The name of Dragon Chant Zen Center comes from a chapter of Dogen Zenji’s Shobogenzo. The practice and teaching of the center originated in 1995 with a request from the West Lafayette Zen Group in Indiana to Minnesota Zen Meditation Center and Milwaukee Zen Center for a teacher who could visit on a periodic basis. At that time Toshu John Neatrour was studying for ordination under Rev. Tozen Akiyama. An initial visit in the spring proved congenial and after ordination Toshu continued his visits to West Lafayette.
Toshu also began teaching from his home in Evanston IL. Monthly visits to West Lafayette were balanced with weekly classes in Evanston for the next few years. Toshu was active in the Chicago based Buddhist Council of the Midwest serving in various offices including the presidency. He also made a teaching visit to KaiShin Zendo in Washington DC. Teaching activities included sewing rakusu in nyoho-e style for precepts students.
After his shuso ango in Milwaukee Toshu left for a one year ango practice at Zuioji Senmon Sodo in Niihama, Japan under Rev. Tsugen Narasaki. During this period Rev. Akiyama taught in Evanston. On Toshu’s return from Japan he maintained residence assisting in Milwaukee Zen Center and resumed travelling to Evanston and West Lafayette for monthly teaching. He also traveled to Salzburg, Austria to teach Zen at the Salzburg Seminar.
In autumn of 2002 work called Toshu to Redmond WA where he established another local sitting group. He also returned periodically to teach in Evanston and West Lafayette during this period and also gave a talk at Olympia Zen Center. In fall 2005 Toshu again moved for work to the Washington DC area where he teaches small groups and visiting students. In 2008 Toshu gave a talk at Stone Creek Zendo in Sebastopol CA. Recently DCZC has shifted its focus from a travelling ministry to planning development of a residential practice.
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