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Kobun Chino Otogawa made great strides during his lifespan in bringing Zen Buddhism from Japan to the West. He was born in a family temple and was trained as a priest in the Soto school of Zen Buddhism. He studied at Komazawa University in Kyoto earning an MA in Buddhist studies, followed by training at Eihei-ji for three years. Suzuki Roshi saw him at Eiheiji and asked if he could help with the formation of practice at the newly formed Tassajara Monestary. In 1967, Kobun came to the United States and assisted Suzuki Roshi at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center and in 1970. Thereafter, he became the head teacher for Haiku Zendo in Los Altos, California which was a group under Suzuki Roshi. The Hakui Zendo group grew and in 1983 formed Jikoji in Saratoga, California. Shortly after the formation of Jikoji he co-founded Hokoji in Taos, New Mexico with Bob Watkins. Early on Kobun participated in the Shambala teachings, and, through this affliliation, he and Trungpa Rinpoche of Vajradhatu became very good friends. In 2001, he held the World Wisdom Seat at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Kobun Otogawa passed away in July of 2002. Kobun was soft-spoken and, while working quietly in the background, positively influenced many people in the Dharma.

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Ian Forsberg began practice with Kobun in 1976 at Haiku Zendo in Los Altos, CA. In 1987, he moved to Arroyo Seco, NM as part of the formation of Hokoji. After a one year retreat in a small cabin next door, Ian ended up living in the main house with Kobun. During the next nine years of living together, many of the traditional stepping stones of practice transpired. More importantly, given close daily contact and through the exploration of the Hokoji structure and community, there was an energetic transmission which took place.  As the resident teacher, Ian conveys his understanding of this energetic to the Hokoji sangha. Ian’s deep exploration of this way through forms, energetics, and sister information streams allows an evolution of Kobun’s perspective, particularly as it relates to our modern American context.