Tessen Stuart Ericksen started his formal Zen training in 1990 as a disciple of Rev. Kongō Langlois Rōshi, Abbot of the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago and a Dharma heir of Matsuoka Rōshi. After Kongō Rōshi’s passing in 1999, Tessen has continued to provide support and ongoing Zen instruction to the temple community in the Chicago area. Tessen is currently a disciple of Rev. Taiun Elliston Rōshi, who is also a Dharma heir to Matsuoka Roshi.
Tessen worked as an IT professional until retiring in 2018. He has an advanced degree in linguistics, and speaks several foreign languages.
Jim was born at a very early age and has accumulated and disposed of a variety of experiences since then. He has been involved at the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago for the past thirty years and has been performing in the role of a Zen Teacher for the past twenty. He regularly leads the Sunday afternoon service and offers the monthly Introduction to Zen Workshop.
Zenku currently lives in Montana and leads the Mission Mountain Zen Group in Dayton, Montana.
Zenku Jerry Smyers is a Sōtō Zen Priest in the Lineages of Soyu Matsuoka Rōshi and Shohaku Okumura Rōshi. Zenku began his training as a disciple of Kongō Langlois Rōshi, Abbot of the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago and a dharma heir of Matsuoka Rōshi, in 1976. Zenku trained at the Zen Buddhist Temple of Chicago and was ordained a Zen Priest in 1982. Zenku was a Priest in Chicago until 2005, assisting Kongō Rōshi until his passing in 1999, and then providing Temple leadership.
In 2005, Zenku moved to Montana and established the Mission Mountain Zen Center in Dayton Montana. In 2010 Zenku became a disciple of Taiun Elliston Rōshi, Abbot of the Atlanta Soto Zen Center, and a dharma heir of Matsuoka Rōshi and Okumura Rōshi from the Uchiyama Lineage. In 2012, Zenku received dharma transmission from Taiun Rōshi. Zenku is a member of the Silent Thunder Order Zen lineage founded by Matsuoka Rōshi and a member of Soto Zen Buddhist Association.