Rochester Zen Center

Rochester Zen Center
Basic information
Location 7 Arnold Park
Rochester, New York 14607-2082
Affiliation Independent
Country United States
Architectural description
Founder Philip Kapleau
Completed 1966

The Rochester Zen Center (RZC) is a Sōtō and Rinzai Zen Buddhist sangha in the Kapleau lineage, located in Rochester, New York and established in 1966 by Philip Kapleau. It is one of the oldest Zen centers in the United States.


Since its founding, the Rochester Zen Center has become one of the largest Buddhist centers in North America.[1] From those first twenty-two individuals, membership has grown to more than six hundred, with sitting groups and affiliate centers in Mexico and Germany, and throughout the U.S. In 1981 Rochester Zen Center community split, when Toni Packer left the Center.

The Rochester Zen Center has also contributed to the intellectual development of American Zen, through Philip Kapleau's books, The Zen of Living and Dying, Zen Merging of East and West, To Cherish All Life, and the recent Awakening to Zen and the writings of its members and its decennial anniversary conferences. In 1986, the 20th Anniversary Conference focused on "Buddhism and Nonviolence," and the 1996 Thirtieth Anniversary explored "Buddhism in America."

Since 1986 the head abbot at Rochester Zen Center has been Bodhin Kjolhede, who was sanctioned to teach by Kapleau.[2] The community offers intensive Zen sesshin retreats, introductory workshops and training programs throughout the year and is open to guests.[3]

Chapin Mill Buddhist Retreat

The Rochester Zen Center also has a 135-acre (0.55 km2) country retreat named Chapin Mill, donated by Ralph Chapin. Each year the center has several sesshin at Chapin Mill. The retreat center held a groundbreaking in April 2000. Building began in 2003, and was completed in 2007.

See also


  1. Farrier-Halls, 150
  2. Kraft, 190
  3. Ford, 759


Media related to Rochester Zen Center at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 43°09′09.5″N 77°35′24″W / 43.152639°N 77.59000°W / 43.152639; -77.59000

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