The AZI today
The collegiate method of operation enables everyone to work together and in the same spirit. The AZI continues to pursue all the activities presented in the introduction. The temple "La Gendronnière" is no longer the only site that organises a summer camp. Over the last few years several former disciples have created their own summer camps or temples, a sign of the vivacity of the association. La Gendronnière nevertheless remains the head temple and retains it's own unique atmosphere as a place for all to recuperate during the summer and winter camps. Just as the humblest flower is indispensible to the beauty of spring, so the AZI is strengthened by the activities of it's members.
a. Relations with Japon
This cohesion expresses itself through the relations that the AZI maintains with the Sôtôshu Shumucho which is the administrative arm of the Soto school in Japan as well as with other zen Sôtô sanghas mainly in europe but also in the rest of the world.
Over the last few years a new impetus has been given to the links with Japan that existed in Master Deshimaru's time.
The AZI has taken it's place in the zen Sôtô school and turned a new page in it's history.
Thus, these last two years, angos have been organised at La Gendronnière under the direction of the Sôtôshu. The Ango is a traditional three month period of training for soto zen monks. This has enabled relations with other european sanghas to be developed both for the kyoshis (teachers) and for their disciples.
b. Relations with europe
The AZI is also active in the life of zen in europe. It has developed relations with other zen soto buddhist sanghas notably in Germany and Italy whose officials are also teachers recognised by the Sôtôshu Shumucho. This opening to europe was embodied by the organisation in 2007 of the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of zen soto in europe at the temple of La Gendronnière.
c. Relations with other schools of buddhism
In France the AZI is very active in the Union Bouddhiste de France (UBF) which is recognised by the french government as an iterlocutor on buddhist matters. The vocation of the UBF is to represent all buddhist currents active in France. It produces the weekly television programme « Sagesses bouddhistes » shown on France 2 on sunday morning. AZI teachers are regularly invited to participate in this program.
Olivier Reigen Wang-Genh was the president of the organisation from 2007 to 2012 and is currently president delegate.
d. The AZI around the world
The AZI federates 250 places of practice including : 8 Temples, 9 Zen Centres, 58 Dojos and 170 Zazen groups and their correspondents of whom more than half are in France.
In all these places buddhist observances follow zen Sôtô practice : Zazen, practice days, sesshin, samu (work for the community), sewing kesas, ceremonies, open days, conferences, cultural activities, meetings with other religious groups, etc..
The AZI covers various aspects of zen practice. According to circumstances and the aspirations of it's members this can vary from traditional monastic practice to a lay practice rooted in daily life.
The association has more than two thousand official members and about ten thousand people attend the various places of practice. It is present in Germany, Belgium, Canada, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland and France
It has become an expression of the energy of it's members for the benefit of the whole of society.