Biography of Master Saikawa Roshi
... presented by Maître Wang-Genh
"Master Dôshô Saikawa is the abbot of Hossen Ji temple in the Yamagata prefecture in north west Japan. For many years he was responsible for welcoming foreign visitors to Sôji Ji temple in Yokohama, one of the two major sôtô zen temples in Japan.
He spent ten years travelling in the United States, serving various temples and helping to cultivate Sôto Zen in the Americas. His understanding of occidental culture, along with his great personal attributes and teaching skills have been deeply appreciated by American and European Buddhists alike.
When I met Master Saikawa for the first time in June 1999 in Sôji Ji temple, our communication was instantaneous and I asked him if I could be his disciple. 'Why me?' he asked, 'in Japan there are much more prestigious teachers than I; they would be more interesting for you!' 'Because it's you!' I spontaneously replied while looking him straight in the eyes. At that moment the two of us burst into laughter...
Once he accepted, I travelled many times to his temple in Japan and to Sôji Ji to practice with him. He in turn has visited almost every year of the past ten to direct sesshins at Ryumon Ji. His contact with our sangha has been warm and remains strong. His intuitive intelligence and graceful spirit, his deep care for zazen, his human interaction full of humour and subtlety, his profound understanding of occidental culture, and the necessary adaptation of the japanese tradition in Europe, are the qualities that have created a veritable family relationship.
For some years, Master Saikawa was responsible for Soto Zen in South America. He is now the abbot of Kasuisai, one of the largest training monasteries (sodo) in Japan.
My successive masters, Master Deshimaru and Master Saikawa, are the founders of the Taikosan Ryumon Ji temple in Weiterswiller.
My gratitude to them is immense and my appreciation is boundless.
Olivier Reigen Wang-Genh,
Abbot of Taikosan Ryumon Ji