Tamara Myoho Gabrysch, Sensei | I. Generation
Tamara (Tammy) Myoho Gabrysch was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the eldest of five siblings. She grew up in Lancashire and went on to study Fine Art in Manchester where she received a BA Hons. Degree in 1986. She worked as a freelance artist until she met Genpo Roshi in August 1988 when he came to the Gabrysch’s family home in Northern England to lead a retreat for which her mother Genshin (who would later become Genshin Roshi) had invited him. This sesshin was a turning point for her, and from then on she completely committed herself to studying with Genpo Roshi. She joined him along with other students to attend sesshins in Europe and then on to Bar Harbor, Maine, where Roshi was setting up Kanzeon Zen Center. In November 1988 Myoho received Jukai and in March 1991 she received Shukke Tokudo (ordination).
After Genpo Roshi relocated Kanzeon Zen Center to Salt Lake City, Utah in 1993, she began to cook for the residential programme and was the Tenzo (head cook) for many years. Myoho and Tenkei worked together full-time at the Center, and — among other projects — organized outdoor retreats in the mountains around Salt Lake City and the desert of Southern Utah. In 1998 they were married by Genpo Roshi during a mountain retreat, a ceremony that was repeated a half year later on Ameland in the Netherlands to accommodate family members. Earlier that year Myoho had received Hoshi (dharma holder) and Denkai (precept holder for priestly activities) from Genpo Roshi. They left Salt Lake City in 2000 after 12 years of residential training, and went on to live and practice for six month in Japan with Junyu Kuroda Roshi (Hojo-san), the younger brother of Maezumi Roshi.
Finally, in 2002, Myoho and Tenkei settled in the Netherlands and — with a dedicated goup of students — established Zen River Temple, a community of residents and members with an ongoing daily programme and monthly sesshins. Tammy serves as Tenzo, webmaster and as PR administrator. After receiving Shiho from Genpo Roshi in Salt Lake City on May 10, 2008, she made a start with formal teaching and in 2013 completed formal training in Japan at Toshoji monastery in Okayama, which gave her further certification within the Soto School as Kyoshi (priest). Myoho is currently working on compiling a book of recipes from the Zen River kitchen and is also a contributing author to The Hidden Lamp, a collection of one hundred koans and stories of Buddhist women from the time of the Buddha to the present day (Compiled and edited by Florence Caplow and Sue Moon; published by Wisdom publications).
In 2015 she published a long-awaited collection of recipes under the title Zen River Cookbook, and started a blog on vegetarian cooking on the Zen River website.
Zen River is an international Buddhist monastery that offers a year-round training programme under the guidance of abbot Tenkei Coppens Roshi and Myoho Gabrysch Sensei. As dharma heirs to Genpo Merzel Roshi they both are representatives of the White Plum Lineage that was established by the late Maezumi Roshi in the USA. They are also certified by the Japanese Soto School and maintain a close connection with Junyu Kuroda Roshi, brother of Maezumi Roshi and abbot of Kirigayaji in Tokyo. Zen River is officially registered in Japan as a Soto temple (Tokubetsu Jiin) and plays an active role in the development of the European department of the Soto School.
Zen River is located in a beautiful property on the outskirts of Uithuizen, a small village on the northern edge of Holland close to the Waddensea. It enjoys the spaciousness and tranquillity of the country-side and yet it is easily accessible by public transportation.
The programme is based on four elements of training (zazen, ritual, study and bodhisattva activity) and consists of a daily schedule as well as a calender of retreats and related events. Zen River functions as an ‘open’ monastery. This means that everybody is welcome to participate in all or parts of the programme, while the continuity of training is ensured by a team of full-time resident monastics (presently fifteen). Many members join on a regular basis as to support and deepen their practice at home. Newcomers receive special attention. The overnight accommodation has a capacity of forty two participants in total. All meals on regular training days are vegetarian. English and Dutch are the common languages spoken at Zen River Temple. Classes are held in English.
…more to come…
Calendar soon to come…