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Soyen Shaku (shaku Sōen) (January 10, 1860 – October 29, 1919, ) is known as the first Zen Buddhist master to teach in the United States. Soyen Shaku was a roshi of the Rinzai school as well as abbot of both the Kench-Ji and Engaku-Ji temples in Kamakura, Japan. Soen was a disciple of Imakita Ksen.

Soyen Shaku

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  • Soyen Shaku was an exceptional Zen monk. He taught at Keio University for three years.
    Others, even to gurus, considered him to be naturally advantageous in his youth.
  • He became the superior supervisor of religious teaching in the Educational Bureau and the Patriarch of Engaku Temple in Kamakura after receiving a religious transmission from Ksen at the age of 25.
  • In 1887 Soyen traveled to Ceylon to study Pali and Theravada Buddhism. He lived as a monk for three years.
  • In 1892, after Ksen's death, Soen became the Zen master of Engaku-Ji.

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