Founded in 1966 by the late Roshi Philip Kapleau, author of The Three Pillars of Zen, the Rochester Zen Center is one of the oldest and largest organizations dedicated to the practice of Zen Buddhism in this country. In 1986 Bodhin Kjolhede was formally installed as Roshi Kapleau’s Dharma-successor and Abbot of the Center.
In 2021 Roshi Kjolhede sanctioned John Pulleyn as a Zen teacher. Donna Kowal was sanctioned by Roshi in 2022. Sensei John Pulleyn and Sensei Donna Kowal now serve as Co-Directors of the Rochester Zen Center.
The Zen Center’s activities include introductory meditation workshops, daily meditation sessions, a residential training program, and retreats at the Zen Center’s Chapin Mill Retreat Center near Batavia, New York.
Affiliate groups and sister centers are located in Madison, Chicago, Cleveland, Louisville, Mexico City, Stockholm, Berlin, Helsinki, and Auckland.