The Rt. Rev. David Shen-Xi Astor, Sensei 沉 曦 (Xi-Ken 曦肯 OPB, Shi Qian-Xi 乾曦 DWZS) Prior, Senior OEB Chaplain & Spiritual Advisor. Under the dharma name of Xi-Ken, David Astor was ordained and conferred a Zen Cleric in the Order of Pragmatic Buddhists (OPB), in May 2010, at the Place of Peace Temple at Furman University, in Greenville, SC by the Ven. Dr. Eubanks Sensei (Shi Yong Xiang) his root teacher. He performed the duties of Prior for his Order, deshi, assistant otomo, and led the Center for Pragmatic Buddhism Annapolis Meditation Center. David Sensei’s root ordaining lineage is both Ch’an and Soto Zen through Ven. Ryugen Fisher Sensei who received dual Dharma Transmission from Ven. Holmes Welch and Rev. Zengaku Soyu Matsuoka Roshi, but also uniquely American through it’s pragmatic perspective. Shen-Xi took final Professed Monastic vows in OEB in March 2016.
Shen-Xi has also been received and recognized as a Zen Priest in the Dharma Winds Zen Sangha/Order of Hsu Yun-zatma by Rev. Yao Xin Shakya a transmitted Zen Priest & Master of the YunMen Lineage of Zen (Ch’an) through the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu Yun. Shen-Xi was confered with the Dharma name of Shi Qian-Xi by Rev. Yao Xin Shakya in honor of this transmition, and was also given full authorization to teach the Dharma of Shakya, Huineng, Linji, Hanshan and Hsu Yun in the YunMen Zen lineage of Shi MiaoXin Fo Yuan. He has a committed contemporary Western tokudo practice.
Prior to these affiliations and years of formal training, he also studied as a non-resident student with a Soto Zen master in New York. As a Zen priest, Dharma Holder, itinerant monk, pastoral minister and Interfaith Chaplain, Shi Shen-Xi is engaged full time in his community outside the walls of a traditional monastery residence. But like many Americans, David Sensei was raised in the Christian tradition which led him to first follow the spiritual path as a Franciscan monk in a monastery (house of formation & seminary) near Chicago. He received a BS degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Illinois Chicago, and pursued graduate studies in psychology, sociology, and law at DePaul University. He holds a Level-I Certification as a Mindfulness Meditation Therapist. In addition to his community work, his time is spent in research, international teaching and writing, as well as being engaged in a prison ministry. His inter-faith interests were pursued by performing as a Pastoral Associate at an Episcopal Church near Annapolis Maryland where meditation and inter-faith studies and dialogue were engaged weekly prior to his relocating his monastic residence and pastoral ministry to Sebring Florida. David Sensei is a member of the Inter-faith Conference of Washington D.C.
The Rt. Rev. Shi Shen-Yao (Shi Yao-Xin ZBOHY, Chang-Yao OEB Luis Lista) Sub-Prior & European Liaison Director. Shen-Yao took final Professed Monastic vows in OEB in March 2016. In July 2015, as Shi Yao-Xin he received Dharma transmission and has been elevated to the rank of Master in the lineage of Fo Yuan Shakya of the YunMen (Ummon) Ch’an House through the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu-Yun. As a master in his lineage and Zen Priest, he has also been appointed as the Associate-Abbot of the Zen Buddhist Order of Hsu-Yun, and the founder and senior teacher of Dharma Winds Zen Hermitage (ZBOHY/Zatma) in Namur, Belgium. Were he shares with humbleness and simplicity the combined practice of Pureland recitation and Ch’an meditation.
Yao-Xin has also been honored by receiving full ordination as a Zen Priest in the Order of Engaged Buddhist and authorized to teach the Dharma as represented by our Prior’s ordaining lineage which is both Ch’an, and Soto Zen by Rev. Shi Shen-Xi Astor, and was conferred with the dharma name of Chang-Yao.
Yao-Xin Shakya has studied Buddhism since he was 14 years old, when he first entered a Buddhist Temple for the eyes of a beautiful Vietnamese girl he wanted to seduce. Never got the girl but the dharma never left. Then he studied in the Burmese and Thai tradition but couldn’t find his right place. He then studied Tibetan Buddhism in the Rigpa and Drugpa Kagyu schools. Before finding his true home in Zen, ten years ago. He never was a sectarian and sees himself as an Ekayana (One Way) Buddhist.
He studies and teaches Ch’an Buddhism under the guidance of Ming Zhen Shakya.
In addition, Yao-Xin studies and practices Esoteric Buddhism in the Lineage of the Adi Buddha Mandala of the late Guru Chen Mihn Chien, under Root Guru Ewam Detong-Yutang Lin.
Shi Shen-Yao is also very happy and honored to serve as the Sub-Prior & European Liaison Director of the Order of Engaged Buddhists (OEB) founded by his dear dharma friend, the Venerable Shi Shen-Xi. His sangha and residence is the chapter house of OEB in Namur, Belgium.
The Rev. Dr. Brian Chang-Jin Kenna 长金, Director Administrative Office Of The Prior and Director of Lay Ministries. Chang-Jin was ordained a Priest in OEB by the consent of his root teacher, Shi Shen-Xi, and the Order’s Senior Council in the summer of 2017. In addition, Chang-Jin has been invested with the life-rank of a Fully Professed Priest in recognition of his dedication to the Order and his demonstrable scholastic achievements. Brian Chang-Jin is the Resident Teacher of his Meditation Center and Sangha of Long Island, New York, and maintains an OEB Chapter House there. Chang-Jin continues his training in Buddhist and clerical studies as a servant/leader under the guidance of David Astor Sensei and OEB’s senior leadership. He received a BA, Masters in Ministry and Doctorate in Theology from Crossroads Theological Seminary. He continued his post graduate education at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business in the Executive Certificate Program as well as Post Graduate studies in law receiving a Paralegal Certification from Blackstone Law. Prior to stepping on the Buddhist path, he was a Baptist and UCC minister assigned to several churches specializing in youth programs. If you would like information on how to attend his meditation classes in New York, his email is: email@example.com
The Rev. Jim Chang-Raiun Kearse 长 雷雲. Director of Education. Chang-Raiun received Cleric ordination in the Order of Engaged Buddhists and also undertook the investiture of Professed Vows. Jim has been involved with Buddhist study since the early 1990s before entering Secular Cleric vocations. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education degrees from York University in Toronto. Now retired from public education, he leads a Sangha in Ontario, Canada. In addition to his cleric and pastoral responsibilities in his community, he is a Wedding Officiant in his community.
Chiang-t’ien Ssu (Chin Shan), China
One of the two most exemplary of all Chinese Buddhist monasteries is the Chiang-t’ien Ssu, usually know as Chin Shan, at Chen-Chiang on the Yangtze between Nanking and Shanghai. Chin Shan is the word that most hear when monks from any part of China are takling about the way things ought to be done. It was the home to Ven. Holmes Welch for many years where he studied and practiced with the Ch’an Master T’ai-Ts’ang. Ven. Holmes Welch is the first American Dharma Heir of our Prior Shen-Xi’s lineage. In 1949 after the communist takeover it found a new home in Taiwan, where it remains an active monastic community. However, the original structure still remains today as a magnificent example of Ch’an Buddhist temple architecture. The story of our modern Ch’an lineage begins at this illustrious monastery located in Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China. It was one of the leading centers of Ch’an practice and training and one of the largest monasteries in China. In the words of Ven. Ryugen Fisher, “To be a full graduate of Jinshan was the Chinese Buddhist equivalent of being called to service as a clerk at law to a member of the Supreme Court.” We would like to think that this focus of training and social engagement’s causal-chain continues today in OEB’s commitment to engaging the dharma in our communities. Located on Golden Hill overlooking the Yangtze River, Chin Shan was built over 1600 years ago. The tall octagonal structure which is Jinshan’s signature building is the Tower of Benevolence and Longevity. In its heyday, Chin Shan was home to over 3,000 monks.
Sojiji Monastery, Japan
Sōji-ji Temple, the Dharma Hall where Rev. Matsuoka Roshi was trained, is one of the two main temples of the Soto Sect of Zen Buddhism. Rev. Matsuoka Roshi was the teacher to Ven. Ryugen Fisher the second American Dharma Heir in our Prior Shi Shen-Xi’s lineage. This is where the Soto Zen root to our Prior’s lineage is established, Chinese Ch’an being the primary path. The temple was originally founded in 740 CE in Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa Prefecture. During the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) through the Edo Period (1603-1868), the Shogunate gave support to the Temple and designated it as their prayer hall. At one time of its peak, the Temple had as many as 70-odd structures in its temple grounds in Noto. The Temple, and Eiheiji in Fukui Prefecture which was established in 1244 by Priest Dogen (1200-1253) – the founder of Soto Zen, have been the two leading monasteries in Japan. It was totally destroyed by fire in 1898, and rebuilt over a period of several years and reopened in its present location at Tsurumi, Yokohama in 1911.
The Place of Peace Temple located on the grounds of Furman University, in Greenville, SC. Is where our Prior, Shi Shen-Xi, received Cleric (priestly) ordination by his root teacher Ven. Dr. Shi Yong Xiang Lineage Heir of Ven. Ryugen Fisher.