In traditional Buddhist terms, “Sangha” is defined as the community of ordained monks and nuns. However, Zen communities in the West are largely made up of lay practitioners, necessitating an expansion of the definition of Sangha. At the Rochester Zen Center, the title “Cloud-Water Sangha” designates those centers led by students of Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede, some of whom are now independent teachers themselves. “Cloud-Water” is a literal translation of “unsui,” the name used in Japan for a novice monk; clouds and water are much admired in Zen as models of adaptability and egolessness.
Since 1998, five of Roshi Kjolhede’s disciples have been authorized and are currently functioning as independent teachers in our lineage: Pictured above from left to right are Gerardo Gally (Mexico), Ven. Sante Poromaa and Ven. Kanja Odland (Stockholm and Finland) to either side of Roshi, Ven. Amala Wrightson (New Zealand), and Robert Goldmann (Germany). Together with the Madison Zen Center, which is led by one of Roshi’s senior students, these centers comprise the Cloud-Water Sangha. (For a larger version, click on the picture.)
In addition to the Cloud-Water Sangha, the Center has sitting groups in other cities.