Taïkan Jyoji, the Falaise Verte Center’s founder, has been the representative of Myoshin-ji affiliated Rinzai Zen for Europe since his official recognition by Yamada Mumon Rôshi in 1976.
In 1989 Taïkan Jyoji is granted the title of Kaikyo-shi, or ‘Founding Master’, by the highest authority of Rinzai Zen establishment. He also teaches traditional Japanese archery as a further expression of his zen practice.
Taïkan Jyoji’s Blog : Au coeur du Zen
In 1964 Taïkan Jyoji went to Japan to study the traditional architecture of the country, teaching French and devoting his spare time to reading. He discovered surrealism, which called for an untrammelled use of the mind and gave him his first contact with the absolute.
In a still vague quest for inner meaning, Taïkan Jyoji asked a friend to put him in touch with Kôbe’s Shôfuku-ji monastery. Concerning his first zazen experience he wrote: ‘I remember sinking into some dense fog of ignorance (which was bound to take years to clear…) and started shaking on account of the sweltering heat of the Japanese summer: ‘I was truly frozen.’ A few months later he went over the superficial hesitation that always comes before any radical change and went to Shôfuku-ji’s gates with a suitcase, wearing a suit and tie. He would later describe the shattering experience of his first sesshin, with its daily increasing flow of suffering that came to engulf him, in his book A Zen Master’s Path from the West. It is however at the heart of this inner breakdown that his determination to further pursue the practice of zen was born: ‘And yet I stayed, presumably because I could sense that behind all that pain there was something waiting to be realised.’
His first years were mostly spent training in zen monastic practice, as he followed every single sesshin, included the dreaded Rohatsu sesshin at the heart of the Japanese winter, during which a trial of 7 days and 7 nights takes place, consisting of almost continuous zazen. After training two years as a lay person, he asked Master Mumon to become a monk, and was ordained on 9 April 1970. The next five years were a combination of dedicated practice, daily effort, falls and victories, punctuated by the never-ending trials of monastic life, dazzling face-to-face encounters with Master Mumon : ‘Sit, sit and sit’– and his emphatic, recurrent urge : ‘Be one with emptiness.’
At the end of a long and solitary journey through zen monastic practice, Mumon Rôshi told Taïkan Jyoji, in one of the very last face-to-face encounters that he granted him: ‘Now the blade is sharp, you will have to keep on sharpening it’ — directing him to return to Europe and teach Zen according to his own experience.
A flash of lightning in the morning!
The sound of dew
Dripping on the bamboo
– Buson (1716-1784)