Association Zen Internationale - AZI
The monastery of Ryumonji and its affiliated dojos are members of the Association Zen Internationale (AZI). The AZI brings together most of the soto zen dojos in europe and was founded by Master Deshimaru Roshi. Olivier Reigen Wang-Genh, Abbot of Ryumonji is one of the vice presidents;
1. A little history...
Several years after Master Deshimaru began his mission he created the Association Zen d'Europe (AZE) in order to propagate his teachings and link all his disciples. People came to practice zazen with him and continued to do so once they returned home. In this way dojos, places of practice, were created in many countries and it was necessary to harness this energy and gather all the disciples around the teachings of Master Deshimaru.
For this reason the Association Zen d'Europe is created in 1970, an organisation that a few years later will become the Association Zen Internationale (www.zen-azi.org) with Master Deshimaru as its first president.
From the outset several well know figures are honorary members, Maurice Béjart, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Kenneth White, André Malraux, Roger-Pol Droit and many others which greatly helped to spread the values of zen buddhism in Europe.
2. Development after the death of the founder
A The AZI, a place to meet and exchange
Despite the unexpected disappearance of Master Deshimaru in 1982 the Sangha (group of practitioners), already organised in the context of the AZI, is able to continue the practice of zazen. The association becomes a place of meeting and exchange for the majority of his disciples keen to continue and develop the practice together.
Once the shock of his disappearance passed it was necessary to continue, to create and adapt to ever changing conditions, exactly as Master Deshimaru did during his lifetime.Quite naturaly several small Sanghas are formed in the 80s and 90s around Master Deshimaru's principal disciples but, rare in the history of zen, these disciples, now teachers in their turn, continue to practice together.
Through the AZI fruitfull links are created, maintained and renewed between the different Sanghas. Major policy decisions are taken in common by the members of the Spiritual Council which includes the oldest disciples of Master Deshimaru
Immediately after the disappearance of Master Deshimaru and for ten years thereafter, the AZI decided to publish a complete edition of his teachings from notes taken by his disciples. (To order these publications called "Intégrales", please consult Daruma Shop web site. (www.boutiquezen.com) As of present 16 volumes are available.)
The AZI edits two publications for it's members :
- The "Journal Sangha" devoted to life in the sangha around the world
- The "Revue Zen" devoted specificaly to the study of the Dharma which publishes contributions from Master Deshimaru's disciples recognised as teachers by the Soto school.