- Zen Master Ji HaengGuiding Teacher - Zen Center of Las Vegas
Zen Master Ji Haeng is founder (1994) and Abbot of the Zen Center of Las Vegas in Las Vegas. He is also the guiding teacher for the Isthmus Zen Community in Madison, WI.
He began formal study in the Kwan Um School of Zen in the late 1980s with Zen Master Ji Bong and subsequently received inka from Zen Master Seung Sahn on April 6, 2002. He was the last person to receive inka (certification to teach) from Zen Master Seung Sahn prior to the great master’s passing in 2004.
In addition to teaching responsibilities at Zen Center of Las Vegas, Zen Master Ji Haeng also taught an Introduction to Zen Buddhism at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He also initiated a Zen meditation program at Federal Prison Nellis which claimed one of the highest attendance rates of any volunteer program at that facility.
Currently Zen Master Ji Haeng travels extensively, leading retreats at other Zen Centers in the United States. A former professional musician and Secretary/Treasurer of the Musician’s Union of Las Vegas, he has performed with over 100 internationally known recording and show business luminaries. He is married with two children.
- Seung Sahn Soen SaFounding Teacher - Kwan Um School of Zen
From the book “Dropping Ashes On The Buddha: The Teaching of Zen Master Seung Sahn” edited by Stephen Mitchell (Grove Press, New York, NY, 1976
Seung Sahn Soen-sa was born in 1927 in Seun Choen, North Korea. His parents were Protestant Christians. Korea at this time was under severe Japanese military rule, and all political and cultural freedom was brutally suppressed.
In 1944, Soen-sa joined the underground Korean independence movement. Within a few months he was caught by the Japanese police and narrowly escaped a death sentence. After his release from prison, he and two friends stole several thousand dollars from their parents and crossed the heavily-patrolled Manchurian border in an unsuccessful attempt to join the Free Korean Army.
In the years following World War II, while he was studying Western philosophy at Dong Guk University, the political situation in South Korea grew more and more chaotic. One day Soen-sa decided that he wouldn’t be able to help people through his political activities or his academic studies.
So he shaved his head and went into the mountains, vowing never to return until he had attained the absolute truth. For three months he studied the Confucian scriptures, but he was unsatisfied by them. Then a friend of his, who was a monk in a small mountain temple, gave him the Diamond Sutra, and he first encountered Buddhism. “All things that appear in this world are transient. If you view all things that appear as never having appeared, then you will realize your true self.” When he read these words, his mind became clear.