Zen Center of Georgia
Our group was started in 1995, by Ginny Whitelaw. Ginny was a student of Hosokawa Roshi for many years and saw her move to Atlanta as an opportunity to start the same type of training she'd received. Hosokawa Roshi trained under Omori Sogen who believed fine arts and martial arts were excellent adjuncts to Zen practice. As a result, our line of Zen has long encouraged training in both areas as a way of futhering one's Zen training. Hosokawa Roshi was shike (abbott) at the Daihonzon Chozen-ji, in Honolulu, Hawaii, until his retirement in 2005.
The group began as the Atlanta Center for Zen and the Arts. At first the school only offered meditation classes, then expanded to include Okyo, calligraphy, hojo, and Zazenkai (overnight zen retreat w/o a Zen master) three times a year. Ginny also started an Aikido school, the Aikido Association of Atlanta. Because of Ginny's association with both groups, the Atlanta Center for Zen and the Arts was co-located with the Aikido Association of Atlanta (AAA).
Several of the senior Zen students started attending retreats (sesshin) in Chicago with Ginny, so they could train under Hosokawa Roshi. The Chicago Zen group was a branch temple of the Daihonzon Chozen-ji, the headquarters temple in Hawaii, and under the auspices of Hosokawa Roshi, the Archbishop of Chozen-ji. The Chicago Zen group has since become Sokeizan Daiyuzen-ji, a full Zen temple complete in it's own right.
In 1996, Ginny Whitelaw was ordained at Chozen-ji, becoming a Zen priest. In 2001, Rev. Whitelaw moved to Baltimore, leaving the senior Zen student, Glenn Murray running the center. At this time, Glenn Murray and Chris Britton started working towards becoming ordained.
In 2004, due to class expansion of AAA the Zen group senior students decided to leave AAA to allow them to expand their program. It was at this time, the group formed the Zen Center of Georgia.
More Daiyuzen-ji information