Moving to work in Japan in 1963, Rev. Dai-En Bennage later trained at Soto Zen monasteries from 1979 to 1990. Afterward, she returned to the U.S. in 1991 to start a Soto Zen temple near family and friends in north central Pennsylvania. She opened Mt. Equity Zendo in her mother's residence in part of a 200 year-old Quaker manor. In 1997, Aoyama Roshi, Abbess of the Women's Soto Zen Monastery in Nagoya, visited Mt. Equity on a lecture tour of U.S. Zen centers. Aoyama Roshi encouraged the Sangha to purchase Mt. Equity, and offered support. In December of 2000, thanks to many supporters both in Japan and in the U.S., Mt. Equity was purchased, and able to offer resident training for up to 20 serious lay and monastic practitioners.
With the resident priest officially installed as abbess in 2005, Chief Junior Monk ceremonies could be offered to other ordained Soto Zen priest trainees that would be recognized by the Soto Zen Order. Rev. Eric Daishin McCabe, who has trained in Soto Zen at Mt. Equity, and in France and Japan for 12 years, is assisting minister at Mt. Equity Zendo.
Click on the national flags on the map, or on those at the left, to zoom to each country and see a list of its temples.