachers in the White Plum lineage respect the responsibilities of leadership and of being teachers within our sanghas. We acknowledge our role necessarily gives rise to a power differential in our relationships with students and other sangha members, and for that reason alone, our words and actions can carry great weight. With awareness of this fact, we agree to strive to adhere to this Code of Ethical Conduct as teachers within the White Plum Asanga, a code based on principles of trust, integrity, justice, respect and accountability, in order to nurture an atmosphere supportive of the practice of the Dharma.
The Grievance Procedure will be available to anyone who has a problem with a White Plum Asanga teacher.

To read the document go here.

June 23, 2014

Malgosia Jiho Braunek, died June 23, 2014. She was one of the founders of Zen in Poland and a member of the White Plum Asanga. Go here for Zen Peacemaker announcement.

Also Read

Reflections on Malgosia Braunek by Catherine Pagès

Glimpses of Malgosia Braunek by Eve Marko

Reflections of Malgosia Braunek by Damian Dudkiewicz

Reflections of Malgosai Braunek by Marzena Rey

April 14, 2014



Peter Muryo Matthiessen, died April 5, 2014. Muryo Roshi was the first dharma successor of Bernie Glassman, Roshi and a long time member of the White Plum Asanga.

Go here to read Bernie's reflections on his passing.

Go here for the NPR tribute on Fresh Air.

Go here for the NY Times obituary.

June 28, 2011

Joko Beck Charlotte Joko Beck, died June 15, 2011 at 7:30 a.m., at age 94. She was not a member of the White Plum Asanga, but she did recieve transmission from Maezumi Roshi and several of her dharma successors are members of WPA.
The following is from the Prairie Zen Center website:
Charlotte Joko Beck was a renowned Zen teacher, co-founder of the Ordinary Mind Zen School and former head of the San Diego Zen Center. In the 1960s she trained under Hakuun Yasutani Roshi and Soen Nakagawa Roshi. In 1983 she became the 3rd Dharma heir of Hakuyu Maezumi Roshi of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. Joko semi-retired in 2006 and moved to Prescott, Arizona. She passed away on June 15th, 2011 at the age of 94. She was the author of two books: Everyday Zen: Love and Work. 1989. Harper Row. ISBN 0-06-060734-3. 
Nothing Special: Living Zen.
 1994. Harper Row. ISBN 0-06-251117-3.
A chapter discussing her work can be found in L. Friedman's book, Meetings with Remarkable Women: Buddhist Teachers in America. 1987. Boston & London: Shambhala.
Go here to read WPA President Shishin Wick's memorial to Joko.

June 17, 2011

WPA is happy to announce that 7 teachers in the Maezumi lineage were approved for membership in the White Plum Asanga. Membership was reinstated for Alfred Jitsudo Ancheta who received transmission from Hakuyu Maezumi and Bernie Glassman. The new members are Carl Genjo Bachman (transmission teacher Robert Kennedy), Gary Myogen Koan Janka (transmission teacher Egyoku Nakao), Al Genkai Kazniak (transmission teacher Joan Halifax), Julie Myoko Kirin Terestman (transmission teacher Enkyo O’Hara), Bonnie Myotai Treace (transmission teacher Daido Loori) and Peter Seishin Wohl (transmission teachers Stef and Margaret Barragoto).

Please click here for pictures and more information about the new Plums.

June 2, 2011
The White Plum Asanga affirms integrity, honesty, and humility as central to the practice of our Dharma teaching. We affirm non-harming in our relations with all those whom we encounter. We collectively vow to maintain our lineage as a vital branch of the Dharma tree, and to keep it as clear as possible from harmful actions.
We also recognize that, from the very root of our lineage, we have experienced misconduct in the areas of sex and alcohol. And, there have been occasions of abuse of power, sex and money in succeeding generations. We express our sincere apology to all those who have been harmed in any way by these actions. We resolve to act affirmatively to transform our collective karma by censure, healing and restitution.
In light of the above, a delegation of WPA members met with Dennis Genpo Merzel, and together discussed the current circumstances relating to his abuse of his position of teacher and Abbot. We sought to participate with him in a process of discernment to address his issues. He has indicated that he does not want to be accountable to his peers in the White Plum Asanga, and that he will follow his own path in addressing his personal issues and their impact on the Kanzeon Sangha. Since Genpo has resigned his membership in the White Plum organization, we have no authority over him. We appeal to him to address his issues and to take responsibility for healing the harmful effects they have had on his students, successors, and Sangha.
signed by the Board of The White Plum Asanga



Roshi Gerry Shishin Wick, President
Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Vice-President
Roshi Anne Seisen Saunders, Secretary-Treasurer
Sensei Joan Hogetsu Hoeberichts
Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara
Sensei Michael Mugaku Zimmerman

February 2011

The White Plum Asanga Board of Directors has accepted the resignation of Genpo Merzel from White Plum Asanga membership as well as an Elder of the White Plum. This resignation is a result of his recent disclosures regarding sexual misconduct with several of his students. On behalf of the White Plum organization, I extend our support for Genpo's efforts in recovery and treatment and to the teachers and members of the Kanzeon Sangha in their efforts in healing and realigning their communities. ---
Roshi Gerry Shishin Wick, President, WPA